Wednesday, 27 October 2010

This is not a joke !

 Mishenden (Mouse Feastday); St Nestor’s Day. Name day of everyone named Nestor. The day is honoured by women. They are forbidden to do any household work, otherwise mice will harm the house and the grain. They sew up the front and the back of their skirts – resembling the symbolical “sewing up” of the mice’s eyes. It is strictly forbidden to talk about mice.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Budget airlines for Ruse ?

The airport in the Bulgarian Danube city of Ruse is ready to be offered on concession to be used for low-budget flights, the Ruse District Governor, Plamen Stoilov, informs Monday.
Stoilov said the "Shtraklevo" airport will benefit from the fact the airports of the Romanian capital Bucharest are experiencing a traffic overload.
According to the Governor, the previous two attempts to concession the airport failed not because the offer is not lucrative but because the proposals have been poorly prepared and the conditions unrealistic.
Stoilov reports he has already advertised the concession with 10 major airlines in Europe and on other continents, adding in addition to the concession, he would seek other ways for the use of "Shtraklevo" such as public-private partnerships.
The airport was built in the distant 1967. It has 2 000 decares of land and a 2 500-meters long runway in good condition. In addition, the location offers opportunities to combine flights with railroad, road, river transportation, and air cargo.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Ski value

Bansko, Bulgaria's biggest ski resort, is the second-cheapest resort for British skiers in the world, according to new research by the Post Office.
Poiana Brasov in Romania came top in a study comparing costs at 12 of the cheapest resorts. At GBP 259.53 for six skiing essentials, including a week's ski pass, ski hire, evening meals and drinks, Poiana Brasov was six per cent cheaper than Bansko in Bulgaria and up to 20 per cent cheaper than Slovenia's Kanin resort.
The news comes just days after Bansko was named the winter capital on the Balkans at an international tourism exhibition in the Serbian town of Novi Sad.
The little town bordering Pirin National Park, about 160 kilometers south of Bulgaria's capital Sofia, offers a stark but nice contrast between the cobbled streets and churches of the old town and hundreds of millions of euros poured into hotels, ski runs and bright blue gondola bubbles in its modern part.
Supervising all this is the roughly 2,800-meter Todorka peak.
The formerly off-the-beaten-path destination has recently gone mainstream, but it is very rarely that tourists see the vistas doom-sayers warn against - construction cranes and gaudy mutrobaroque hotels, favored by the nouveau riche and organized crime mobsters, known as mutri, with which they try to prove their wealth.
Tourists need to spend no more than 25 euros a night in those hotels, which exemplify Bansko's ambitions best – quite chic, but without the ridiculous attempts to be consmopolitan often found at Bulgarian resorts.
The old town, where the prices are lower even than the capital Sofia, is a collection of ski and souvenir shops with cozy, dimly lit taverns and restaurants. It is not unusual to see an entire lamb or pig roasting on a spit in front of one of the eateries.
The alternatives are the pubs, frequented by British, Irish and Greek tourists, who, together with the Russians, have until recently been the driving force of Bansko's prosperity.
Critics say Bansko was built to meet the standards of not that wealthy tourists, who do not bring lots of money to the country. As the global crisis bit, however, the number of these tourists, who out of fears for their jobs, decided to skip the holidays altogether, drastically decreased.
Bansko's long-term attraction will be limited, unless what is on offer complies with the highest standards, they say.

Uncle's Comment: It may offer good value for money, but a recent report in the Financial Times described investing in property in the winter resorts as a 'disaster'

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Well at least the Romanians are coming !

Bulgaria's Economy Ministry is planning to present the country as a destination at the Romanian Tourism Fair 2010.
The international tourist expo will take place in the Romanian capital Bucharest on October 21-24, 2010.
It is usually attended by over 30 000 businesspeople from the tourism sector.
Bulgaria will take part in the Romanian Tourism Fair with an information pavilion of 110 square meters.
A total of 16 Bulgarian tour operators, travel agencies, tourism organizations and municipalities will be presented in Bucharest.
Romania is rapidly turning into one of the top sources of foreign tourists for Bulgaria together with the traditionally important German, Russian, and British tourists.
An estimated one million Romanian tourists visited Bulgaria in 2009.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Brits in Bulgarian elections

The British community in the village of Avren, municipality of Varna, fed up with what they see as the failure of local government, has decided to take matters in their own hands by appointing their own candidate in the local elections, the private Bulgarian television channel bTV reported on October 18 2010.

About 20 British families permanently reside in Avren, one of the largest British communities in the region. The community has apparently grown tired of their pleas falling on deaf ears, so in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, they have decided to act.

The Lisbon treaty is an international agreement amending the two treaties which comprise the constitutional basis of the European Union – the Treaty of Maastricht, and the Treaty of Rome, or the initial treaty of the European Community. It stipulates that every citizen of a European member state country is allowed the same rights in his adopted country as local citizens.

The treaty, which was signed by EU member states on December 13 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009, states in some of its provisions, that it ensures greater economic, social and territorial cohesion as well as "common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty".

The British in Avram are upset because the locals keep on littering. They say that they want to keep the place as tidy as it would be in the UK.

Like other residents of Avren, the expats are also concerned at the poor state of local infrastructure. Hence they have formed – in a move unprecedented for Bulgaria –  a foreign club that will have a say in local politics.

Uncle's Comment :This I think refers to the creation of an NGO or political party.Previously British residents have stood for the local councils, even some for 'Nationalist' parties.Obviously they didn't win.

No British airways flights to Varna

Yes,unbelievably it has just been announced that BA are withdrawing the London-Varna service, it is an incredibly backward step but blamed on unprofitability.A Varna-Budapest-London service is being offered in partnership with Malev but it will mean a transfer and hanging around at Budapest.So Wizzair is the best alternative.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sofia property prices even out

Prices of properties in Sofia have been stabilized, according to data from Bulgarian real estate agency "Bulgarian Properties" and credit holding "Creditex & Hypocredit."
According to the data, the main reason for the stabilization of prices is the reduced construction of new apartments. The National Statistics Institute has announced that construction permits have decreased by 1/3 in the last year.
Another reason is the resumed crediting, which makes sellers more relentless during negotiations.
"Two months before the end of 2010, we can conclude that this year did not show any substantial change in the volume of deals or in prices of properties, in comparison to 2009," the Operation Director of "Bulgarian Properties," Polina Stoykov, said.
According to her, reaching a level of stability was important after periods of high prices, followed by a drastic drop of real estate prices in 2009.
"Bulgarian Properties" has registered that the average price for sol apartments in Sofia in the third quarter of 2010 was EUR 840 per sq.m., which is BGN 30 per sq.m. less in comparison to the second quarter of the year.
Stoykova pointed out that this is a minimal change in the property prices for the past months. Compared to the second quarter, the drop of prices is 3,5%, while compared to the first three months of 2010, the drop is 16%.
The lowest real estate price in Sofia, as registered by the company, was in August – EUR 740 per sq.m. In September, the demand for luxury apartments in the Bulgarian capital increased, which led to the increase of the average price - EUR 997 per sq.m.
At the same time, the number of sold apartments in Sofia in the third quarter of 2010 increased by 10% compared to the previous three months.
"The market was more active this summer, in comparison to previous years," Stoykova said.
According to "Creditex & Hypocredit," prices for small apartments have been stable in the past few months, which in their opinion is the first sign for a forthcoming period of increased prices in this segment of the market.
The conclusion has been based on calculation of the current profitability of residential properties, which is the ratio of the sales price and the potential rent price. It is indicative of the trends in the property market.
The credit company has stated that at present the sales prices are stabilizing faster than rentalprices, which leads to a drop of the current profitability to 4,29% for the first half of 2010,compared to 4,51for 2009.
The drop is felt most significantly in apartments up to 50 sq.m. The company believes that it would soon be felt for bigger apartments as well.
"Apartments in Sofia are already reaching their lowst levels," Krasimir Gumnishki, manager Business Crediting in "Creditex & Hypocredit", said.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Autumn comes

Unseasonably cold here, it's 10 C at the moment about 10 C lower than last week !.It's always a shock that the seaons change so rapidly in this region, the UK is slower but I have always said that Bulgaria only has two full seaons, Winter and Summer, the other two are too short to mention.

I see the advantages of Spain where it only gets to 13 C even on Christmas Day, but the snow has a certain allure here and I would not give it up for the world.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Norman Wisdom

So farewell then Sir Norman Wisdom, slapstick icon of several generations.When I was a kid, afternoon tv was never complete without one of his films.In Albania he was a national hero, since his work was the only western films allowed on the dictatorships tv.

As a child I never found him remotely funny, but as you grow older the skill and comic timing come across.Another thing was the sheer longevity of the man, 95 years old and,until recently,physically fit.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Great Early holiday deals

This is one of my favourite hotels and all inclusive for a week is from 350 pounds.This year we will be doing day trips from Albena and negotiating discounts with one of the leading beachside restaurants in the resort.We will be taking guests to the races near Balchik, to Cape Kaliakra and to the Mussel Farm, amongst other offers.Pick ups will be from Golden Sands as well.
Airport drop offs and pick ups are offered too.Just e mail me at info@gobg.co.uk for further details.Click on the title for the link to the Hotel Gergana.

Spotted Dog Pub Barking

The headline has a link that takes you to my local pub in Barking, Essex.The Spotted Dog is very old pub, dating back to the 19th century with wonderful decor.The manager,Russell,is a great bloke who works very hard to make the pub a great place to go.I miss it alot, moreover the really great regulars.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Why Bulgaria ?

I get asked alot by people on this blog and on my website this : 'Of all the places you could go and live and work, why Bulgaria ?'.

I gave been here full time since July 2004 and have loved it here.Living here full time rather than the holiday/holiday home experience is rather different and more challenging.However the very varied hot summer/cold winter climate make it almost like two countries and the pattern of life is very relaxed.

Living close to the sea is a very wonderful positive, but the hinterland is lush and verdant in the summer and snow crusted at the height of winter.

Day to day living expenses here are still very cheap, but have increased significantly since I first came here.A meal in a restaurant with wine still costs only 10 pounds, but petrol and electricity are relatively expensive.A weeks shopping for one should be about 15 pounds.

Generally the people are friendly and getting around is pretty easy with plentiful and cheap public transport.

Moving to Bulgaria is basically a quality of life move and I recommend it to anyone.Property remains very cheap here, prices have fallen by 30% since 2007.