Happy to see I’ve nudged a few people to head to the wonderful Greek island of Samothraki this year. We’ll be going back ourselves at some point. But this year? This year I wanted to hunker down and go back to our old favourite, Sinemorets, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. We go there every other year for a week of total relaxation, beachy picnics, nature- (and people-) watching, and big jugs of wine. (Usually heading somewhere in Greece for the alternating years, although there are so many other places I want to go when I can finally tear myself away from Bulgaria and Greece. Macedonia, Albania, Georgia, I’m still looking at you…)
Sinemorets is one of those places that you almost don’t want to tell people about. We’ve all got that special place that feels like coming home. That place that just speaks to you. You love it and can’t understand why everyone doesn’t flock there – while at the same time hoping everyone doesn’t flock there because you like it the way it is and you want it to stay that way. Mostly unspoilt. On the sleepy side. Unpolished. For me, that place is Sinemorets.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as sleepy as it used to be. There have been some additions over the years. A supermarket (which is eye-wateringly expensive but does sell vegan milk and soya iced coffee so it’s overall a thumbs up from me). A craft beer shop (obviously a thumbs up). A gelato place with fancy flavours like violet (no vegan option, but you can’t have it all). One of those big fairground-type stalls where you try to shoot a duck to win an ugly cuddly toy, or hit a punch bag to see who can punch the hardest (a dumb addition to the village if you ask me. Surely something nicer could go in that spot?). New places to stay and new houses being built on the cliffs (but no complete eyesores, so it’s all good).
But overall, it’s hardly changed in years. Our favourite bar still does the same six cocktails and plays the same awesome music. Our favourite restaurant has the same menu and plays the same vintage music videos. And the overall vibe of the village is exactly the same – relaxed and friendly with an interesting mix of people (mostly Bulgarian, some foreigners, hardly any Brits, some families, plenty of young folk, older couples, naked beach hippies, it’s a real mish-mash).
Writing this down, I realise it may sound completely boring, going to the same place every other year. Looking forward to that delicious aubergine dish in our favourite restaurant. Itching for a bloody Mary in the same clifftop bar. Going to the same beaches and unpacking our usual beach picnic of tomatoes, bread, olive oil, wine and (because we’re English) crisps. But I love it. I wouldn’t want to go there every single year, but I really relish our alternate years there. Maybe it’s a middle-age thing, but the familiarity of the place is so comforting and relaxing. We don’t have to think about anything for a whole week. We know exactly what we’re doing. No discussion required.
God, that is boring, isn’t it? I blame my parents, who took me on the same holidays for most of my childhood (Isle of Wight, Lake District – and you know what, I bloody loved both). What do you think – do you enjoy going back to the same place regularly or would it bore you silly?
I won’t post loads of photos, as I’ve shared plenty of Sinemorets stuff elsewhere on the blog over the years, and it still looks the same. But if you want to see me wang on about Sinemorets some more, check out this post or this post or this old thing…
You going anywhere nice this summer? Do tell.