In 2008, during the trip to Bulgaria, we were driving on the coast near Balchik, when we saw a sign for a small village on a narrow road leading to the heart of a forest on the seafront.
As we were intrigued, we decided to go there, disappearing into the pleasant shady wood. Once arrived, we saw a few cars parked in a clearing, and then we parked as well. As we got out of the car, we saw a man at the entrance of the tiny village shooting on cans with an air rifle with a few friends. The narrow path they were standing on was the only access. We had no other choice than passing close to them.
As he saw us approaching, the man with the rifle started facing us, holding his weapon close to him, the barrel headed skyward, looking askance at us with his friends. As we were walking on, slightly ruined buildings appeared behind the trees, including a school on one side, the City Hall on the other.
We had the impression of finding ourselves in a disreputable community, isolated from the rest of civilization, such as the unfortunate heroes from "The Texas chainsaw massacre", "Hostel" or "Wrong turn".
Of course, all this is just our frenzied imagination. The attitude of these people was rather some kind of game to intimidate us. During our travel, the Bulgarian people were friendly and welcoming, one of the reasons why it was one of our best trips.
The day of our departure to Bulgaria, we were supposed to take the flight Bordeaux-Varna. However, it was cancelled a few days before because it would have been taken by... two people!... DOM and J.R.!.. Indeed, we were the only ones to have booked on this flight.
As a result, we had to pass through Lyons. Two hours of waiting time for the outward journey... five hours for the return!... A real torture! The more as we had to reach the Varna airport previously at 5 A.M. for a departure at 7 A.M.
Instead of going to sleep and getting up early, we decided to party all night and take the plane just after having a good shower in the hotel.
Moreover, we were afraid we could not take it, because as we were at the check-in desk, a French activity leader from the Agency "Plein Vent" came to us, explaining in an almost inquisitive tone that we could not take this plane if we were not on his list.
We were speechless. First, what business is it of his? Since when a flunkey from a French travel agency lays down the law in the airport of Varna in Bulgaria? How to make this nice man understand that he was merely a puppet wearing a ridiculous red polo shirt and a ridiculous cap both stamped with the logo of a travel agency that was moderately known even in his own country, and that it was certainly not up to him to decide who rode or not in an plane?
As it was mission impossible, we just told him that we didn't travel with "Plein Vent" but with another agency. It seemed he didn't want to understand, but fortunately we were on his list. For what obscure reason, we will never know. But no matter...
We reached Lyons on time, but we were obviously very tired. So, we couldn't resist as we saw deckchairs on platforms for the promotion of future flights from Lyons to New York. We slumped in them near a pasteboard Statue of Liberty in order to recover some of the lost hours of sleep while waiting for the connection.
Anecdotally, our travel agency upgraded us to a 4 stars hotel as a goodwill gesture further to the cancellation of the Bordeaux-Varna flight. It was the Golden Beach in Zlatni Piassatsi, beautiful hotel where we spent an unforgettable stay, and where we sympathized with activity leaders and travelers, some with whom we kept in touch. It was fate...
Published on December 1st 2012