Very excited to be heading off to Bulgaria next week. We’ll be there for 10 nights, mostly staying at our house, and I can’t wait to see it again.
Currently, the temperature is about the same as the UK, maybe a couple of degrees cooler. But I’m hoping it warms up sharpish. We were out there in June last year – albeit on the coast – and it was getting pretty hot by then. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting baking sunshine and factor 50 sun cream, but it would be nice to be comfortable at night in a house with no heating!
We’ve got some boring admin things to do first – paperwork for the company and accounts etc. And of course we need to talk through our plans with the builder, Nachko Nachko man, and get a proper quote for the renovations. Yes, we have no real idea how much it’s going to cost us, only that the work is “no problem”. Last night we wrote out a list of everything that needs doing and it’s effing long. I mean, scarily long. So much so that we’ve broken it down into phases:
Phase I – things the builders can get on with before we go back in August. Boring but important stuff like put in a septic tank and fit a toilet.
Phase II – things to do between August and November, either for us to do ourselves or oversee. Mostly to do with fixtures and fittings, and any jobs that really need to be done before the cold weather sets in (i.e. indoor staircase!!).
Phase III – work to do in 2012, once the house itself is sorted. This includes, the garden, a nice stone wall, and driveway. Oh yes, and the small matter of rebuilding the outbuilding to make a guest cottage.
Phase IV – Ah, my idealistic phase, when the house, garden, guest cottage are all perfect and we get down to the serious business of living the good life. So far, this list consists only of “get chickens, get bees, plant a cherry tree”. No expected timeframe yet.
I’ve found a couple of homeware/DIY stores that we can explore. One of which, a German chain called Praktiker, looks suspiciously like a low-rent Ikea, even down to the blue and yellow logo! I’m amazed and delighted to find we can buy a toilet there for 99 leva (about £45). As an aside, Bulgaria’s first Ikea, being built in Sofia, is due to open at the end of 2011 – perfect timing for our furnishing needs, how very kind of them. The Development Minister has been quoted as saying “The opening of the IKEA store will jam the entire city but I wish for this opening nonetheless.” Utterly brilliant – my kind of politician.
Otherwise, the plan is to spend time getting to know the area and practising our pitiful Bulgarian language skills (“malko Bulgarski!”). If we can, we’d like to spend a day or two exploring somewhere we haven’t been yet, either Veliko Turnovo or Plovdiv – both apparently beautiful old cities. And our final two nights will be in Sofia, generally sightseeing, chilling out, showering, and visiting our favourite tea shop.
More news, stories of village life and lots of pictures to follow when we return later in May. Ta ta.