At the end of January we were beset by yet another four days of waterless gloom, so as our skiing holiday approached we were looking forward to literally anything that involved a shower.
As it happened though, we couldn’t have asked for more: blue skies, soaring temperatures, friendly people and beautifully clean slopes. It was just the two of us, and as such we ran ourselves like a military operation. Early birds catch the worm – or the gondola lift without having to wait more than 10 minutes, at least – so after a hearty fry-up in our rented apartment, we collected our hired gear at 8.01am and were at 2600 metres a little after 9am. Us and just a few other dedicated skiers. Every day for three days.
(I am perpetually amused that we get up earlier on holiday than we do any other time of year.)
Of course with our “office legs”, we were quickly tired and couldn’t do more than a few hours a day. This was probably not a bad thing as by midday it tended to get icy, the snow had got all chopped up by the boarders and it was a heck of a lot busier. All of which add up to *dangerous* as far as I’m concerned!
So our afternoons were filled with some shut-eye, a go in the sauna and swimming pool at the apartment complex; and with any remaining leg energy, walks through the Old Town which included a visit to Velyan’s House museum and an explore of the train station.
We enjoyed a bit of friendly banter with the restaurant ‘hookers’ vying for our custom along the way. Often we’d start in Bulgarian and end up in a mash-up of Bulglish, much to their confusion.
The Bulgarian fayre was stunning – as ever. We had the chance to sample local delicacies like Banski Starets dried meat at Dedo Pene‘s restaurant and shupla bread with our kavarma at Momini Dvori (where the homemade wine is way too drinkable) and were dazzled by page after page of delicious looking photos at Penguins and Euphoria, too.
Evenings were short due to those pesky early mornings, but we still managed to discover Harry’s Bar, a totally relaxed place with chilled vibes. Much more our speed than the clubs we heard thumping into the wee hours. (Good grief I sound like Grandad.) I bet you couldn’t play backgammon and dominos at Club Oxygen though.
We’re so rock’n’roll.
Some of the service staff had time to chat too. One nearly broke down as he explained how he was working every hour he could for his daughter who he’ll only see at the end of the season in April – and even then just for a few weeks before the summer season starts and he goes to Sunny Beach to start over. Another told us he was off to Ireland in a few days, after a chat with a customer had led to a job offer. Cripes. Our hearts and best wishes go out to both of them.
So here we are back in NovoP with all limbs intact, a host of crystal clear memories, running water, electricity and internet all working at once and three purring furries to welcome us home. We should really count our blessings, right?