8 Feb 2006 - Bansko, Bulgaria
I arrived in Bansko with the purpose of buying an apartment in this up and coming ski resort. Many agents appointments, lots of lies and much exploration of the area allowed me to eventually decide on my target but getting there was a lengthy process.
Like all property, location is king and in a ski resort the rules are: buy within 100m of the gondola, make sure it is high quality; ensure there are good facilities on site. So in the end that's what I did. There was plenty of cheaper property further away from the gondola but in the event of a downturn, these are exactly the types of properties that are going to suffer the most in value and rental potential.
As for getting out and about, the restaurants offered fantastic food at great prices and there were plenty of new sights such as the folk singers, boar heads and stuffed eagles on the wall. The world is a small place though. At my dinner table one night was another brit out here doing the same as me. It turned out we had a common friend from my university days so once the business was concluded I also had a drinking and skiing partner.
The last time I had skied was a year ago so it was good to get back on the skis again. Although I was a bit rusty I soon picked it back up and even took on the mighty Alberto Tomba black run. I also paid the price for doing this as I took a fall and carried on down about 40 meters on my stomach. Walking up such a steep slope to retrieve a ski is not fun. Two steps up, slide down one. But funny to watch I'm sure.
Bansko - Sveta Troitsa Church (Church of the Holy Trinity)
The Sveta Troitsa Church is surrounded by a stone wall 1m thick and 4m high. In the churchyard is Bansko's landmark - the 30m high clock tower, erected in 1850.
Bansko - Traditional narrow street in the old town
A nice snowy scene in the old town part of Bansko. In this part of the town, Taverns often line the road and in the evening there is a beautiful smell of wood fires and various meats being cooked.
Bansko - Buddha bar
One half of this place is a normal night club. But behind a curtain the atmosphere changes as a host of scantily clad women spin themselves around a pole or sit around on stools looking bored.
Bansko - Looking up the Alberto Tomba run
Now this is steep. Looking down is even worse. One of the first times I came down it I had a bit of a mishap and went over on my stomach, losing a ski. While the ski stayed put, I kept going meaning a hard slog back up the slope.
Two steps up and one step down, sweating and cursing, I eventually got my ski back. Funny all the same.