Bulgar via Vulgair
Sometimes I wonder why I continue with this blog, why I insist on paying the subscription fee and why bother writing at all ?
As of 4th February 2017 I now know why I created this site. I'm not claiming to be an expert on everything travel, I'm no Stephen King of writing but the journeys I take need some form of documentation and humour , sometimes some horror. Maybe I am like Stephen King?!
I'm definitely not like lonely planet reviewers, where I give you professional facts, or like trip advisor where there's a mass of confusing statements from past travels who have been burnt or cheering for glory. I like travelling, love writing and entertaining but most importantly I enjoy giving a fun and personal narrative of travel as you never know what a place is like until you go or some nut case from Reading tell you about it!! I do this for free and I do this is out of love and the need of gratification (please like and share this page hehe)
So this brings us to Bulgaria, Not only is Bulgaria my first international holiday since 2015, it's my second time skiing and my first time on a plane with the better half! (off we go Andrew….wweeeee)
With like most holidays, everything starts with the booking, otherwise you are a magician or Richard Branston. We booked our flights, accommodation and transfers with Crystal Ski (www.crystalski.co.uk) and its amazing, I really can't recommend this site anymore, easy to use and they have a nifty app, which has everything you need to answer questions after you booking. You get the weather, flight times , info on the area you are staying at. If it could send you notifications to say when to pee, when you’ll see Venus in the sky and when you’ll be hungry, it would control your holiday for you.
As it's a skiing holiday we needed equipment and you can book through Crystal Ski however it seemed a bit costly so we booked elsewhere. Hello Bulgaria hotels.com, bit cheaper than Crystal Ski and a bit more straight forward as well. Still to this day I have no frigging idea if you get the lift pass is included in the Crystal Ski price, this is why my application for lonely planet guides would be shut down. Failed before I left the UK. Please continue reading I’ll make up for it with humour.
"Marv, what about the holiday?" Yes reader I'm getting to that JEEZ!
Now before I start with the actual holiday I'm going to say this:
RED RULE - “With every action, there is a reaction and every plus needs a negative!!"
This is going to apply to everything about Pamporovo , Bulgaria. For a bit more info (www.bulgariaski.com/pamporovo)
Flight and Transfer
We have a 6am flight from Manchester and there's a reason our holiday was cheap, 6am!!! We are arrive at the airport and bizarre as this sounds , WHSmiths and Boots are closed but Claire 'accessories are open!! If I want a daily mail, a bottle of tropical juice or aspirin, it's a no go, if I require a scrunchy, gaudy toe ring or butterfly hair clip I'm ready to rock and roll. We fly with Thomsons and it's proper no thrills flying. Pretty sure I saw half the passengers had to push the plane and the rest of us were dusting and serving tea before take off !
3 hours awkward kip later we arrive in sunny Sofia, then marched through the arrival area and meet the reps from Crystal Ski and gasping for a drink… Now time for a confession, we did the ultimate school boy error, we arrived in a country and bought the wrong currency. DON’T BRING EUROS TO BULGARIA!! We unfortunately bought euros, see this is why we brexited, it’s not influx of immigrants, stupids laws or unnecessary fees and costs, it’s the currency, we don’t need all this, life is hard enough without remembering who is and who isn’t in the pissing EU, too much. ABORT!! However I’ve come on holiday with Mr perfectionist himself and him finding out we had the wrong currency was like a vegan being slapped in the face with expired honey roasted wafer thin ham. We’re going to have a rocky start
I was going to do this blog in a linear fashion but most give you advice for you guys, there’s 4 main ski resorts in Bulgaria, actually I’m going to give you my interuptation of what I’ve just read the website and remember what our rep said on the way home, here’s a brief description:
Bansko - long beautiful runs, rich cultural heritage 1.5 hours from Sofia
Borovets - Luxury resorts with entertainment and food for all, a favourite amongst europeans and celebs 45 mins from Sofia
Chepelare - smaller, cuter and cheaper than Pamporovo, yes 10 km closer than Pamorovo
Pamporovo - Well you paid cheap didn’t ya lads, this is what you get, plus it’s a 4 hour bus transfer, see you in a week……losers!!
Ok that’s not what it says on the site but it might as well do, years of travelling/holidaying and you forget, research is key but there you go! If you want cheap or luxury, there’s your choices. Why Marvin Why didn't you research?!
Sorry You may need to grab some form of alcohol, caffeine, biscuits, candles and a night light as this is going to be a long intense blog. We have some shit to go through people, I’m still feeling the pain of spending 8 hours on my ass and crocked neck, so I need to get loads off my manboobs! Btw it’s 4 hours so prepare snacks and drinks, you get a McDonalds stop but just prepare yourself.
After 4 hours, our coach graces Pamporovo the hills are singing, the sun is glistening and the roads are dangerously bumpy. We arrive at our hotel, Perelik hotel (http://www.perelikpamporovo.com) . I don’t mind telling you we paid just over £600 for 2 people, all inclusive for flights, accom and transfers, we don’t expect much but we do expect the odd out of nowhere thrill…. I’m still waiting , MEOW ( who let this whiney cat in here?)
I have a general rule about travel, I doesn’t matter where you come from or what you do but if you are the first professional face at any form of customer facing service, you need to give a good impression. Wait a min…
Dear Front Desk Idiot
If you are going to meet and greet someone new into your country and your hotel, please do your best to provide a warm reception, relevant information and have a decent tone. Also please can you give us our key as we are knackered. Oh wait which room and floor is it? Sorry I dropped my crystal ball at Claire’s accessories Manchester Airport. Oh not going to tell us. Oh well let’s sleep in the hallway Andy…
Disgruntled Black Fellow #4
Seriously we had to ask where the room was and how to get there, that’s like concierge/hotel bitch 101- FAILED!!
After getting the riddler on the desk to give us a clue, we squeeze into a mahogany / silver mirrored 70s inspired elevator, think Joan Collins had sex in this lift, we find our room and it’s 80s inspired and basic. My idea of a ski lodge resort has always been like this but my idea is based on anything Chevy Chase was in, so even my imagination is stuck in the 80s. I can’t complain, damn you national lampoon and TV!!
Since it’s the 80s here, we are given a twin room, as at no point will 2 men sleep in the same bed, this isn’t France. The view is fantastic but we can’t open the window and judging from the heating in our room, they saw me coming and assumed I need tropical heat, LORD CHEESE SAUCE, pass me a fan and an ice bucket, no I’m still not doing the challenge!
The bathroom is reasonable but you will fill like you are in Crystal Maze in the shower, your challenge is to keep the shower curtain in the basin without water over flowing and spilling over the open edges. You have 2 mins to do the challenge, bad news if you are clumsy or large bottomed. 10 seconds left grab the Crystal!!!
Later that day, we venture around the premise and the bar is adorable, the hotel is well connected to the night club, free sports centre and shopping centre (the shopping centre is not free, silly!). I don’t know what it is but I’m getting an eerie vibe, why is everyone looking at me? oh wait a minute. By the way the club is called ADDICT, please someone inform these people!
Black People Warning!!! (insert siren sounds) Yes it’s that time again, where I have to state I’m a black man in a country where blacks are restricted to city centres and the safety of MTV studios only. Normally I get over this quite quickly but this week I can sense this is going to be different and rocky, see rocky start, it’s a rocky road adventure. Here’s an example of what I had to deal with a fat lady who looks like Khloe Kadashian ate Booberella, stopped drinking her beer to stare at me. And then when we go the food hall for the buffet, she stops eating to look at me, I will repeat that. A FAT LADY STOPS EATING, PUTS HER KNIFE AND FORK DOWN, AT A BUFFET, TO STARE AT ME. Wow the power of black could help with weight loss. They’ve seen cool runnings, it’s not that odd. FUN FACT - Cool Runnings was released in 1993, I’ll leave that there to stew.
Food, Not so glorious Food!
So, segway, I mentioned Buffet, correction Free Buffet, correction Already prepaid for buffet. Normally I would go OTT at a buffet, and I did for the first 2 days, however can you class a buffet, a buffet if the same 8 options everyday.
I need to get grip now as I’m getting excited and confused like a teenager in Mcdonald getting his first boner because my rule in red applies here. At some point they decided, well the hotel restaurant manager decided to have as a staple menu:
Breakfast was 3 types of eggs, actually the fried/poached egg was cooked in cupcake trays, 3 types of frankfurter, one had cheese in it, Canadian style bacon!!! No mushrooms, no real sausages, and the cereal my lord weetabix is looking appealing now. Well I’m sorry we don’t serve that in our country, if you have breakfast you need to eat stuff that would clog up a pig not bore it.
Evening meal, Spaghetti, she made egg based tortillas, 2 types of chicken, 2 types of pork, 1 mystery meat, vegetables cooked so much they all had the same colour and potato/ rice. the chicken always looked like grade C burgers it was hand me downs from Burger King and they slapped a random “sauce” or gravy. to make it worse. Located adjacent to the cooked buffet was the salad which had monster cucumber, which resembled the size of a coaster, killer tomatoes, corn or some green veg swimming in mayo and whatever else fell off the truck that day. I know this sounds dramatic but when you pay all inclusive and by day 3 you know this is the best you’ll get you start question everything in your life, do I need to repent?
Lunch I assumed was whatever was left over from Breakfast and Dinner combined, we were never there as we were hurtling downhill. But every time we walked past it was better looking than the dinner. Nothing worse than skiing down a piste when you know the option in 5 hours time will make you cry. There was a dedicated restaurant by the ski centre you could go to but if was basically feeding time at the cheapest zoo in the country with stacks of reduced price lidl pizza.And Chips
Now after all that bitching, the other half of the rule comes in, may the diabetic gods strike me down, because I have sinned with the best, succulent, most moist cake in Bulgaria. I know the photo doesn’t look good but looks can be deceiving. and the slick chocolate mousse My lord it’s like going on one of those tough mudders races, you go through all that crap and at the ned someone hands you a medal and a pint! That’s this buffet in a nutshell. I would just get a small salad, a bag of crisps and just dive into the desserts. Damn it Bulgaria it’s 1-1 so far.
For those with a particular diet, just prepare yourself. I saw on tripadvisor that a traveller was complaining there was no gluten free option…. It's a 3 star all inclusive hotel in Bulgaria, Honey please get over yourself!
And with all inclusive you get soft drinks, I don’t know what is going on but I think I know where all the cordials for the frozen ice pops you got as a kid went, you could literally use my blood like maple syrup. and the coffee I didn’t realise you could tip all the coffee sachets from other hotels into a machine and pass t off as a drink!
Again red rule here, the very friendly, correction - the only friendly crew in hotel give you guesstimate measures, one G&T I had, I pretty sure you recalls it as a GGG&T WWEEEEEEEE!!!
Handy Help - If you do book all inclusive alwasy take some cash with you in case you need something edible and for transfer stops
Right I got that off my chest, we can move on……
*thundering footsteps and heavy panting n background*
Who are you?
I’m your other train of thought, I dashed here to remind you about the facilities!!
Why are you dressed in Neon colours and ridiculous shorts
- more heavy breathing* There’s a *gulp* gym, swimming and fitness centre here, but everyone here looks like they are from the 80s, thought this would look appropriate
Did you you see that restaurant manager’s hair?
Yes she did put me in mind of an eastern European Bonnie Langford, yeah folks, I don’t normally rad on other people….except this entry……ok most of this website but I have to mention something here.
HAIR & FASHION EXTRAVAGANZA
Considering our flight was under 3 hours, I feel like we were in the Delorean, Michael J Fox is in business class and we went back to 1985. At some point people in Bulgaria just stopped caring, I know they stare at me as they can’t stare at themselves in the mirror. Not only did we have Bonnie Langford, one of the cleaners looked like Alison Moyet and Rosanne Barr’s lovechild but we had hair. Loads of it.
One woman had her hair snapped like my fluffy fur trapper and it said in place, an irritating child looked like every boy from a Steven Speilberg movie and another lady had so much frizzy hair i’m surprised it wasn’t rented out, it’s not October, send it back!!
And the fashion, I know we’re up in the mountains where no one can see you in the mist but these gorillas all shopped at C&A and that closed 16 years ago. Before you start and get your pitchforks ready to defend Bulgarians but hear me out!! at what point in your life do you think it’s fine to wear a fanny pack?! if you answered that at all, I’m calling the fashion police, actually the fashion navy and coast guard as Pamporovo had a problem. I can see why these people come to the UK, its not for jobs or health care, it’s so they can purchase something and say words like “Style”, “Gillet” “This was not from the bargain bin”
I’m sorry we don’t dress like that in our country and if you do we just deport you or make you take up a job in Greggs.
I know you came here for the skiing and more tourist part but that will need to come in part 2, yes this holiday needs a part 2, I need a rest and gaze into a heat magazine to remind me what 2017 looks like!!
See you soon for Ski. or not to Ski!