Bulgarian Bliss; A Break by the Black Sea Was the Perfect Tonic for YVONNE McGREGOR, Husband George and Family
DECIDING to go on holiday with our extended family sounded good but as they varied in age from two to 65 years, it was obvious that problems could arise.
George and I wanted a typical family holiday - easy access to the beach and pool, with a choice of activities to keep the kids amused. George's parents Jemima and Alistair wanted a relaxing holiday with some sightseeing and my brother Scott wanted to party in lively pubs and clubs. And I had to find a destination to suit us all.
Finally, after a lot of discussion, we booked a two-week break to Albena in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria lies at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The coast opens on to the Black Sea, which has an average water temperature of 25C in the summer - perfect for swimming and watersports.
Arriving at our hotel, the Drobrudja, unpacking was forgotten as my son, Keiran, two, and stepson, Sean, 12, dragged us to the beach, just 300 metres away.
The sandy beach, which slopes gently into the sea, is great for families and being 7km long and 100 metres wide, there's lots of room for everyone. Jemima and Alistair settled into deck-chairs, laughing at Keiran's shrieks as the waves rolled over his toes.
Watersports, ranging from jet-skiing to wind surfing, are popular in Albena and extremely cheap.
Sean was mesmerised by the parascenders drifting lazily through the sky and, despite the million or so butterflies fluttering around my stomach, it wasn't long before we soared up to join them.
Fear gone, I settled in and enjoyed the view. The Black Sea spread out enticingly beneath us, packed with speedboats, jet-skis, pedallo boats and swimmers. Opposite, fringing the beach, was a multitude of open-air cafe bars backed by lush green hills.
Enjoying the view a little too much, I missed our signal to descend and, instead of landing gently on the beach, I plunged waist-deep into the sea. Lovely.
Finally dragging the boys away from the beach, we headed back to the hotel to face the unpacking.
The Drobrudja Hotel was an excellent base with lots of facilities, including an indoor and outdoor pool, a health and beauty centre and shops. The upper three floors of the 17-storey tower have three restaurants offering fantastic views of Albena and the surrounding area, while the basement contains a funky nightclub.
Finally organised, we headed out for dinner to Arabella's, a converted boat with three floors for eating and drinking at reasonable prices.
The Slavianka was also a popular choice for its friendly atmosphere and good food, and Big George's was a huge hit, especially with the kids and Scott, with its menu of fish suppers, chip butties and burgers.
No traditional Bulgarian delicacies for them.
After dinner we boarded one of the mini trains which circle the resort continuously and costs pennies. We stopped off at the nightly craft market where artists sell paintings, wooden and leather products, ceramics and pottery, and will capture you on canvas for just a few pounds. …