We were relaxing at the pool in Arbanassi when we had to make a tough decision. Go back west to Koprivshtitsa where Bulgaria’s most famous dance festival was held or continue east to the Black Sea.
Going to a two day dance festival that only takes place every five years and draws 13.000 participants from all over Bulgaria was a very tempting but also frightening option. How would we like a small village with 200.000 expected visitors milling around the various stages where dancers reeled away in heavy knitted customs at 35 degree? Accommodation in a circle of 70 km was booked, period!
On the other hand, we were skeptical of going to the Black Sea mid-August. So all it needed was a widely travelled American couple recommending the small village of Blachik on the northern coast. So the following day, we headed to Blachik, which the Lonely Planet describes as “small and pretty, so different from the neighboring resort ghettos like Albena and Varna”.
We hit disaster! The “small” village was packed with tourists from all corners of the world. Why did they come here? We don’t know! There is no beach, repeat no beach, neither sand nor pebbles anywhere. Instead, huge blocks of cement line the oceanfront. In order to provide access for swimmers, long small wooden walkways reach out in the sea. No shade at temperatures around 40 degrees.
Truly shocked, we drove south along the coast towards Varna. Every stretch of sand is lined with huge resorts, and many more are to being perched into the hilly coast line. When we set eyes on the outskirts of Varna – an endless string of decrepit dilapidating high rises, we lost heart. No, we didn’t give it a chance. No, we did not follow the sign to the center and beachfront, but drove on. At this point we did not even know where.
Days later, at a hairdresser in Veliko Tarnovo, Heidi was told, the coast south of Burgas is the place to go, no big resorts and a lot cheaper … We will never know!