What I Learned About Sozopol

Well I made it to Varna today, after a long and uneventful week in Sozopol. I am slowly making my way north to Romania, and decided to stop in Varna to meet a friend I made last week. The city here seems to be quite nice. Of course, after spending a full week in one place you tend to learn quite a few of its quirks. And here they are!

The beaches here are green. Okay, not really the beaches, but the waters close to the beach. It seems to be a mix of algae and seaweed, but until you get out in the water 5-7 meters (the shores are quite shallow) you have to wade through almost swampland. It wasn’t really unpleasant, but everyone prefers crystal-clear beaches, right?

The seas can get quite rough at times. Once the waters start getting to be about chest-high the waves are similar to that of the Ocean City, Maryland. They weren’t dangerous, at least not while I was there, but the lifeguards are incredibly vigilant for changing conditions. So much so that they periodically whistle to call everyone in about every 15 minutes. I feel they are just being lazy, but the locals claim they are just diligent.

The pizza they serve here – especially in individual slices in the fast food shops – have corn as a topping. I have never even considered putting corn on a pizza. It’s confusing and disorienting. I saw the same as soon as I arrived in Varna, so I can only assume it is Bulgarian culture. Still…corn?

Take enough money from the ATM. The banks don’t bother to restock them on the weekends, and if you happen to be there on a holiday weekend, it gets even worse. I just happened to be in Sozopol during a holiday that lasted Monday and Tuesday. I was unable to take out money from SEVEN different ATMs. The town is not that big, and fortunately I found an eighth (and possibly last) ATM when late one night I wandered into the New City. I was unable to pay my rent for the week I was there with the 100 Lev I had taken out before the weekend. I thought for sure I was going to have to wait until Wednesday (trapped there, essentially) to be able to take out money so I could leave the city.

Yes, there a whole New City out there! I really had no idea. I even made friends with a Russian girl through Couchsurfing while I was there. We hung out for two nights, just walking around town and the beaches. She casually mentioned New City, but I figured it was just a bunch of condos on the beachfront. This is slightly true, but there is also so much more. Bars, clubs, restaurants, and thankfully banks. What’s more, it was so incredibly close to the Old City. I wish I had known about it before, but when I finally found an ATM there that had some cash left in it, I quickly paid my hostel bill so that I could leave for Varna in the morning.

Tuesday around noon I took a bus back to Burgas, then another to Varna. I met up with Yoanna, whom I originally met in Plovdiv (she was already here on holiday) and we walked around the city a bit. Now I am back at the hostel planning my trip to Romania. I haven’t decided on a specific Workaway yet, but I still want to get to Romania as soon as possible. Well, maybe one more day in Bulgaria. I am in Yo Ho Hostel, recommended by the owner of JustAHostel (in Sozopol). I like it; it’s cheap, close to town, and there are many other travelers with which to befriend. Even so, I’m almost out of cash and don’t feel like withdrawing more. I think I’ll take that as a sign to head north soon!

 

Brian Cosey

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