Fishy Fishy Fishy
When we woke up on Thursday, the weather was cloudy and dreary. so we decided to go to the nearby town of Burgas to check out the airport, where I will be flying out of on Sunday, as well as its famous seaside park.
Burgas is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea (after Varna) and fourth largest in the country (after Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna). Its population is just over 200,000 and it’s situated on the westernmost point of the Black Sea, on Burgas Bay. My parents’ friends raved about the seaside park and told us there is a cute self-serve cafe there where you can get all kinds of fish. I’d been trying to get some sprat – a small fish from the herring family that is really popular – since I got here, but the beach cafe mom and I had been going to lunch in Vlas didn’t have it.
When we got to Burgas, the weather was starting to get better. Many people were walking, running or cycling in the park along the promenade, and some were even heading to the beach. We found the self-serve cafe, and there were more than a dozen fish on the menu, all coming from the Black Sea or other seas closeby. I only recognized the sprat, but mom seemed to be familiar with some of the others, so we ended up with two other kinds of fish – round goby and scad. All three were fried – a popular preparation here because it’s fast, delicious and tastes good with beer. All three were served whole. The sprat is small, so you eat it whole – head and bones and all. With the other two, you tear the head off first, then you press the fish along its spine so that you can remove the bone. My dad was smart and didn’t have to contend with any of this, since he had the fish soup – no bones or heads there! We washed it all down with a couple of beers – well, my parents did, since I drove back.I am glad I finally got my sprat, and got to experience the variety of fish offered here on the Black Sea.
In the evening, we went to dinner at our usual place in the central square. We were delightfully surprised when we heard music coming from there – a band was playing. It was followed by a group of women who danced horo (traditional Bulgarian folk dance) dressed in traditional Bulgarian costumes. A bunch of people gathered on the square to watch, and some even joined in on the dancing.
Sveti Vlas is such a quaint, beautiful place. I am starting to see why my parents have been coming here for the past 11 years.