Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Camping Veliko Tarnovo

As you could have read in our previous post, our first campground in Bulgaria left somewhat to be desired. It is in our GPS with a big 'Do not ever go there again!' note attached to it. We were on our way to Bucharest, which meant one more stay along the way and found a campground in Veliko Tarnovo. Of course we had no idea what to expect but as it was only going to be a stop-over anyway, we weren't worried about it. Well, it became somewhat more than just a stopover!

Arriving at the campground we couldn't believe our eyes... the helmet comms were on but they were totally silent as we were both gobsmacked. This place looked great! With the campground hassles we had experienced the last days we were both a little apprehensive though. Surely we missed something... the place couldn't be this good could it?

Meeting much more experienced travellers from Australia, Helen and Chris (aka Wally) in Bulgaria, wonderful people!

I walked into the reception and was welcomed by Danitza, a young Bulgarian lady who welcomed me in perfect English, and told me everything I needed to know before I even asked. Switched-on wasn't even the word. As we were to find out later Danitza is studying computer science at Veliko Tarnovo University and has been working at the campground for four seasons. She is very customer focussed. We could pitch the tent wherever we liked, she gave us a caravan lead so we could charge the laptop! The toilet and shower building is 5 star hotel style, there is a fully equipped campers' kitchen, drinking water at each site and the sites are roomy enough for motorhomes with awning and the lot. They also cater for groups. There is free wifi (and good quality too), friendly prices and even a small restaurant on site... could we ask for anything more? Yes we could! A perfectly level spot for a tent, which we found too!

Happy as... well, Wally!
As it turned out the owners, Nick and Nicky, are expat Britons and have built this place from scratch. They bought the plot, built the house and the campground and did it all in a time when camping was still in it's infancy in Bulgaria. Not only did they do a great job, they are also lovely people. When is the last time a campground owner welcomed you with open arms while arriving as a somewhat scruffy looking motorcyclist? Well here they do as they are motorcyclists too! Nicky even came to warn us about a possible thunderstorm, asking if we had closed our tents...! The thunderstorm didn't bring much rain but it showed how much they care.

There were two more surprises in store for us... on the campground we heard proper English again when we met a very friendly Australian couple, Helen and Chris. We had a great evening together and as we had decided to stay an extra day, they invited us to join them for Wally's birthday! Nicky, secretly made them a birthday cake, which was a big surprise for both of them!
So guess what happened next? Well, not only had we already decided to stay an extra day, we will also be back here after our visit to Romania. As we hadn't planned to stay an extra day we were running low on food. No problem though as they can organise fresh bread rolls in the morning and do a very good hamburger which is more than a complete meal. Camping Veliko Tarnovo is a place to remember, put it in your GPS and if it already is (as it is listed on the garmin openstreetmap) then make a note that it is a good one. They can be found on N43.06694° E25.75356° and their website is: http://www.campingvelikotarnovo.com/en/ We used photos kindly given to us by Nick and Nicky as we had enjoyed ourselves so much that we completely forgot to make any ourselves...