Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Bulgarian Revelation

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Bulgarian Revelation

Article excerpt

Byline: By Kathryn Richards

When my mum replaced my boyfriend at the last minute as my travelling companion to Bulgaria, I knew I was going to get a very different holiday from the one I had planned.

Adventures and tons of exploring was the original idea, before said boyfriend was despatched to Iraq for a month.

It was replaced with soak up the sun and fit in a little culture.

My preconceptions of Bulgaria were blown apart on arrival at the four-star Hotel Ritza in the resort of Saint Konstantin. This was not a place awash with the all-day-breakfast-seeking Brit pack crowd; it was lush green with sandy expanses of beach backed by pine and oak copses.

The 32-room Ritza is, in my opinion, the pick of the bunch of St Konstantin's offerings. Our large, airy room had a balcony with views of the pristine turquoise swimming pool and flourishing green forest leading to the sparkling Black Sea.

The place was fully booked, yet there was an air of having the place to yourself, thanks to its pretty orchard with grapevines and nectarine trees.

The resort, only 17km from Varna Airport, is a world away from the stresses and strains of life at home.

There is an array of small, sheltered beaches and coves complete with clean lapping waters and picturesque parkland. Lying as it once did behind the Iron Curtain, there are a few signs of its former Soviet past, which only serve to add to its charm and intrigue ( be it the clapped-out 50s buses or some of the older hotels where the comrades would go for their holidays.

Oh, and the prices: it's very cheap. One visitor who had visited the resort for seven years told us how prices had "rocketed" over the years, and yet a three-course dinner for two with wine was a little under pounds 14.

It's a shame to squander the days by merely roasting in the warm sun, reading books and plunging into the icy-cold pool and I quickly began to get restless. …

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