From Plovdiv I caught my bus and train connections toward Burgas and then Varna. At 2:14 am I was sleeping happily, stuffed under arm rests in my train car when my sleepy world was thrust into awareness.

A young Bulgarian girl maybe 21 or 22, knocked and then opened my cabin door. Noting that the other side of the cabin was completely empty she motioned me to sit up so she could sit on my half of the seats… thus disallowing my slumber. After nodding understanding and expressing that there was no way in hell I was moving when less than three feet away there was a bank of clean open seats she finally gave my foot a nudge and sat across from me flashing a big happy smile.

She then proceeded to lay down on her half of the cabin and curl up to take no more than a seat in a half. She was tiny. Serenity restored, I stuffed myself back into the seats and headed to sleep. We woke at 5:25 am and disembarked in Varna. I made my way through the sunrise of the sleepy beach city noting the flow of sobering beach goers stumbling back towards home or the next open bar. I made it to the hostel, dropped my gear and headed in.

Flag hostel was a shock, and a surprise. I was greeted at 5:43 am with a bottle of Vodka and a Vodka bong. The customary shot completed I was offered a couch until the others awoke. I slept out in the common room until 10:15ish before the first hostelers woke and gathered their belongings. I claimed a bed, dropped my gear, grabbed my shorts and headed to the beach.

I spent 5 hours on the beach and another 2 swimming before calling it a day, grabbing some beach food and heading back to the hostel. Hot, sunburnt, but happy (the beaches and beach goers were beautiful) I returned to the hostel for dinner… Vodka…and sleep. I woke early the next morning and left Varna for Shumen to meet up with a friend of Alex’s and her husband for a private guided tour of the central eastern part of Bulgaria.