You haven't scrunched my hat up in there have you?

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Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Bansko
July 26th 2014
Published: July 26th 2014
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As Catherine un-folded it from her carry on bag! Uneventful trip to Heathrow Terminal 5 - taxi was 10 minutes early and as Mathew was still in the shower we left at 6.00 am. on the dot. Nice big van this time with space for all of us and our luggage - with the schools broken up traffic was very light until we reached the M25 - but we were still at Terminal 5 by about 6.30. We had checked in so dropped the bags and went through South security which was very straightforward. Wandered around for a bit as Terminal 5 does not have a priority pass lounge then sat at A6 while waiting for the gate to be called.

A6 was called while we were waiting and was for Leeds Bradford... I mean really? By the time you've driven to the airport, parked, checked in done security and then actually taken the flight it would probably be quicker just driving?

Our gate was called at 7.40 and we headed down to it. On the plane and away on time. A few people commented on Uncle Bulgaria sticking out of my bag... Going to be a great trip.

We await with baited breath what the "snack" on the plane will be... Let's see if we can guess... Smells like something beginning with P.

Actually was rather good - full Bulgarian - looks just like a full English. Quick game of Family Fortunes while we wait for the plane to land.

Uncle Bulgaria has returned!

Straight through the airport and picked up the car from just outside. Nice car Astra estate - looks like someone has walked all over the roof and bonnet. Very dented but works fine. Using the Garmin GPS headed towards Bansko - it took us through some really small roads - otherwise known as the Sofia ring road and then onto the E79... We cruised along this with a speed @ 70 mph - even though the Garmin told us we could do 87 - a strange number but there we go.

Stopped for a toilet stop as you do then kept on going and arrived in Bansko about 5 pm. Even though I'd put in the location of the Prespa we drove around a bit before we found it as things have changed a little in the 3 years since I was last here.

Lovely apartment Paul/Mary - Catherine was impressed. A it's just so quiet and the air so clean. Unpacked wandered around. You can smell the pine wafting down from the forest...

Gym looks good - just need to work out how to get into it as Paul's keys don't seem to work. Maybe by going in via Block A?

Nipped down to the supermarket and picked up some supplies - all the normal UK stuff. Then decided to try one of the restaurants on Tripadvisor - unfortunately it was closed so we went over the road and had a meal at a massive restaurant but we were the only ones in it! Very nice local food - seemed to be challenged by the numbers i.e 4 cokes came as 1. But 2 courses and 2 rounds of drinks for £30 isn't bad.

Catherine drove back as I'd had a beer or there and then a few games of cards before bed. Tomorrow is another day.

26th July 2014

Very nice views of the mountain on awakening. Sun was streaming into the bedroom and it was lovely and warm. The builders are working on the block across the way even if it is a Saturday

Needed some cash so drove into town - very straightforward. Then hunter/gathered at the local supermarket.. Fresh peaches, bananas and apples. Lovely fresh bread and butter with Raspberry jam.

Catherine and I sat on the balcony and nibbled, had fresh coffee and planned the day. Virhen hut is looking good a drive up into the mountains. Then perhaps a drive over to the next village to have a look at the Spa pool?

Drive up to Virhen is an experience - road starts with a 1 in 5 ish incline and is quite wide then narrows to a single track road. Picked up a geocache on the way - first in Bulgaria. There was one point to get cars past I backed up the road after getting the weight out! It's a great cycle Paul - 6.5 miles of uphill - the temperature dropped from 24 C down to 16 C. Right at the top there was nowhere to park so we turned round and came down until we could stop. Views OK but you don't really see down the valley - need to get to the top and then climb right to the top.

Went down and through Bansko to Dobrinshte where we looked for the Gondala - it's on the road to the Bezbog hut. There is a great spa pool in Dobrinshte which has hot thermal waters - cost 7 lv to get in - we will probably go on Monday. Tomorrow is the bears.

Went back to Bansko and relaxed before we walked into town and down Pirin street to the main street. On the way back we stopped for a nice meal - more lamb skewers...

Back to the apartment and using the USB stick some of us watched "Meet the Robinsons". I can hear snoring elsewhere...

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