Bulgaria – Spacesuits & Samokov

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We don’t rush today.

Yesterday was a pretty full day of exploring and experiencing a city, and being that we are headed to the mountain today, we thought that we would just take it slow.

We pack our stuff and make our way to the bus terminal.

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As we are on our way, we pass this op shop, and Bec suggests that we drop in to see if we can pick up some snowboarding clothes. Being that we don’t want to be freezing or soaking wet by the end of the day, I reckon that is a brilliant idea.

We try on a few things, and then like a beacon of light when all hope is lost, Bec finds these hideously ratchet one-piece snowsuits. I am already sold. That’s me right there.

It’s gold.

Literally.

How can you not want to carving slopes in a gold snow one piece?

Naturally, I buy it. Bec is a little apprehensive about buying hers, but she comes around and joins the cool kid club.

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With our snow clothes in tow, we continue on our journey to get to the bus.

This is where the day starts to get interesting.

The only thing I could find on the internet about getting to Samokov (the town closest to Borovets) by the bus was saying to leave from the Airport. Yeah, its a little odd, but whatever. That’s another country and culture for you right?

We get our gear and make our way on the train to the airport.

We get there, and I ask the information chick where we can catch the bus to Samokov. She just gives me a funny look and says that the bus to Samakov doesn’t leave from the airport at all. A little confused, we try to connect to the internet.

We can connect to the wifi. The only issue is that the wifi cant connect to the internet.

So, we ask around until someone tells us that you want to go to Central station.

Right.

So, we decide to jump back on the train and head to central station. I just go straight to the information and ask the chick there. “Hey, where can I find the bus to take us to Samokov?”. This chick is the epitome of useless disdain. She just looks at me and with a blank expression just shrugs her shoulders and then looks away. I don’t even bother to hang around. I just grab my stuff and find it for myself.

I as this chick at another counter, which tells us that we have to go across the street to the other bus depot. So, we head over that way, and decide to fill our bellies with cheap Bulgarian burger-things. 5 lev for 2 burgers.

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God…

You can’t beat that.

We talk to a lady who we can hardly talk to, and she writes down a heap of directions in Bulgarian for us to follow. It kinda helps. The biggest issue is that I can barely read english sometimes, let alone writing in another language.

I head outside and ask this bloke to decipher what the lady in the door just behind be wrote, cos I couldn’t understand a single instruction she game me.

He tells us that we have to go back two stops on the blue line, and then head ⅔ of the way back to the airport. So that is what we do. We get to that station, and the counter is all closed up for the day. So, I literally just end up showing these two guys the piece of paper, and ask them to help. They end up jumping on the train with us, and take us back two stops from the direction we just came.

We get off at that station, and head to the booth to ask the chick where to go.

But! As fate would have it, she couldn’t even say “Hi” in english, so I just look at this guy passing us, and ask him to help. He is my connection to the Bulgarian world right now. The chick knows where to go, but can’t speak english, and this guy doesn’t know where to go, but can speak english. With their powers combined, we found that we just had to walk for about 3-5 minutes along the road at the end of the train station.

No other instructions.

No landmarks.

Nothing.

There will just be a bus stop.

That is all we know.

So that is what we do. We walk outside, but would you be surprised if I told you that the road that we were meant to walk down instantly split into two? Well you shouldn’t cos that is exactly what happened.

We literally just chose a 50/50 and walked. Worst case scenario, we walk back 5 mins, to walk the other road for 5 mins. By this point neither Bec or I care. We have been trying to find this bloody bus for hours. We are walking along this main road, and there is something that kind of looks like a bus sign, but it’s on what looks like a highway, so I really don’t know.

I there is this guy standing there who looks like he is fresh out of jail or something. Or kinda looks like the Bulgarian version of “Prison Bae” for those who are familiar with the infamous mugshot. I show him the piece of paper and tell him that we are trying to get to Samokov. He just points down the set of stairs and pronounces a conglomerate of words that mean nothing to me, and then points right.

I have no idea, but for fear of my butt hole, I just do what he says. We walk down the steps, and there are a few busses. It is literally a brick shack with banged up doors, and a few busses under an overpass.

This cant be it.

I ask this bloke, “Mate. Is this the bus to Samokov?”
“Yes”
I cannot believe my ears.

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My greatest question was who was the bastard who thought that it was a good idea to put a friggin bus stop under an overpass, beneath another bus stop, along a highway-like road, which splits from a random station on the line ⅔ of the way to the airport.

If he is a civil engineer or town planner, he really shouldn’t be.

He should be using his crayons at home, not at work.

We pay our tickets and get on the bus, and the relief is perfect. We are finally on the way, and it is about 4:30 in the afternoon.

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Like, bloody hell.

We arrive in Samokov, and for the sake of sanity, just ask a taxi to give us a lift. He only wants 5 lev for the ride, so we take him up on the offer. Its $2.50. You cant lose. We show him the address, but he can’t even recognise english letters.

Not kidding.

He takes about 2 minutes to pronounce “21 Tsar Boris St”, but we have no idea what he is trying to do, until he actually says the address. I mean, we could have just told him, but I thought he was having some sort of epiphany or moment of enlightenment while looking at the words on Bec’s phone screen.

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After going back and forth on the street for a few minutes, we find our accommodation, which is down the end of this alley in a retrofitted house/bed and breakfast. This old bloke comes out, “Australia?”, he says in a very not english accent.
“Is that Alex?”
“Yes! I am Alex”
“Oh perfect!”

Thank God.

We head inside, and he gives us the rundown on the property. He sits us down on the couches and tells us what we get with our booking. He starts by telling us that we get a Bed. I’m thinking, “Yep. That’s kinda why we are here”. He adds that he has given us a kitchen to use, and again, I think “Yeah… That was on the listing too man. Thats not abnormal”. He adds that we have also got a shower. This is where I begin to second guess this bloke a little, thinking “Well bugger me, I would like to hope so”. Our new mate Alex tops it all off by telling us that we have hot water.

By this point, I am starting to get concerned. Who, as a host is going to make special mention of hot water being accessible to guests? This isn’t a good sign, but we just roll with it. We sign the papers that are necessary, and dump our stuff in our room.

He isn’t shy of letting us know that he fancies Bec either.

He’s old, and my God he is the seediest bastard that I have met in a while. He keeps looking straight past me, to Bec, makes the “OK” sign, and says “Ohhhh. Rebecca!”. The first time was funny. By the third time, I’m nearly ready to snap this bloke’s “Ok” signal in half.

Friggin weirdo ay.

We say thanks to Alex and settle into our place.

We go grab some groceries and come back to cook dinner. By the time we got back, this english couple are in the kitchen, and it doesn’t take long for the weirdness of our host to come up in conversation. Glad to know that I’m not the only one thinking this. We get talking with them, and they offer to give us a lift to the mountain tomorrow. We’re not against this at all. We just figure that we will leave our gear at the mountain with the hire company instead of bringing it back with us each night, to save room on their hatchback.

We eat dinner.

We are happy that today is over.

We are happy that we are going to be snowboarding tomorrow.

Come back for the next story,

Billy

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