When we were in the UK Galia's favourite beer was John Smiths. Made in Tadcaster and comes in a green can, there is more reason than you think to why it is here favourite beer in the UK. If you know Bulgarian mentality then you will know it is because it is one of thee cheapest beers off the supermarket shelf. Also the cheapest usually in pubs, not that we went to pubs when we were in the UK due to cost.
So we are back in Bulgaria and have been for the last 18 months and we had searched high and low for John Smiths beer locally with no success. We did however discover that there was a place in Sunny Beach called the John Smiths Pub which obviously serves this beer on site. It was meade a mental note of and I planned when we ventured near Sunny Beach we would buy some John Smiths cans and take back to Yambol as a treat for Galia.
It came to pass that we took a 6 day break in Pomorie on the Black Sea Coast some 20 Km from Sunny Beach. On this trip I took my bicycle as I planned to ride in the mornings before we did Black Sea things such as cover ourselves with the therapeutic black mud as such. Unbeknown to Galia I planned a bike ride to Sunny Beach to visit the John Smiths Pub load up my panniers with four cans and return as surprise for her.
The morning arrived as I checked the bike for roadworthiness as always before embarking on such trips. Sporting just a vest, shorts and sandals the trip began. Checking on Google for a route that avoids main roads, there wasn't one! The only route was on the major A road that runs up and down the coast. not too happy about that but I was on a mission to please.
Needless to say the route was hell speeding vehicles that left me wobbling in their wake on hundreds of occasions. Not their fault I might add as this was a dual carriageway designed for speed not for cyclists more the shame. I do wonder whether provisions should be made for cyclists on main routes, but in view of the number of cyclists who would use these provisions wouldn't make sense for many reasons I won't go into details right now, but catering for the odd English eccentric is one of those reasons in Bulgaria.
Arriving at Sunny Beach couldn't come too soon as I stopped at the concrete jungle amidst holiday makers wandering around as if they are lost. I found that I arrived at the wrong end of Sunny Beach and the John Smith's Pub was actually nearer to Nessebar than Sunny Beach. It was another 3 kilometers before the location was found. I really don't know what the attraction is at Sunny Beach from my perspective, it is a dive with no atmosphere or for that matter Bulgarian culture. It would suit many who just want a beach, hotel and loud surrounds nothing wrong with that, but it isn't Bulgaria!
I found the John Smith's Pub and parked my bike up and walked in. there were English families there seated and being served by an English speaking waiter. I waited patiently at the bar for some attention which arrived after a few minutes. Speaking English to a Bulgarian doesn't come naturally after so long under the Bulgarian tongue but I endeared asking for two cans of John Smith's Beer to takeaway. They arrived on the bar ice cold and I asked how much they wanted. 14 leva was the price, 7 leva for each 500 ml can. I couldn't believe it! I as willing to pay over the odds as it was a tourist place, but 7 leva for one can!? I only had 10 leva on me and apologised for this and purchased only one can. I was buggered if I was to come all this way and go back to Galia with nothing, (although she wouldn't mind considering the price!)
It immediate decision never to come to this place again as I thanked the staff and bid them farewell and they totally ignored my compliments and farewell. I could see they were only interested in the foolishness of other English paying stupid money for English exported goods in a place that might as well be England! Looking at the menus as I left it was all English breakfasts and roast meals all at ridiculous prices. I won't comment any more on this as I have my own opinions on this that differ and upset others from the UK.
Back on the bike with relief and my return journey to Pomorie. As I arrived to Nessebar after just 2 kilometres I knew I had to face that A road again as I swore never to ride this route again. It was a faster pace back with a slight tailwind and it wasn't too long before I arrived back at the hotel with a can of John Smith's beer for Galia.
Was it worth it? Well just for the experience of cycling along the Black Sea Coast, seegin Sunny Beach and then deciding never to do this again yes. Also, Galia got her favourite beer and I felt a bit like the man on the old advert get a box of Black Magic chocolates for his woman whilst risking his life with the endeavours.
And finally to add to the act. We visited the big cash and carry store Metro on the way back home to Yambol and found John Smiths on sale there for 2 leva per can. Never knew it was being sold there as on previous visits we never saw it there. So, 7 leva for one can in Sunny Beach can go begging now with this new source known. Galia of course was the happiest in this event and me happy with that.
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