Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Borovets, Bulgaria

March 2008 - boys on tour, snowboarding in Bulgaria. We'd booked this holiday months before and to be honest, got a really good deal. We paid £460 for everything - flights, transfers, accomodation, breakfast and evening (although the food in the hotel was rubbish), ski pass and 3 days training. The only thing that concerned me was the weather - March is pretty much the end of the winter season.

When we arrived, we were introduced to a resort with snow :D. OK, there could have been more snow but at least I knew that the levels would be much better at the top of the gondola. Our hotel room overlooked the end of the mini run - pretty much the best view. This is where we'd spend the first few days going on the chair lift. It featured a really steep slope - something I never thought we'd conquer after seeing for the first time in total darkness.

The first night was spent getting familiar with the local bars and restaurants. The next morning, we had our first lesson. I'd been to Austria a few years ago so I chose to go in the intermediate class. My mates were all put in the beginner class but I met a great set of people in mine. By the second day, we were going to the top of the mountain and I was falling over less and less. On day 4, our instructor brought a shovel so we could make a jump. We all had a few goes which improved our confidence and made me more keen to find more. The reason why we were still with the instructor was because he offered us 3 days for the price of 1, and if nothing else, he was an excellent guide. Unfortunately, we could only go from the top station to the middle station; the snow levels were insufficient towards the bottom. On the last day though, we had the courage to give it a go. Svilen led the way and we managed to get pretty close before we had to stop. Luckily, he had a man with a van who picked us up and took us for lunch - happy days! The last 2 days were probably the worst conditions - high winds meant the gondola was shut by mid-afternoon. We'd all had our fair share by this point and didn't mind a few cheeky runs on the nursery slope.

The nightlife in Borovets is amazing! There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs... even strip joints ;). The only thing I'll say about that food is to make sure it's cooked properly. We had chicken burgers once that were completely raw on one side. Sending them back to be cooked didn't make a difference so we ordered something else. The beer is really good and really cheap. In one place called Buzz Bar, you could get 2 beers for about £1.50 - bargain. Other favourites of ours include Frankos and the karaoke bar nearby (possibly Black Tiger). We stayed in the Rila hotel, probably one of the best. Our rooms were basic and small but we didn't spend much time in them at all. Our equipment was hired and stored in the same building meaning we could stroll down for breakfast and get our kit without rushing. It also had swimming and gym facilities - the spa was definitely beneficial after a hard day on the slopes.

I'd definitely recommend Borovets as a skiing resort but you should probably go a bit earlier in the season - February is a safe bet. We booked our holiday with Balkan Holidays and had no complaints. The reps have lots of activities to do - the bar crawl being the most popular.

If you have any questions about Borovets, give me a shout. Oh, one more thing, go to a restaurant called Hunters. It's ownled by our instructor's family and we ate there 3 nights in a row. The kebabs skewers are not to be missed. Say hi to Svilen if you go, haha.

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