With an hour or so before my train onwards from Burgas, heading for Plovdiv and then Veliko Turnovo, I reckoned a final beer somewhere close to the station would be in order (having said my farewells to the guys at Pri Akolite over my morning coffee).
This is quite a smart-looking bar, on the main pedestrian street Aleksandrovska, and seemed quite popular. On asking for a large draft beer the attractive young mini-skirted waitress informed me that they only had bottles - Heinekin or Becks. Ach well, I'd lit my cigarette and was getting comfortable and so opted for a Heinekin.
The beer promptly arrived, along with the bill. I fell off my seat.
5.50 leva and it was only a small bottle at that.
You have been warned!
One thing I was particularly impressed with here in Bourgas was the street signage. This was the first place in Bulgaria that not only did the streets have signs in the logical places; such as at their starts and their intersections, but also written both in Cyrillic and Latin characters.
Yep, I was dead impressed...until...
It came to finding my hotel!
I'd arrived here in Bourgas in the late morning, a bit too early to check in to my hotel. But I was travelling light and so instead of immediately searching out my hotel to drop my bag off I had a pleasant wander around the city and its Sea Gardens, an odd beer or two. Around mid-afternoon, having orientated myself in what is a pleasantly compact city centre I followed my mental map (and the excellent street signage) towards my hotel.
I knew my hotel was just off Hristo Botev, one of the main roads heading into the city from the railway station, and yep that was easy enough to find and there was the street sign.
The only problem was...it just wasn't facing the right direction, well not according to my mental map anyway. Hmmmm.... OK, all the other street signs have worked for me and so I'll follow the sign. Hmmm.... Now I find myself back at the railway station!
I reloaded my mental map, retraced my steps and yep, there's the sign, definitely pointing in the wrong direction. This time I continued with my mental map (though I did stop off for a beer to assist the re-orientation process!) and followed the road that I expected my hotel to be on and yep there was my hotel, exactly where it should have been according to my mental map.
So here's the "Warning or Danger": I reckon the local taxi drivers alter or remove the street signs here in Bulgaria just to booger us poor fools who reckon they can find their hotels without them. HA! But this time it was daylight and I was travelling light and could have wandered around all day if necessary and as I proved I can find my hotel eventually!
Is it a conspiracy or am I just being paranoid?
If anyone actually knows Bourgas they'll immediately spot that the sign on this pic is definitely facing the wrong way by 90 degrees!
Changing money on the streets should be avoided.
You may encounter people around the railway station offering better rates than the banks and hotels, but don't be tempted by this.
The scams vary in nature. For example, I was approached by a Turkish guy with a large pile of (probably fake) notes who asked if I could give him change for a 50 leva note in order that he could buy a coffee. He was offering a rate that was double that available in the banks. Needless to say, I politely refused his 'generous' offer.
A number of tourists are stung by such scams, and then find that the police are not particularly interested in their misfortune.
Allways check the posted exchange rate before giving your money. I was travelling with a friend who is Bulgarian, and she needed to change some money. She went into the first exchange place we saw (fist mistake, allways go more into the center of town), and gave the woman behind the counter her $100 USD. The woman told her to sign the receipt which showed the rate of 1.75 but was only going to give her 100 Lv.
She told the woman that the amount was wrong and asked for her $100 USD back. But the woman refused to give it back. My friend aurgued with the owner for almost 10min. It was only after she called the police that the owner gave her the $100 USD back.
We walked another block and found a place that was giving 1.72, which was the average for the time I was visiting.
And my friend is Bulgarian and speaks the language. A foreigner would be out of luck.
I advise you to not bring anything valuable to this Country, if you drive by your car you can look for your return ticket at the airport. Just forget about your car.
Mafia, well i shouldnt call those bums Mafia because, its a big insult to real mafia around the world, Those thieffs are big problem in the country.And Kills the tourism of this beautiful land.
Burgas is quite a safe place but beware of Gipsy's who pose as beggars but are pick pockets.
Do not change money on the streets its from the Black Market.You should only change money at Banks or Hotels
I was at Sunny Beach some 30+ kilometers North of Burgas for 2 weeks. I got fed up with the touristic place after a day, and decided to rent a car (Volkswagen Passat, which is a very good, stable car, and the most expensive they had on the list) and go actually see the country. After the 12 days, when the car was returned, I had to pay an additional reparation for the last part of the exhaust pipe, which had fallen off - which is no wonder with the roads you find there! So beware that a rental price quoted is not necessarily the final price for the car. Besides, whan I presented them with my MasterCard, I was told that I had to pay an extra 6% 'bank tax' to use it to pay for the rental. Seriously...