My story is divided into two parts. First I’m going to write about our arrival, the hotel, the staff and the beer-house. I’m going to tell you about our excursions in another particular link. If you want to go directly there, click here: Excursion 2004
I’m getting ahead of the things and I’m telling you beforehand that this holiday was for us the most wonderfully spent vacation for at least 10 years now. We, the four friends of Bulgaria, shared this opinion. However, it started too early as you will see.
But everything step by step. We arrived at the Burgas airport according to the schedule- around 3 o’clock am on the 19th of August. The luggage came fast. And after that the troubles started.
The TUI representative explained us that the 'Alba' hotel was full of people, but they would accommodate us in a better hotel. They wrote on the card 'Magic Life'. At first we thought nothing bad. The bus drove off.
The airport is situated on the north of Burgas and we have never passed through the city on the way to Sunny Beach. And suddenly we appeared in the center of the city. It gleamed vaguely in my mind that we didn’t go at all to Sunny Beach. And then a note in Internet: 'Magic Life'/ Dyuni came into my mind. I had read it somewhere. It was about a vocational campus next to Sozopol, and everything was included in the offer. Ok, but we didn’t want to go there. By the way there was nobody from the TUI. The girls at the reception had to deal on their own with the angry tourists. The receptionists were very nice and helpful. They did the entire job that had to be done by the TUI.
They installed us in the ‘Marina’ hotel. My opinion in brief: those who want to go on holidays with their families in such a campus where everything is included in the price will be in good hands in Dyuni. At least that was our impression after the sleepless night.
We didn’t go to bed because we wanted by all means to participate in the informational cocktail given for the new guests. And the situation became very serious during the cocktail and we came to our questions.
The representative of the TUI began to present the resort complex, as though nothing had happened. I lost patience when she pointed out that the whole staff of TUI would always help tourists by all means. 'And where were you last night when fires were burning?', I asked and went on, 'There are 20 people here who signed for Sunny Beach, not for Dyuni. Make it to drive us there!' I rarely raise my voice, especially when I’m talking to ladies, but this time I lost my temper.
And only now did she mention the special situation and she said that they would undertake our problem after the representation of the hotel. That’s the way the things should happen and we didn’t want to disturb anymore the people who had signed for Dyuni. And from now on almost always only nice things were happening. From TUI promised to remove us to Sunny Beach at 12 pm in a hotel equal to the ‘Alba’ hotel. We and other 15 people agreed immediately. There was only one thing we wanted - to be in Sunny Beach. By the way four people stayed in the campus without an additional payment.
The faces of the people in the bus cheered up considerably when we reached Sunny Beach from the north of Burgas. So we arrived in the 'Mercury' hotel- a five star hotel in the centre of Sunny Beach and near the 'Alba' hotel. Finally we were where we wanted to be. Moreover this hotel was very good. The details follow underneath.
The general opinion was that the TUI began to help us energetically after the first foul. We received 40 EUROS compensation and free participation in the so called activity- Night of TUI because of the lost half day. Later we understood that another family had acted cleverer than us and in the very moment had asked for the location of the 'Magic Life' hotel. The definitely refused to go there after they understood that it was in Duni.
While we were traveling for Dyuni, the family was already installed in the 'Mercury' hotel. So, why then the TUI had to drag us here and there? We could only make guesses. Probably the 'Magic Life' is a property of TUI and there were vacant beds. Or most likely it had to pay additionally for the 'Mercury' hotel.
We know the 'Carribi' bar from 2001 and 2003
Jenya as well
The 'Mercury' hotel
And now the description of the ‘Mercury’ hotel. I wanted to save myself the detailed description at first, because this hotel somehow or other cannot be signed in Germany. But I came upon an annihilating assessment in the address www.holidayscheck.de for the hotel, where they give it 1,2 stars. I have to retrain from not giving it 6 stars.
The 'Mercury' hotel is offered by the Scandinavian 'Apollo' tourist agency and that’s why most of the tourists are from the Scandinavian countries. Some Englishmen could be seen there as well. Germen like us go there when there is a doublicate in the booked hotel and the 'Mercury' hotel is a kind of reserved plan for accommodation. Despite that, almost all members of the staff were speaking German in a satisfactory way. Those who didn’t speak German were speaking good English. The 'Mercury' hotel is a wonderful hotel in the centre of Sunny Beach.
The offices, the reception, the restaurant of the hotel and the Lobby bar are placed on the first storey. The guests are accommodated on three floors. The hotel has two swimming pools - one for adults and one for children. The children’s swimming pool has a slide. There are lavatory and showers on the swimming pool area. The lounges and the umbrellas are free. There is also a supermarket, a fitness club, a chemist’s shop, an Internet club, a night bar and a beer-house. We really liked this beer-house. But the details about that - later on.
The rooms are furnished with massive furniture. There is a shower/ bath-tub, a phone (even in the bathroom), mini-bar, TV (the Germen programs should be tuned up), also a hair-dryer in the bathroom and a terrace as well.
It seems that the Scandinavians also like breakfast similar to ours. We were offered two kinds of small breads, four kinds of bread, croissants, buns, cakes, cornflakes, cereals, boiled or scrambled eggs, pancakes, three types of salads, six different types of cold cuts, four types of cheese, jam, yoghourt, fruits and even sausages. The drinks were coffee, tea, fruit juices and milk. It was impossible of course to satisfy those who were always complaining. And the dinner was plentiful as well, but I’ll safe myself the details.
The 'Mercury' hotel
Petya - a control in front of the restaurant
The restaurant’s staff
Milena -the manager of the restaurant
In this case the 'Mercury' hotel receives 6 stars from me. I had never seen such a service. The rooms were cleaned everyday; the towels were also changed daily. On the whole, the whole complex was scrubbed and polished to brilliance. In the restaurant we were served by five young men and girls who were wearing identical clothes. By the way the chambermaids were wearing uniforms as well. They were very kind and always with a smile on their lips. The empty plates were immediately taken away. The vacate tables were cleaned and were set in a minute. There were high chairs available to the little children. Probably almost everybody knows that Bulgarians love children a lot. The administrators were also wearing uniforms and were very kind and helpful. Everybody, with no exception, was friendly. So, up till now the story was a little bit dull, but the other part is more lively.
The four of us like meeting often in our favorite pub. That’s why we don’t want to be in private when we are in Bulgaria and we attach a big importance to the good with the local staff. So far, we have been very good at this. But this time it was just fantastic. As everybody knows, a person shouldn’t blow his trumpet, but my contribution to this was the biggest. The others also helped for this. I have been trying to learn Bulgarian since last November. The reaction of the Bulgarians to this was incredible.
They were frankly enthusiastic. Most probably I was the first tourist that knew not only several desultory words, but had learned the language systematically. The news spreaded around the hotel like wildfire. I said several words in Bulgarian in the lobby bar the first evening and the next morning the girl, who was controlling the entrance for the restaurant, asked me where I had learned Bulgarian. It didn’t matter where I was in the hotel-almost everybody addressed me in Bulgarian-how I was, how I slept and so on. In such a way we arrived at many interesting and fascinating conversations, that we led part of them in three languages- Bulgarian, German, and English.
We learned a lot about the staff. A lot of them were qualifying themselves additionally during the winter to have better chances when applying for a job. Some of them were working in the mountain resorts, others in a town. Petya is studying Politics and pays for her education with the money earned during the summer. Dani, who is working in the beer-house, is still at High School and is earning some additional money during the summer holidays. Of course, some of them are not working in winter.
I put in action my digital camera, encouraged from all these friendly acquaintances. Of course I didn’t start taking photos just like that, but I always asked before shooting whether they did mind. I was refused only once. Even one administrator started complaining that probably I had forgotten to take photos of her. I developed the photos and gave them as presents. I recorded them on a CD for myself and once again something surprising happened-everybody asked me how much they had to pay for the photos. Nobody could imagine how grateful they were. Was I really the first tourist with a digital camera giving photos?
Simeon and his wife are working in the Lobby bar.
The administrators Stanimira and Evgenya
We visited many other places, of course. We were in the 'Carribi' bar four times, once in the 'White House' which is just in front the entrance of the 'Mercury' hotel. We visited and the 'Sunny House' once. It is placed as you walk from the beach along the 'Kuban' hotel towards the main street - on the other side. We visited and the 'Chicken Schorsch' in its new place. But at the end we chose the 'Mercury' beer-house to be our 'main lodgings'.
You can reach the beer-house as you go straight from the main entrance and then turn right. It is furnished with massive wooden benches (naturally with backs) and tables. It is placed among ‘palms’, that is to say trees. Umbrellas are put to keep from the sun. Almost all sorts of drinks are offered and of course Kamentitza (or Zagorka it was?) Here except the guests of the hotel are coming Bulgarians, working near by, as well. This is mainly due to the prices of the drinks and the food, as well as the good Bulgarian kitchen that is offered. 300 ml lager costs 80 stotinki, for example. Many hors d’oevres and appetizers are offered in the menu besides the main courses. This fact really pleased us, because we were on a diet (from 3.1.2004 I lost 10 kilos from my weight)
But the real reason was that here we were feeling as if we were at home. This was due to the many mere nothings done by the kind waiter Donyo, the nice waitresses Dani, Mini and Snezha (true beauties), the bar-tender and everybody from the kitchen staff, the two elder women who were watching everything to be done properly and to be marked. All of them were very friendly, open-minded, warm-hearted and didn’t make any troubles. The knowledge of Bulgarian broke the ice. My friends also greeted in Bulgarian with 'Good day' and 'Good evening'. And it is not very complicated to order '‘three small beers' and 'three more small beers' in Bulgarian. We burst into laughter in the next situation: The two waitresses who were sitting on the official table said to us ‘'Good evening'. I spontaneously answered them ‘Good evening, beautiful ladies’. This wasn’t understood as some kind of desire, but in the way I thought about it - as a joke. Of course, I didn’t repeat this joke anymore.
I would like to explain our attitude especially towards the waitresses. They were between 18 and 20 years old and they were real beauties, which Bulgarian men know to estimate. I am the youngest in our group- I’m 50 years old, the others are above 60. It’s normal that we noticed the incredibly attractive appearance with benevolence- we are not dead, are we? We established real friendly, almost family contact. Dani was always carrying a Bulgarian-German dictionary of 45 000 words with her (my pocket dictionary has only 30 000). We discussed a lot of topics thanks to these dictionaries- our excursions for example. These were really nice weeks. We, all together, contributed to this with active participation. But the end was coming slowly.
Dani left first. The season ended for her. She said good-bye to us officially. After a while our turn came and we were really much exited. We were sitting more or less downcast in the beer-house on our last day and we were glancing at the front to see when they were going to take us from the hotel. Mini cheered me up with a smile. But at the end she was the one who almost got the tears in her eyes. Nobody cried, but we all felt a lump in our throats. Probably because we knew that it was most likely that we would not see each other again.
I could not exactly say what this excitement was due to. At the end everything was about friendship between guests and staff. But in a way it was something more. We were almost one family. Something that, most probably, won’t happen again. Dani wasn’t there. Donyo packed his suitcases. The season was ending. But I am convinced that we will meet again with kind Bulgarians next year.
the beer-house staff
Snezha, Toshko and the four of us
Dani and Mini
He should have worked a lot for us
The managers of the 'Mercury' hotel
These two ladies watched everything to be all right and all the orders to be marked.
And here I’m putting the end of my travel story. I would like to repeat once again that this is the most wonderful holiday that I have spent for 10 years now.
There are two more small events that I would like to mention before to forget:
1. Many Scandinavians were accommodated in the hotel. There was a young Swedish called Anders, among them. Obviously he was in the hotel on passing because he spent there just 3 or 4 days. He took care about his own nourishment and he has left an elk meat to be stored in the fridge of the Lobby bar. He treated au to it very generously. To eat an elk meat in Bulgaria during the night was something more different.
2.In the beer-house that I already described music was played as every where else. Because there weren’t many German tourists they didn’t have German music as well. Not that we missed it, but without saying a word about this the bar-tender decided himself to provide a CD with German music. A personal CD just because of the four of us. This gesture touched us very deeply showed once again what our attitude was towards the serving staff of the beer-house.