Bulgaria Days 1 and 2: Four grumps, thunder, urban exploring and bodily functions

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June 17th 2018
Published: June 17th 2018
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Bulgaria day 1-2

Four grumps, thunder, urban exploring and bodily functions

Day one wasn’t actually spent in Bulgaria but I always like to mention the getting to the airport and then the inevitable delays getting to our destination country.

We managed the appalling roadworks on the M6 without too much trouble....THREE years and counting....but a wrong turn later on saw me having to drive over a bridge that my satnav didn’t know existed. And it cost me £2! Which I had to pay online when we got to the airport.

At John Lennon airport we parked on the Imagine car park which fills you with wonderful imagery from the song. The grotty shed on an industrial estate left all of that to the imagination.

The best and quickest security checks ever has encouraged us to fly from here again though. No queues and uneither of was stopped or had to empty our bags; we didn’t even have to take our cameras out of our bags!

We sat down to charge up our devices and grab some liquid refreshment before the inevitable first delay of the holiday. Our flight is delayed by 70 mins. To be fair that’s not too bad for us....but that’s only so far...

And bang on 70 minutes the plane arrived at the gate...so the 70 minutes turned into 90 minutes and we arrived in Sofia somewhat late and at about 1:30am.

Our luggage arrived though, yay!

After a brief mix up finding the chap with our rental car I was soon drving a Chevrolet Spark up into the mountains and to Borovets. The time meant that there weren’t many cars on the road which was good but also that it was dark, which wasn’t. The drive was okay though but it was getting quite late by the time we arrived at Persey Flora apartments.

On the way we saw something scuttle into the hedgerow. It had no bushy tail and looked cat like but was much bigger than a domestic cat so we have decided that we have seen a wildcat, which do live here. It was quick and by headlights but Claire is convinced so I am too.

We parked up and went into reception. A glum looking girl appeared and, when told our names, said the key was in an envelope ‘round there’ pointing round the corner. We eventually spotted it but it would have been easier for her to walk and get it or have it by the desk.

No more information appeared forthcoming so we looked on the enelope and it said 5th floor, apt 21. We got in the lift and the fifth floor apartments started with 5 so we presumed it meant 521. And then there was 521a and 521b....and the key fit neither.

Back down to the grumpster who then told us that this apartment was in another building.... about 40 metres up the road and on the right. So we walked up and found lots of buildings, each one named after flowers and, it said mui lily on the envelope and we eventually found our building right at the back.

We fought through some pitch black moments and eventually found apartment 21 which is indeed on the fifth floor....no thanks to Grump 1. Grump 1 I hear you cry! Well yes, Grump 2 will be along shortly but don’t worry, there’s still a return trip to Grump 1 to look forward to.

Why Glyn why I hear you cry! Wait and see.

Using torches we get into our apartment and it’s pretty good, especially for the price we paid. Lots of room, a few rooms and a fancy shower cubicle.

But no toilet paper.

Anticipating an early morning poo I go back and see Grump 1. Grump 1 doesn’t have any toilet paper but finds some tissues which she gives to me. She then tells me I can try reception in Daisy building.

Which is locked when I get there. But a TV is on so I knock. I wake someone else up, explain things and she goes and gets me some toilet paper. She then asks me my room number and starts shaking her head and waving her finger whilst muttering in Bulgarian. Grump 2. There will be more.

I’ve somehow annoyed another Bulgarian but at least I can wipe my arse.

Just after 4:30am we get to bed. Quite a while later I manage to get to sleep.

And wake up at 10. As it’s my birthday and Father’s Day I have some cards to open, some of which have money in so that’s a good start.

We decide to check out Borovets and wander into town. It’s quite a small place and seemingly built solely for tourists, mainly ones who ski. I imagine it would look quite nice in the Winter when it’s snowy but the proliferation of tacky bars and seedy clubs looked about as appealing as Teresa May in a negligee.

We wandered a bit and decided on a place to have something to eat as well as that all important cup of coffee. We were welcomed by an English woman who said she would get us free shots...at 11:30 in the morning. Thankfully I don’t drink but she brought me something non-alcoholic and Bobby (for it is called Bobby’s Bar) joined me while she and Claire downed some toffee vodka.

Claire then happened to mention that it was my birthday and eventually free cocktails arrived, no alcohol in mine. I had guacamole on toast which was divine and a Bulgarian mixed grill which was excellent too. Claire bought a beer as she felt guilty about all the free drinks (she had had a pizza which she really liked) but was then cajoled into a shot of something disgusting when she went to use the toilet.

We stayed in there a while as it rained extremely hard before moving on when it eventually stopped. Apparently Bobby used to ski jump for Bulgaria, yay, but he was dancing on the tables in nothing but a ski helmet over his nether regions last night, boo. I think if we go back we’ll go in the day....

We wandered around a bit more to get our bearings before doing a bit of shopping at an overnamed SUPERmarket. It was neither super in size or in quantity of goods but the lady was pleasant and helpful. And sold me a huge bag of the Bulgarian version of Wotsits. So she wins.

We took our food and drink back to the apartment, unpacked and then headed out to meet Grumps 3 and 4. We just wanted to see if there was wi-fi so we could upload our blogs. The Daisy receptionist said yes there is wi-fi in Daisy but she doesn’t know for our block. We could always ask at main reception.

No. Grump 4 said. Nothing to do with us. Where did you get your key from? Well here. No. Yes, we did. Was it in envelope? Yes. Nothing to do with us then , it is private apartment. Call number on envelope..

Now this may answer some questions from earlier but there’s still no reason to be rude. How could we have known it was a private apartment? I booked the holiday as a package. Whoever heard of that including someone’s private apartment!?!?

I phoned the man on the envelope later.. he wants to meet tomorrow to see the hotel voucher. I asked him for the wi-fi password, he sent me two. Neither network are available so no blogs for you lot till we find somewhere with wi-fi. I didn’t mention my potentially mucky backside so it’s lucky we bought some toilet roll from the SUPERmarket.

And so we drove out of town, or rather I did as we headed for Rila national park and the possibility of snow topped mountains. The path was stony and not good for my recently fractured toe but I soldiered on as trees blocked our view and it appeared to be a long way to get anywhere with a better view than the one we’d had before we set off. We drank water from a well and it was a pleasant park.

But the thunder....and the lightning....and then the rain....sent us scurrying back to the car.

A guy at a jam stall tried to sell us some juice made of flowers on the way up but thankfully he’d gone by the time we returned as I’d told him maybe on the way up. It was £4 and made of flowers for goodness sake, you’d just have to say no! There are a lot of jam stands around that also sell fresh raspberries and honey for about a fiver a pop. Again, something else to give a miss.

We decided to head up another dead end road-lots of them are as they get to mountains and things-but stopped en route to take photos. One stop was for some elegant looking horses of which two spoiled the mood by fighting and really kicking each other. We took photos of course.

The road was a bit crap but I decided to drive further We eventually reached a barrier and a sign saying we couldn’t go any further. We parked up to take photos of some abandoned buildings and the clouds on the mountains. The first building you could just walk into as there were no doors but strangely the windows were stood inside and intact. Those wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds back home let alone removed and surviving.

The next building was huge, white and a tad reminiscent of the building in The Shining. The front door was held open by a stone which I moved and went in. Every room was the same size and there were rows of rooms on both floors. Apart from toilets there were no other rooms. So what was it? A hotel etc would have a dining room and probably not have communal toilets, a boarding school would have a classroom, a monastery would have somewhere to pray... Claire has looked it up but we are still none the wiser.

Apparently Bulgaria is rife with abandoned buildings due to finances but the listed and most interesting ones are many miles away. Today was a good start though. The other big building had a padlock on it....boooo!

It had been a long day so we went back to the apartment to write blogs and make ourselves some sandwiches. Quite a busy birthday and thankfully I got to wipe my arse. Which is the thought I’ll kindly leave you with....

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