It was late at night when I arrived in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort town of Sunny Beach. On a travel assignment – to determine if this ex-Soviet Bloc’s most popular holiday destination could ever rival the Brits’ more favoured destinations of Spain, Greece and Italy – I took in a whirlwind tour of Sunny Beach and its beautiful countryside, where hills of lavender and wild poppy were strewn with donkeys and the occasional shack.
A chilly wind blew all day and all night across the choppy sea from Russia, which exported not only its microclimate but some of its teens, too, hungry for a drunken night out in an accommodating town. Trance DJs on 24-hr call, Irish pubs and tiki bars lined the Sunny Beach waterfront and publicized Bulgaria as a hot new ticket for Europeans – notably Brits and Germans – and it seemed to be working. By night, ravers lined up outside clubs, jumped on giant trampolines and played miniature golf; by day, they staved off their hangovers with free cocktails at the package resort hotel pools.
For the more authentic Bulgarian experience, however, I hit the open road and explored seaside towns like Nesebar and mountain nests like Bata, Goritsa, Sini Rid and Pripek. All shots taken with my Leica.