Posts Tagged ‘Nessebar’
Varna is long established as both a port city and a tourist location, yet it fails to offer a single boat journey aimed at visitors.
The easy alternative is FastFerry’s hydrofoil service which connects Varna with the historic towns of Nessebar and Sozopol. It offers four departures from each location per day, taking 90 minutes from Varna to Nessebar at a cost of 90 leva (almost £40) return.
The current schedule allows visitors approximately four hours in the Old Town, allowing for enough time for seeing the local ruins, lounging on the beach and grabbing some lunch (and a beer, obviously).
The Fastferry.bg office is a small portacabin facing the main maritime building and is located halfway between the south end of the city beach and the lighthouse. I’d recommend booking in advance: buying tickets on the day is a slow process and on both of our visits (the first day’s trip was cancelled due to poor weather) the office was unattended until departure time was imminent.
And here’s where the journey became a little more surreal. After the slow process of taking our names and selecting our seats, we were guided down the harbour to the hydrofoil by the admittedly very friendly stewardess.
“So…” she began tentatively. “On the outward journey, you’re the only passengers.”
“Is it normally busy?”
“Oh yes,” she declared enthusiastically. The subsequent pause suggested that this statement wasn’t entirely true. “Well, yesterday was cancelled due to bad weather. And we’ve only been going for two weeks so people are still finding out about us.”
So a service aimed at tourists has been opened halfway through peak season? It’s not great planning.
On board we’re treated to the bizarre sight of empty seats; lots of empty seats. For aside from the two of us, the stewardess and occasional visits from other staff members, the remaining hundred or so seats are entirely empty. And that’s exactly how the scene remains until we arrive punctually in Nessebar.
The journey itself is pleasant if not exactly relaxing. After edging out of the point, the hydrofoil leans back like a plane preparing for take-off and bombs southwards down the Black Sea coast.
Unless you’re particularly sensitive to turbulence or seasickness it’s a relatively smooth ride, albeit one that’s sporadically noisy and seemingly almost as warm as the temperature outside. An Eric Clapton compilation counters the engine noise, although the volume ranges from a whimper to a blast depending on which staff member happens to be passing the dial.
The hydrofoil docks in the altogether more intimate port in Nessebar’s Old Town – the town is small enough that you’re never much more than a ten minute walk away and you can’t fail to find it.
The return journey offers almost the exact same experience. The staff are again lovely, the arrival precise almost to the minute and the music rather unnecessary. Indeed, all nine mind-numbing minutes of Guns n’ Roses’ November Rain combined with the quickly declining novelty of the trip make it drag a little. But the atmosphere has improved since morning courtesy of what could well be a record-breaking 600% boost in passenger numbers – yes, there were twelve of us.