Monday, 23 January 2012

So, onto my arrival into Bulgaria for the very first time...

Hello again everyone :)
Well it's been a week since i last wrote about the lead up to my arrival at Varna airport and this post continues from that point, through to me meeting my agent, solicitor, viewing and buying 'more' properties, signing the notary deeds and having my first little taste of Bulgarian life....
From the very first views of the airport's arrivals hall i knew this country was going to be completely alien to anything i'd encountered before. I'm fairly familiar with the German/French/Spanish and Portuguese languages for example, but nothing here made any sense whatsoever!
How, for example, could 'Varna airport' be spelt 'летище Варна'?!
Ok, so i had already learnt beforehand that the Cyrillic alphabet is used and that only the letters 'm/o/t/k and 'e' sound the same as ours, which was a start, but who on earth decided that their 'B' would be our 'V', their 'P', our 'R', their 'H', our 'N', their 'X' our 'H' etc etc, and as for the shape and look of the other letters of their alphabet, well that was anyone's guess, although i'd learned how to at least say, if not read quite yet, the basic 'hello/thank you/breakfast/coffee/food/beer/hotel/please/goodbye etc basics from 'Youtube' and my little phrase book that had arrived in the week prior to my arrival.
The only thing that mattered at this moment was finding out how to get to Dobrich, some 50kms away, and i'd memorized the word 'Добрич', so i happily jumped into my little Chevrolet Aveo hire car, leaving behind the last English words i would see for a while, 'Arrivals and Departures' fading out of sight in my rear view mirror, and set off on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road (which at least i was used to), in search of this magic place which housed my bed for the next few nights. My heart was jumping but in a very good way...
The journey to Dobrich took roughly three times it should have, as every few hundred metres i would have to pull over in the darkness on the deserted roads to take pictures of churches, cafe's, signs with a donkey and cart on them, old 'Wartburgs' and madly spelt street signs etc.

One thing of interest (and useful), is that the Bulgarians sound out words phonetically, and so this sign reads 'Snack Bar', the 'c' being our 's', 'h' being our 'n', 'e' being our 'e', followed by 'b','a','r' etc etc
And so i eventually came sailing into the outskirts of Dobrich, which beckoned me towards its heart, enticing me with it's Christmas lights and warm outer-city glow. 
Now i had to navigate my way to Hotel Dobruja, spelt 'хотел Добруджа'!! 
After half an hour i admitted defeat and took the plunge and pulled over to a waiting taxi man to whom i was about to speak my first words in Bulgarian to, and i did it, explaining best i could that i was searching for (by arm movements and pointing in my little book), 'Hotel Dobrudja'. 
He seemed to gesture 'follow me', so i did, and about 5kms and 10 minutes later he led me straight to the hotel's carpark in the middle of the city.
He asked for 2 Lev (£1). I gladly handed over three and said 'благодаря'....

 I'd arrived! The reception night staff were soooo friendly, spoke good English, and were more than pleased that i was coming out with all my new found Bulgarian words, and so i handed over my passport, took my room key, and headed off in search of my room on the second floor. Now it would have taken a few seconds to walk the stairs but i'd snatched a glimpse of the decor in the hotel's lift and just had to have a closer look, and was in stitches by the time i arrived at my stop. The next picture may explain my good hearted laughter and almost disbelief at seeing the wall to wall, floor to ceiling carpeted lift with its big ornate mirrors adorned with Christmas decorations and postcards from various places. This remember, is about the biggest and poshest hotel in Dobrich city, excellent!

...and on into my room, which really was huge, homely, had a first class view over the city's main square, and most of all, a fridge that contained beer, namely 'Zagorka', which for those of you that already live in Bulgaria, have to admit ain't a bad bottle of beer, and boy was i ready for it, so i drank one and then another, stared out into the array of different sights from my window, phoned friends back home, having brought a temporary 'Asda' sim card for my phone (this is a must...don't use your usual number as the charges even for someone calling or texting you could be huge), and eventually slept, happily, at peace with all around me, and like a log :)
I'll continue with the story of my first full day in Bulgaria and beyond in the next few days, goodnight all :)


  1. I can't wait for next instalment !.I like the Hotel Dobrudja its something like 55lv a night with fantastic rooms.Finding the car park is a bit difficult I must admit.I think your photo's are wonderful.Keep up the good work.

  2. Hiya UB in BG! Yes, the car park's in the back streets isn't it but it was a cool introduction to my first few words in Bulgarian lol! Had a look at your blog earlier, wow you get some visitors! All good stuff and thank you too :) Catch ya laters and will add to it in the next few days....

  3. Thanks for the compliment.I do get a lot of visitors but I have been blogging for a long time.I am now probably the top independent blogger in english about Bulgaria..not that there is vast competition !.
    Try to blog every other day at minimum, so that people come back for more as it were.It is also good that you have Bulgaria in the blog title as it helps on the search.I will give you a plug on my next post or so.