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First trip 18/9/2004

Planning from home
First trip 18/9/2004
Finding other owners
The 2nd trip 22/June 2005
The 3rd trip 17/Sept 2005
The 3rd trip . 2nd week
The final instalment
The gallery

Architecture in Sofia

No holiday this 

Sofia hotel garden

We touched down in Sofia on 18th Sept 2004 found our taxi driver & told him we needed to book tickets to Varna for the next day.He took us to the Hemus air office and sorted out the tickets for us, that done we headed off to the city and our hotel for that night.
Coming out of the airport we drove along dull grey roads with skyscraper concrete tenement blocks obviously built during the communist regime by some architect with no flair or no idea, or simply to the Government of the days design, its paint now flaking and washing hanging from the windows in the sky. Oh my God,I wondered if it was a good idea thinking about buying here, lets hope this is a bad area & things get better I thought.Sure enough as we began to get nearer to the city the buildings although some still austere blocks of concrete seemed to take on a more cared for look with less flaking paint and by the time we reached the centre these concrete blocks had given way to buildings that had stood for hundreds of years but now needed some money spent to bring them back to their former glory.(This we found was happening when next day with a few hours to spare we did the sightseeing thing) But for now we arrived at the hotel checked in unpacked a few essentials then hit the bar.
I noticed a computer behind the desk hooked up to the net and asked if it was possible to book a hotel in Varna from it. 'No problem.' Said the owner and showed us a selection. The Briz 2 was chosen, booked and pick up arranged from Varna airport. Now it was time to eat. We found a nice restraunt bar where for 18 lev (6.00) we had two main meals two desserts 1 litre of wine and 2 litres of beer, cant complain at that.  

The Briz 2 just outside Varna
It's got a huge pool

The beach near the hotel
Watch out for nudists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We arrived in Varna the next day and hoped to start viewing asap which as it turned out was the following day.
We had chosen a few properties that we thought were in the same area but when the agent turned up it soon became clear that some of these were miles apart and some not even in his area.
We now know that there is a code on the property details and this code applies to that particular agent.
It then became clear after seeing the distance travelled to the first property that we were not going to be able to see even a small percentage of the properties we had shortlisted & after viewing only three properties from that morning (It was now 4.00pm) it was obvious that a radical rethink was in order that night.
Talking in the car to the rep we decided to go back to the office to see what we could sort out for the next day as we wanted to have a look at some new build apartments anyway and thought it best to do this sooner rather than later and the area for these was with a different rep.
At the office the rep struggled to get a viewing the next day as things were getting quite busy and to see the ones in the order we wanted in the time we had left was not going to be possible so he arranged for us to see a plot of land 5km inland from Sunny Beach that still had one apt not yet sold.So the rep took us back to the hotel where we really did have a radical rethink and ended up later on that week doing what when we first set out to buy a property, was one of our 2nd/3rd options. We bought an apt.
That radical rethink took in all we had seen that day, the distance travelled, the state of the properties, the fact we would not be able to oversee the building work, the location of the properties and the fact that security would have been an issue.The rep did say that people in the villages would look after the property and tend the garden but we thought this just a selling ploy, we now know this is not only possible but almost always the case.
In the morning we got a taxi to Sunny Beach where we met the company rep & the builder,they informed us that the last apartment on the plot we were going to see had just been sold but there were two other plots in the same location.We saw the first one and immediatly thought that the location was good with a nice view and an uninterupted view at that, as the land in front of the proposed apartments dropped down considerably and went on for miles before rising again to form mountains. So if any building did go on it would not interfere with us. 
We were sold, and so it was back to Sunny Beach, get the bus to Varna (6lev each)and decide if thats what we wanted to do.decisions had to be made and pros & cons weighed up and in the end the apartment won due mainly because it was an easy option and anyway we could still buy a property in a rural area later on if we wished.    

The uninterupted view.

A kitchen in a rural property

Things however were about to get hectic,a lot more hectic than I thought they would get as Julie fell sick and as such could not go to Bourgas the next day to do the paperwork we had arranged to do and also the hotel room in Bourgas that had been arranged for us had to be cancelled and with time running out things were not looking good.
A day of doing nothing and eating nothing followed in an effort to try and get well enough to carry on and in the morning we would look at the situation again.
Morning came and it wasn't looking good, Julie still felt like death and about decided that we had to carry on but could not face the journey in a bus or even a taxi but felt she would be ok if I could hire a car.
Twenty mins later I had a car, we had packed, checked out, arranged to come back the next day and were on our way to Bourgas with me starting to feel a bit iffy,but that came to nothing that a trip to the chemist couldn't cure.
We were met outside Bourgas at Metro & escorted to the hotel, we then went to the office, opened a bank account, started a company (although for an apartment there was no need we felt it would speed things up if we later bought land)paid a deposit, signed POAs, contracts, and all in the space of a few hours, a few hectic hours. The MD of the company came to see us in our hotel and brought with him the plans which as yet had not been published on their web site, we were given first refusal on any of the apartments as we were the first to sign up for that complex.
That night a few drinks later and with me still not 100% we called it a day and went to bed.
A well deserved rest.
With business done and contracts signed we made our way back to Varna only to be stopped by a traffic cop in his little hut just passed Pomorie.
oh oh I thought as he waved us in to the side of the road I dont like the look of this.
Good afternoon officer I said getting out of the car.  Where are you from he said. "England" Ah said he.
Do you know Sunderland?
Yes. Its about 200 miles from where we live.
I support there football team he said.
Oh right said I.
Er have I done something wrong?
Oh no said he.
No problem you can go, have a nice holiday.  
HOLIDAY, HOLIDAY, if he thinks this is a holiday I thought, then he's never bought a flipping property in a foreign land, and with that I sped on my way flashing lights to every passing driver to alert them to the fact there was a Sunderland supporter on the loose.        

Back in Varna we booked the tickets back to Sofia then made our way back to the hotel to chill out with some rather large G&Ts at a rather small price ( 2 large one's less than 80 stotinki) That evening, car gone we hailed a taxi but it was full, unfortunatley the next one saw us. I say unfortunatley because I bartered a price that he was not best pleased with and all the way to Varna (5 mins) he bemoaned the fact saying that he was a millionaire, yes I drive for fun, what you get in London for 5 lev huh, nothing. You rich english ******** blah blah blah etc.
Who needs to go to New York to be abused by a taxi driver, just go to Varna and flag a Merc!!!!!!!!!!!! He He He.
I gave him a tip just for the entertainment value.