Leisurely days in Sveti Vlas
[Sveti Vlas, Bulgaria]
Aside from the day trips to Nessebar and Burgas, I spent the rest of the week beaching with my parents in Sveti Vlas.
I’d get up around 6:30 or 7 to for a run or do exercise a bit, then around 8:30 we’d get breakfast. Jana, wife of the couple how owns the hotel, makes dad these awesome open-faced sandwiches with ham, kashkaval (a type of Bulgarian yellow cheese) and tomato slices on top. He loves them. I tried them and think they are pretty delicious, too, but the rest of the time I opted for a healthier home-made breakfast of muesli and Bulgarian yogurt. We are famous for our yogurt – in fact, next time you pick up some Greek yogurt, look for L. Bulgaricus in the ingredients list. The bacteria was discovered by a Bulgarian scientist in 1905 and it’s lauded as the secret to Bulgarian people’s longevity.
It’s only in the last couple of days in Sveti Vlas that I veered away from my healthy breakfast. My parents had told me that one year, Jana and Vili (the husband of the couple who own the hotel) had brought mekitzi for breakfast. Mekitza is nothing more than fried dough – it’s fluffy and flat and can be served with powder sugar, feta cheese, honey, jam. The little cafe that sold them made them right on the spot every morning, so on Friday and Saturday, I went there to get some. It has been years since I’ve had them, and boy, did they taste good. Fluffy, golden, crunchy, sweet (the powder sugar melts if you put it on them while they’re hot) – the ultimate Bulgarian breakfast food.
After breakfast, we’d head to the beach. We’d buy that day’s newspaper, a big bottle of water and a three more coffees at the supermaket on the corner right before the beach. Yes, Bulgarians are such passionate drinkers that even supermarkets will make you a cup of one. We’d get to the beach between 9 and 10 and spend the whole day there – mom devours the newspaper (she literally reads everything in it), then I take a break from my book to read that when she’s done. Dad’s either playing sudoku or reading his own book. Around 1 pm, dad and I would go into the sea, where he’d go take walks along the ocean bottom – the only time he gets around without his crutches. Then we’d go to lunch, except I am the only one eating – all my parents have is a big glass of draught beer (which I also enjoy with my food). Around 5 or 6 pm, we’d call it quits, go back up the hill to our hotel, shower, then go to dinner. It’s no wonder I love the beach – I have clearly inherited this from my parents. It has been a long time when I truly was being lazy on vacation, as well as a long time since I’ve spent this much time with my parents. I felt relaxed and happy.
On my last night there, Jana and Vili (Jana’s husband) made dinner for us. Since my parents have been vacationing in their hotel for 11 years now, they’ve grown to be friends with Jana and Vili, and making dinner for my parents once during their visit became a tradition. They cooked the most amazing fish for us – again, just dipped in flour and fried – but it was so amazing. We had sprat again (much better than in Burgas!!) and turbot – that was my favorite. It was all served with the freshest, most delicious salad of tomatoes, cucumber, roasted green bell peppers and feta cheese. YUM! Their sons, Goergi and Mario, joined us for a little bit. Georgi is 19 and he just came back from Orlando, FL, where he won 1st place in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship out of 400,000 kids from 130 countries. Mario is in his early teens and he’s a fire cracker – he almost got in trouble before dinner because he wanted to go fishing out on the pier in the Sveti Vlas marina, which is nothing more than a bunch of sharp rocks. It was a wonderful, intimate evening, and I didn’t even want to take pictures for fear of spoiling the mood.
A week is a long-enough time to get used to a different rhythm. I will miss these leisurely days of eating and relaxing on the beach and spending time with mom and dad and eating all kinds of fish for the first time. If my 8-month return plan works, I’ll be back in May. Now it’s time for the less leisurely but equally exciting part of my trip – Berlin and Hamburg, Germany!