Varna. Day 3

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Another beautiful morning just by the Black Sea with some seagulls making appearance again right behind our window! I wouldn’t mind having them with me so much more in my life! It looked as a perfect day for swimming! At last! I wanted to think of it as a part of some celestial conspiracy that I hadn’t been able to give the sea all of my attention during the first two days because if I had, I’m not sure that the previous days would have happened as they turned out to. Yes, there is not enough sea in my life for sure! We all have that one thing we want more of in our daily lives. Deep down we are not entirely sure whether actually having it would benefit our lives as much as we think it would but the thought of wanting to having it is sublime in itself! It was time to grab my swimming suit and live, forget about all body confidence issues and everything – the sea will take me as I am!

Another breakfast that consisted of totally the same food accompanied by more people-watching. It was so nice to watch people on their way through the sea garden down to the sea. A holiday vibe is so contagious and happiness seems so easy to reach – just grab your swimming suit, sun protection and umbrella and go to the sea – you are set to enjoy life! We’d better be done with the breakfast! Ok, now we are on our way as well! This is what we originally had come here for! The sea! It’s there glistening in the lazy sunlight! It all seems so elaborate first – walking to the beach, finding a nice place to get settled there, changing into your swimming suit… It’s all until you feel your feet stepping on the hot sand and then… you feel the sea against your skin. There’s something so intimate and sensual about this, as if going back somewhere you belong or finally reaching this place where your feeling of happiness is secure… It’s a funny thing that I can’t swim so yes, I have to be on alert and that somehow keeps me from making the most of my time with the sea and I can’t let it take control. I do this funny thing I do, which is to lick my skin to make sure the water is really salty. Yes, it certainly is! Isn’t that something I was yearning to do as I was struggling to get through what is just a typical day of my life… Now I had my prize! I’m here in the Black Sea in Bulgaria! Who would have thought it would happen!

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Of course as you are in the sea doing whatever you feel comfortable doing, you can’t help noticing the people around you because we are all sharing the same happiness of being here! It’s interesting to watch them experiencing this happiness in different ways. Just lounging in the sun doing quite nothing embracing your laziness but feeling so quintessentially alive! Luckily, there were almost no Russian people there (we can spot each other especially when it’s another lady sizing you up – a very Russian and annoying thing to do). I can alternate  being in the sea, pensively sitting by it, listening to it, looking at it fascinated by how it has this power to draw us all – to where we belong, to where we want to be.

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Someone who thinks of the sea as of just a place to cool off on a sultry summer day is going to hate me for all of my sappy sentiments. Yes, seeing life through my lenses might seem like that and trust me, it’s not always easy for me either… Now Varna was all about the sea and what was outside it didn’t matter so much. We felt like recharging a few hours later because there is this kind of vague fatigue that being at the sea gives you. Maybe we should take happiness slowly. It was so liberating and a bit cheeky to be walking back through the Sea Garden feeling the wetness of my swimming costume against my skin that felt as if there was a bomb of molecules of sultry warmth that was waiting to go off and leave me with a feeling of being pleased. Not even caring to zip my shoes completely and hearing its laces hitting the ground as I walk…

We were back and everything was still there – the Festival and Congress Hall on the right, Одесос Hotel (reminding me of the Ukrainian seaside city of Odessa that shared some of its past with Varna) on the left. It wasn’t too posh or chic but it was fine – such a great way to feel about life, it’s just there at this moment being lived and enjoyed! We went back to the hotel to regain the sense of a more ordinary life and I was stunned when I saw myself in the mirror with this sultry suntan the afternoon at the seaside had given me! I had no regrets at all and the impact it might have on my skin was the last thing on my mind!Sometimes in life you just have to let go of whatever you feel keeps you in control…

What followed was a lovely late lunch at this same place where we had it on our first day here. This turned out to be a Spanish restaurant called Bodega. Why would I ever have thought it was Greek… Anyway, I was sitting there sipping on my amazing Spannish wine making travelling plans for the future. There is this zest for life that travellling gives you…  Here comes my paella – so delicious! And for my sister something she calls the best fish she’d ever tried! Big cheers to Bulgaria, Spain, Greece and wherever we were hoping to have our zest for life fuelled again… It might have not been a typical Bulgarian experience because that got me thinking that in this battle for which comes closer to a more civilized lifestyle, Bulgaria was the unanimous winner for me that afternoon. Then I heard a group of girls having a conversation in English. None of them seemed to speak it as their native language but the things they said were so emotionally charged and mature… I was thinking of my students back home and where our education is going… You never know where these thoughts are going to hit you but that’s when you start having your life in perspective in a way you can’t back home. I also felt jealous of these girls – they are sitting here in this country, which doesn’t seem home to any of them, having their lives ahead of them, travelling the world and connecting through the bridge English had built for them…

We walked around the central squire a bit more and ended up spending the evening doing a bit more swimming and then watching the sea as it started feeling a bit too cold (it has a more sensual edge when it does and you want every little minute with it). We couldn’t help heading to the same Sea Terrace restaurant for a late-evening dinner. This fish and wine… We must have had too much of the latter or it was just a part of some other conspiracy, but we ended up getting a bit lost on our way out of the sea garden that was again bustling with life staying true to its upbeat nature… We took one wrong turn and ended up somewhere that didn’t seem like anything we’d seen. The winding paths in the park… Again and again – was it that big? What I saw further ahead of me was not the coloured Asparuhov Bridge that I wanted to see but the dome of what looked like a stadium. My sister’s reaction to the Pantheon Monument commemorating the fascism victims as she was spitting the curses at me blaming me for us getting here was priceless. It was something like “Look, so what the hell is that?” Now I can laugh about it but at the time I felt a mixture of confusion and guilt (to the monument). I wasn’t really alarmed, I knew we had to keep walking to the left and that seemed like the only way back out of here. The park was almost deserted and those few people we asked weren’t really able to help. I wasn’t alarmed by that either (just a tiny bit probably) and kept walking listening to the mighty Russian swear words. I was even fine if we had to stay out here till the sun went up but I doubted we would. After what seemed an eternity of walking through a dimly lit part of the park, we found ourselves in what looked like the part of Boris I Boulevard we hadn’t visited yet. Now we were fine but why are curses still on for me? Well, whatever. It’s funny that the waiters of the restaurants lining up the street weren’t able to tell us exactly how far we were from Slivnitsa Street… As I saw the huge building of Cherno More Hotel, I knew we were there. My sister was feeling all anxious as if she had just escaped death… Am I going to be like this as well in a few years? All the things she says to me at times like those always leave me feeling frustrated but I know I would soon get on top of them somehow. For me, it was an experience and I knew I would be writing about it and I am! The stray dog (but microchipped as all of the dogs in the area were) was a source of solace and comfort for my sister that night as she was hugging it so tightly that the elderly man that we saw hanging out here previously playing a harmonica was standing there struck at the level of connection they both had! His posture was just priceless! Am I still too young to understand all of that… Anyway, I just had to let all those feeling sink in and go to bed wait till we would laugh about it tomorrow. The sea is still there!

Author: Olga

An English teacher and translator, a keen traveller

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