We’ve been on a 10-day trip to Bulgaria, specifically the touristy Golden Sands area that is a bit nord of Varna.
Our hotel, the Riu Viva (***) was actually a very good hotel, although they’ve had a bit of a problem with the water supply (that was fixed) and their children’s playground consisted of one (1) slide.
Luckely it was set a bit back from the beach and adjoining ‘strip’ so we could get some relative quiet. We also had to get down 86 steps every time we went to the beach (including carrying the stroller down), but hey, you build muscle that way. No honest, the rooms were spacious, the weather was fine, we had airco in our room (extra, though) and the food was good. What more do you want ?
While the ‘strip’ there is very cosmopolitan, with typical nightlife so that you can believe you are in Tenerife or Majorca or anywhere else where a lot of European tourists come, there is one thing here that you as yet (mostly) don’t find in those other places : the ‘Flyer’ girls who try to attract tourists to come to this bar or that restaurant usually speak to you in English or German, but you could also get the Russki? question.
That’s right, the Russians come here on vacation as well (after all, Bulgaria is closer than Tenerife). There were several families in our hotel, and I am fairly certain that there were hotels that had more Russians that European tourists.
Most of the family Russians (to be honest, some could also be Bulgarian or other East-European people) seem to be very beefy to rotund guys who are almost always accompagnied by slender model-lookalike wifes and one or two children. Very glitzy.
The younger Russians proclaim their nationality loudly using a variety of combat pants and T-shirts with ‘Russia’ printed on them. Some seem more American than Americans themselves (ever see several 12-year olds clad only in his swimming trunks and a very heavy ‘silver’ chain around their necks ?).
Please don’t understand this wrongly – I write about this because this is what made the vacation different for me than, say, our vacation in Portugal, not because they misbehaved (not any more than any other tourist) or because I dislike them (I do not). And it made me realise that this is something we rich West-Europeans have taken too long for granted : it was always us rich German/English/Belgian/French/Dutch/RichEuropeanCountry that went on vacation in Europe. Sure, the Americans and Japanese come visiting Bruges or Paris, but they are/were richer than us, right ?
Until a few years ago, you wouldn’t see any Poles or Russians or Bulgarians or Portugese people take vacations in Belgium, heck, they were coming to our country to get some of that capitalist money by doing the low-paid jobs nobody else wanted. But now all this is changing. As the ‘poorer’ countries either get into the European union or move up in status (Russia is growing enormously), the vacation languages will change.
Perhaps, finally, instead of the ubiquitous German in hotels, we’ll be met with with the question : Russki ?
Update : I talked this over with some friends, and they confirm that the Russki have already reached Kreta !