In the middle of all the development we find an untouched Paradise!
Friday 25th June
Headed for a short walk around the hamlet, seemed a great place to live overlooking the hills in every direction. We then headed back to the main road and set off towards the sea, although we decided to take the smaller roads as much as we could to get there.
We again drove through miles of great-untouched countryside and woods, occasionally passing through small villages. After a few wrong turns later in the day we came out into the Industrial city of Burgas, on the coast. We continued south along the coast towards the old coastal port town of Sozopol. When we arrived though it seemed like a bad Welsh seaside town, so we continued on hoping to find an untouched beach to park on. What we instead found was mile upon mile of finished and unfinished development, it wasn’t in the slightest a pretty sight. We carried on travelling down almost to the Turkish border, again finding nothing but development and tourist resorts. Our hopes for an untouched coastline were crushed and we decided to head back up along the coast, to a spot we had seen another motorhome parked at. It was going dark when we arrived at the spot overlooking a stretch of coast between two developments. This little stretch of beach hadn’t been built on, as apart from the road it was marshland.
Saturday 26th June
We had heard and read there were still beaches untouched in Bulgaria, where people camped all summer, sometimes to stop the developers moving in. We had a couple of names of the beaches and a vague idea where they were, so the search was not as yet over. We decided though to continue north in our search rather than going back south. We headed off on the coastal road back through Burgas and up towards Varna. Passing by the horrible beach resort of Sunny beach and massive hotel complexes on the way. Bulgaria had certainly undergone big development along the coast, destroying what would have probably of been beautiful coast line. Still I suppose people need to make money, but obviously they had lacked and probably still do any regulations. Also any type of balance between becoming like south Spain and still having untouched areas of beauty.
After passing Nesebar and sunny beach the road led away from the coast up the hills into the woods. It was on a bend on this road we spotted a sign for one of the beaches we had listed called Irakli. We immediately turned off down an old pot holed road, after a while we came to an area with a few parked cars and some small beach bars. Where the beach bars were there were deckchairs on the beach, but further away down the long stretch of beach, it was untouched. By the looks of things developers were trying to get in here too, as there was the foundations for a so-called eco village just set back behind the bars. Also there were small signs for plots of land for sale, but apart from the stretch of coast and the land behind was untouched by buildings. We parked up and took a walk down the beach, when we got to the start of the deserted beach we noticed lots of tents in the woods up the small incline, so we went and had a look. Up in the tree’s lots of people had set up their tents, they had got access via their cars down a dirt track. We followed the track to see if it was possible we could get the motorhome down it, it would be a struggle and there were some big holes to try and avoid. If it rained though we would be well and truly stuck, also the track more suited 4x4’s or lighter cars than a heavy vehicle like ours. We decided to stop down where we had parked for tonight and decide tomorrow whether we would attempt the track.
Arriving back at the motorhome, we had two options for parking either in a paid car park by the bar or in a small piece of scrap land by another beach bar. A big burly Bulgarian had said it would be no problem to park in this bit of scrap land, where by the looks they were building something. As this was nearer the beach with a view to the sea we opted for it. After parking up the guy came back down and we thought to try and sort out now rather than later whether we could park here for free or whether we needed to pay a small amount. He sort of asked for some money for parking, but when I asked how much he made a telephone call and then said in very broken English (as he only knew a few words) that it was no problem to park here for the night. I double-checked that we didn’t need to pay and he repeated no problem. Something about them seemed dodgy mind and we had heard lots of places along the coast were mafia run! But he seemed fine on us parking here and it wasn’t costing anything, so we stayed put.
Sunday 27th June
Decided we didn’t want to overstay our welcome where we were parked. So we would head back up the road and park there, before investigating further along the beach for parking spots in the trees. As we were leaving though the big bloke and a mate stopped us and demanded 20 levs (about £10) for camping! He kept asking for 10 euros for the camping, we protested as he said it was no problem and Lorna called him dishonest! He didn’t budge mind and still kept demanding the money, hiding the notes we gathered the change that amounted to only 8 levs and informed him this was all we had. He still demanded 20 levs, but we kept saying all we had was 8. He didn’t look too pleased, but we didn’t want to pay a silly price for something he told us was no problem! Eventually I think too disgusted by the small amount we offered him he waved us away without us paying anything to him! We still though weren’t too happy it had all happened and as he was an ever presence around the beach bars, we decided not to stay any longer around this beach and continue on to find one of the others. We continued our journey towards the town of Byala to try and find a beach called Karadere.
In the meantime we had only one gas bottle that we were using, the one we managed to get filled in Croatia. The other Repsol bottle had a strange fitting we had been told they couldn’t refill. I had noticed though on the journey so far in Bulgaria, their gas bottle’s had the same fittings. After asking at a few places yesterday whether they could refill our bottle and being told no, as you usually are when you ask. Today we hit some luck just outside of a town called Obzor at the brilliantly entitled gas station of KGB! So we now had the spare gas bottle full again, (well about 80% full as when in the bottle the gas expands, so you wouldn’t want the bottle filled fully!) for a cost of around £8.
We arrived at Byala and knew the beach in question was around here, but the town looked pretty developed, so we carried on and turned off just after the town. We had constantly seen big areas of the coast untouched by development but there were always no roads going to them, apart from the odd tracks. To be able to investigate them we would need a 4x4 or scrambler rather than a 3.5tonne motorhome. This time though I decided on just pulling down a dirt track, with the thought that if you are going to have an untouched beach it would be down a dirt track rather than a road! We came to a fork in the track early on, but we could see in the distance the sea. The track was at the start to some vineyards and we didn’t really know if it was a private track or not.
There was a van just further down with someone checking the vines, so after a quick look in the phrasebook I went with the map to ask him where the beach was. The answer I got back of course I couldn’t actually understand! But I devised we were on the track to the beach which was in the distance, although we shouldn’t go down this track as it was too bumpy and we should take a wider circle around. Happy with the answer I jumped back in the motorhome and off we went down the other track, we of course came to various forks and other smaller tracks off, but stuck to the larger ones in the general direction of the sea. The track though was very bumpy and our large vehicle probably looked a right sight slowly making our way down it between the vineyards. We then got to another fork, but this time the main track dipped roughly and heavily down. This at a struggle we could get down, but 3.5 tonnes and no 4-wheel drive would make coming back up a steep dirt bumpy track impossible! We stopped where we were while I took a walk down the other track to see where it went. After a while I came to a clearing where a small VW camper was parked, it was overlooking a small beach with no buildings around in sight. When I got back to the motorhome we immediately headed down the smaller track and parked up overlooking the sea and this lovely oasis of unspoilt coast and beach. We found out later that this beach is actually one continued stretch of sand, we were in a small beach sort of cove and Karadere was further along. Although we couldn’t drive to it we could walk to it. There seemed to be a lot of people camped up at Karadere we could see and only a couple of people camped up here. We settled for the rest of the day happy we had found such a great spot.
Problem was as there was nothing here, we wouldn’t be able to see the all important England v Germany world cup game! I had seen on the net a few days ago the kick off was at 4pm, which meant 6pm in Bulgaria. So about 5pm we got on our bikes and headed back into Byala up the track, as we didn’t really want to drive back and forth in the motorhome. The track was pretty tough and long and all the way uphill!
Still would mean it would be better to come back down later! After a cycle round the hilly slopes of Byala we found a bar and settled down with a drink to watch the game. It was at this point we realised the kick of time we had was wrong and the second half had actually just kicked off and we were already 2-1 down! Still we ordered a pizza each and a bowl of chips and began to cheer them on, hoping we could get back and win the game. Well as you all probably know we sat watching as more German goals went in and the time went down and the realisation we had now exited the world cup! Those players have got a lot to answer for, maybe one day England will play as a team who know what to do with the ball when they attack. We paid a stupidly small price of £5 for two pizzas, a bowl of chips and 3 beers and headed demoralised back up the hill. On passing the main square of the town we found a traditional folk dance in full flow.
So we stood for a while watching them in their traditional costumes sing and dance around, all good stuff. Then headed with ease back down the track to the motorhome.
Monday 28th June – Wednesday 1st July
Spent a few days saving money by being parked for free in one spot! We relaxed, enjoyed the weather, the beach and the sea. It is a beautiful location and free from any development, for the moment at least, surrounded by vineyards and open countryside. We took a walk down the beach to the main part, where everybody camps. There are a good mix of people from young student looking types, to families and nudists. A lot of people are always coming and going as many people from all over Bulgaria come to camp here on the beach and in the woods, even the locals come at the weekend. It is wonderful to have a stunning location like this that people can camp out and enjoy their own country. The developments taking place and destroying the rest of this coastline certainly are not for the benefit of the average Bulgarian, as they couldn’t afford it. Apparently even here there is talk of a so-called eco village containing a helicopter pad! I really hope they don’t manage to develop here, as is it just perfect the way it is. The problem is most of the land, I believe including the vineyards, are owned by local people. They need the money, as the average salary here is extremely low, so normally take up offers to sell. What someone needs to do is buy up the land and protect it, I wonder how much that would cost? Saying that I would love a vineyard on the coast and maybe one small house further up the hill. I suppose though if one gets built the rest will follow and then it is beautiful no more….
Thursday 2nd July
We needed to leave our beautiful beach location, the reason bluntly was our toilet is full! Also we could do with a shopping trip for food, so we set off to Varna and then to find one of the other beach locations we have listed. We said goodbye to the beach and also Angel, he is a local who takes groups quad biking about 4 times a day, over the last few days we have been chatting every time he comes by. We don’t amazingly want to leave, but needs must, so we slowly head back down the small bumpy dirt track and back to the road.
In Varna we find that unlike all the other towns we have driven through that seem to have great clear signs to the supermarket, here they are nonexistent. So we ended up driving around the city rather lost a few times trying different directions, till we stumbled across it. We then headed back south along the coast to find the other beaches, we found another beach near the town of Shkorpiovtsi. This didn’t have any major developments but had many small beach shack type bars. There was a track going further into the woods by the stretch of coast, where a lot of people were camping but this track was very bumpy and not even worth considering taking the motorhome down, so we turned back away. Also the coast just wasn’t as beautiful as Karadere and we didn’t really want to stay there. Driving along the coast there is a lot of the coast that you can see at a distance from the road is all countryside, these areas may hold more lovely unspoilt areas. The only way to see though would be down the many small tracks that you see. We would need a quad bike or scrambler to really have a good investigation, something I would love to come back and do. We tried another road towards the coast to try and find Kamchia sands, all we found though was a collection of holiday bungalows and restaurants. We decided right then that we would head back to Karadere beach, tonight though we would find a campsite to empty the tanks and fill up with water etc.
We headed back towards Byala, as according to our Bulgarian tourist map there were a couple of campsites on the road heading south towards Obzor. What we found though were big hotels where the campsites should have been! Even though at one point there was a brand new sign on the road saying “Campsite”, but we just reached a hotel with the security officer telling us there was no campsite! We carried on further south and passed a campsite/bar sign, so headed down a small road into the woods. We reached a barrier that was held open and drove through, we then got to some old abandoned buildings that looked like they were once a holiday complex of some sorts. We thought then that we would probably never find a campsite! We decided though to continue a bit more down the small road and came to another new barrier by a small holiday bungalow. This was indeed a campsite and it was only £6, which was a bonus, so we headed off and found a spot in the wooded area for the night. It was very basic and mostly for tents or as they seem to love in Bulgaria small holiday chalet things, but suited us just fine.
Friday 3rd July – Monday 6th
Headed back to Byala and back down the dirt track to our lovely beach location, to set back up camp. We again took time to enjoy the sun, beach and sea with the locals. We even saw a couple of Dolphins, well Lorna spotted them and we just saw them arch up in the distance, still it was our first dolphin sighting!