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Tagged with "camping"
Friday 1st September, 2017
Category: 2017/09
Tags: camping Irakli Beach

It was holiday time this week as I headed off to the coast for three days camping with some friends.

The plan was to drive across to a place called Irakli Beach which is just south of the town of Obzor (between Varna and Burgas). Apparently it is one of the few places left where people can freely camp right on the beach, which sounded idyllic to me.

One of the things about camping is the extraordinary amount of stuff you need to take, but luckily the person driving us had a big car. Even so it was absolutely packed out as we headed off early Monday morning.

We stopped off in Obzor to do some food shopping and have a spot of lunch and then it was back in the car to head to our beach. You get there via a rough track from the main road, which splits in several places, one part of which takes you down to a big carpark next to an official campsite. We turned off a bit before this though so that we could park up in the forest bordering the beach, as close as possible to where we could camp.

There was an amazing number of people already camped out; some on the beach but many more in the forest itself, and by the looks of them some had been there all summer as they had converted little clearings into their home spaces with shelves across tree branches and even a big solar panel propped to one side.

From the forest there are lots of small tracks leading down onto the beach, so, laden up with our stuff, we made our way across the sand to set up camp (it actually took two trips to get all our things there!)

Here we are all set up - that's me in the camouflage tent in the middle!

The beach is beautiful; a huge long curve of soft sand fringed by forest, with a couple of restaurants up near the proper campsite area where there are also areas set out with umbrellas and sunbeds. Unfortunately, as with so much of Bulgaria, there is little sense of taking your rubbish home with you, and as you walk into the forest trails they are literally littered with the usual plastic bottles and phenomenal quantities of loo roll. It was quite shocking actually. You pass the first couple of trees and then see that you're about to walk through what looks like an open toilet, and you just stand still in disbelief and think 'oh my God'. It is such a huge pity as this is the one blot on what is otherwise an absolutely fantastic location.

As soon as we'd got our tents pitched it was time for a cup of tea, then on with the cossy and into the sea.

It was brilliant! It's been about 6 years at least since I swam in the proper sea (the Thames Estuary doesn't count!) and I couldn't take the grin off my face as I jumped about dodging the quite big rollers that were coming in. The water was so lovely and warm, and after a few stones near shore it was all sandy.

As the afternoon wore on we went and collected some firewood which turned out to be really difficult as every single camper already seemed to have scavenged every available twig, but we found some bits and pieces as well as pinching a couple of bigger logs from another firepit (there was no sign of campers or vehicles so we concluded they'd gone home already).

We had a couple of little barbecue trays to cook our food on, but once we'd lit the fire it was easier just to stick the frying pan on it and cook the remaining food there. After dinner it was pudding time - smores made by sandwiching toasted marshmallows between chocolate digestive biscuits.

I must admit I hardly slept that night, either due to the sounds of voices from nearby campers or the noise of the wind flapping the sides of the tent, and was glad as it turned light and I could see the new day.

Uh oh! The sky was decidely grey, and whilst we cooked a breakfast of sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes, the rain began to fall ever more steadily. We retreated into our tents where I spotted the first drips coming in at the seams. Luckily I'd bought a section of plastic sheeting with me so dashed out in the rain and draped it over my tent. This protected it a lot though some water still came in lower down where the plastic didn't reach (this was mopped up and squeezed out using yesterday's knickers!)

We made our way across to the restaurant to get a hot drink and decide on what to do. One of the other tents was leaking really badly and would have been impossible to stay in if the rain continued to fall, so it was decided that we had no choice but to pack up and head home.

We got completely and utterly drenched as we towed everything back to the car, two of us even falling over in the mud on the way! Then it was a crazy ride along the now muddy track as the car slipped and slid from side to side until we reached the tarmac. As soon as we found a garage we pulled in so we could change out of our saturated clothes into something dry, and then it was back to Gostilitsa.

I spent much of Wednesday shaking sand out of things and washing stuff, as well as investigating my leaky tent. It turns out that the groundsheet has been attached to the main body of the tent the wrong way, so any water running down the side of the tent gets caught in a little gully and then runs straight inside, but a bit of Googling had me making a mix of silicone and paint thinner which I've painted along any seams on the tent, and this seams to be sealing it properly.

So, I'll be much more ready for our next visit to Irakli. I can't wait!

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