Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bansko and the modernization of Bulgaria

Last week I spent 3 days in Bansko, a mountain resort in Southern Bulgaria. I had been there 10 years ago and remembered a beautiful small quiet town with intelligent hard-working people. Now I liked it again, but had some mixed feelings. It was different.
First, it was possibly twice bigger than before. And the building of new hotels continues, the whole town is a big construction site. It is not quiet anymore, the traffic is similar to that in Sofia. It is good that the hotels are not ugly, so Bansko remains a beautiful place. It just is not quite my kind of place. It has specialized for skiing, there are shops for ski equipment everywhere, but you actually cannot have a good walk in the town.
British tourists like Bansko and some British even buy property there. I just wonder how they find it - we twice took the wrong direction because of lack of labels, and the existing labels are only in Bulgarian. Perhaps somebody takes the British from the airport and drives them right there.
What's wrong with me? I wanted this town to develop, so why do I have mixed feelings now it does? Am I against modernization, a fan of backwardness? Or, as I am getting old, I am resisting any change? The truth is that I had preparing for Bansko as I remembered it, but it is said long ago that one cannot enter the same river twice. So, dear British, go skiing there - I'll look for some place where time stands still.
UPDATE Oct. 15, 2007 - I know now that my impression from Bansko was too benigh. Check the post Browsing the Black List to see why.

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