Camping in Alekovo – a much overdue update

It’s 1 month since we returned from our vacation and the last update on this website was back in March! The last two updates for April and May and the post about our travel were written this weekend but I backdated them (not a cheat!) to help keep them in order in the blog!  Between March and when we actually went to Bulgaria in May our lives and work here in the UAE were particularly hectic and so – as for so many people – much of our personal “stuff” got pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, and then we were actually travelling! So apologies to those who have written to me to complain! We have to say that Nigel and the lads had done a lot of work between March and our arrival, especially to ensure that we would be able to live (camp) in our house for the very first time.

We were determined on this trip to “live” in the house.  While possibly a bit mad we felt a real emotional need to stay in the house and spend most of our time in the village on this trip.  So Nigel and the lads had made the upstairs (family/guest) bathroom almost complete (except for the door and the shower panel) and one of the bedrooms had been finished and painted except for the new door.  The upstairs bedrooms are pretty spacious (about 3.5m x 4m) and Nigel had lent us his blow-up double mattress (we will buy a bed for our October visit!).

It worked out very well; most days we were exhausted come bedtime and sleeping was very easy.  The silence was quite overwhelming sometimes but especially at night (here where we live in Abu Dhabi there is always construction noise at night or somebody racing their posh car up and down the road at 3am and setting the dogs off, or children coming out to play at 11pm just after you have gone to bed!). One night our guardian dog Bobby (more about her coming in a later post) had a barking session when people were walking down the track next to the house very late – that lasted about an hour.  And another night we could hear the teenagers in the village square (about 600m up the road from the house) having a party or get together but that all went silent at 10pm – those were our only night-time disturbances!

Cooking Alfresco – or Cooking Alekovo!

This was one of the “funnest” parts of the holiday – we did our evening/main meal cooking either on the small BBQ that Nigel lent us or, on a brick fire we made when the BBQ fell apart 😦 and on just one evening when it was raining hard we used the petchka, the temporary wood burning stove that the lads have to help keep themselves (and the house) warm when they are working inside during the winter.  Our “kitchen” or preparation area and storage space was the upstairs landing area, which is quite spacious and close to the bathroom for water and washing up. On the day it was raining heavily we did our prep on Nigel’s blue work chest which was in the barn area, thankfully close to the office where the lads had installed the petchka.

The Big Thing

The biggest thing for us this holiday was simply absorbing everything around us on the property and in the village and especially with the people we have met.  The silence, the wildlife and birds, the pace of life in the village, the people in and around the village all had a profound impact on both of us.  A lot of it seems quite idealistic or naive even sometimes just too romantic to many (understandably) but the reality of it was quite amazing – and continues to impact us even though we are back in the UAE.

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