Friday, 11 February 2011

The Kidds, Net and I (part 1)

As some of you may know, through Facebook, Claire and Peter Kidd have just moved out here from the UK. They are now in a small village, not that far away from us, but as far as they are aware they are the only 'foreigners' there. We can remember how strange and alien everything felt when we first moved across, but we were lucky due to the fact that there were other foreigners living in the same village. We had been in fairly constant contact as they made their across Europe. Even before they left the UK they were having van problems, but they thought that everything had been sorted out prior to their trip, unfortunately the van gave up the will to live in Germany. I had best let them tell their own story about their eventful trip. We had made the offer that they would be welcome to stay with us, even if it was only for a hot meal or a shower. They eventually crossed the Ruse bridge at 1am, so rather than disturb us they went straight to their new home. It must have been freezing for them, as the house hasn't been lived in for a fair while.

They have been totally reliant on their agent, so on the first Saturday we made arrangements to meet them in the Penny Market car-park in Popovo, one of the few places that they actually knew. We don't know Popovo that well ourselves, but at least we were able to point out the fruit and veg market, the area for the Friday market, a few DIY stores and various banks and cafes. We even introduced them to the joys of Bulgarian fast food, the famous Boyko kebab. They might not be to everyone's taste, but they are hot, quick and cheap, I think that I could become addicted if Net will let me. Once we had finished with Popovo, it was back to our's so that a list of things to do could be written down over a hot coffee, it also gave them the opportunity to bookmark our village in their Sat Nav, so that they would be able to find us again. Bless them both, due to the problem with their van their furniture and bits and pieces are still in Germany, so we again made the offer that they were welcome to stay with us, but they were worried about their dogs and cats. The first thing that they wanted to get was a cooker, in which case we would need to take both vehicles into Gorna. So with Pete and Claire tailing us we set off, and our first stop an appliance shop where Net and Claire started discussing the various merits of the cookers. Due to the various power cuts we get in the winter it was decided that a dual fuel cooker would tick all of the boxes. So the soft top comes down and between the four of us we manage to get the cooker in, then Claire decides that they need some shopping, so round to Kaufland, and Net explaining what the Bulgarian equivalents are to things that Claire has used to. We also pointed out that there was a Kaufland in Razgrad, which might prove closer for them, but we would show them that at a later date. Maybe in hindsight we should have gone to get the gas bottle first, as the plumbers merchants was closed by the time that we got there. By now it was getting late in the day, so as we had the cooker and Pete and Claire had the Sat Nav we would follow them back to theirs.

The Sat Nav took us all into parts of the countryside that none of us had been to before. There was even a big white Stork like bird flying round, and when Net looked closely there were about 8 in a tree near to a river. We thought it a bit early for the Storks to be here, and looking in our reference book later that night they could have been white Egrets. By the time we got to Strazhitsa it was getting dark, and then the Sat Nav decided to take us on a mystery tour. We headed off down a muddy track, seemingly leaving civilisation behind, and the cooker was starting to bounce around in the back of our car as we hit pothole after pothole. Sometimes there was more hole than track, but eventually we emerged into a village. After giving both vehicle's suspensions a thorough work out we finally arrived at Claire and Peter's house. Soft top down and with slipping and sliding in the mud we got the shopping and the cooker out of the cars and indoors. At least it was all done in the dark so maybe the neighbours didn't see what was being taken inside.

Sunday and they were over at ours bright and early. Peter needed to get various bits of DIY stuff, and as they had never been to VT before it was mutually decided that a trip to Praktiker wouldn't go amiss, which was quite fortunate as we also needed various items too. Peter was going to get a gas bottle in there, until I pointed out that both the bottle and the regulator were much more expensive there than in GornaI'm not sure whether there is a Praktiker or some such like in Razgrad, but we will check that out at a later point. Everywhere that we went Net was telling Claire where had 'good' loos and where to avoid. After a pitstop for coffee a Lidl's bag was spotted, so you have already guessed where we headed next. The new Lidl in VT has only just opened so it would be an experience for us all, and it was just round the corner from Praktiker. If I had known that it was so close I would have left the car where it was and just walked over, as the car park was manic. If I thought that the car park was bad, it was even worse inside, I think that half of VT had also decided to check it out. We couldn't get out of there fast enough, apart from which we were all starting to get peckish, although none of us fancied a sit down meal, so it was hunt the kebab time. We were going to show them the old town and we could all have done with a coffee, but it was getting cooler and none of us had jackets with us, but we did pull over and show them Tsaravets. Peter and Claire thought that Tsaravets would be one definite thing to show Claire's mother when she comes over later in the year.

We drove up to Arbanassi, to show them the views over VT, and to find coffee in somewhere warm. Those that have seen the views from there will hopefully agree that they are stunning. Well this will probably do for part 1, so we had best sign off for now. Incidentally Claire has been re-christened Sonya Van, as everything that they own, apart from a few bits, are still on the van. Latest update is that their stuff has been picked up from Germany and is en route as I write this. We just need to know when it will arrive in BG as we have promised to help unload.

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