On Friday morning, we were all ready to continue the journey to Nessebar, the location of our dance festival. A spacious bus pulled up and we loaded in for the 429 km ride from Sofia to the east coast of Bulgaria.
The trip was nearly seven hours long including a one hour lunch break … although the traffic on our way out of Sofia likely added at least 45 minutes to our trip. No one seemed too bothered though as our drive included an array of singing, games, sleep, and chatting. Many of the girls (and actually some of the guys … who I’m sure would rather remain unnamed) were excited to sing along to some ABBA. My personal favorite bus pastime however was a mildly competitive game of “Catch Phrase” … an electronic game involving getting your team to guess a certain word or phrase. In any case, the final leg of traveling to our destination seemed much shorter than it was. Even our lunch at a gas station restaurant was quick and surprisingly delicious – far surpassing my expectations based on previous experience with gas station nourishment.
When we arrived in Nessebar, we proceeded to get settled in our rooms and start setting up for our 10 nights in the ‘Marieta Palace’ hotel. We had our first hotel meal and dinner was filling, including lots of variety. As our first performance was to be the following day, everyone opted for a lower key evening … wandering around nearby shops, stopping for gelato, or walking to the beach. We were all excited to catch up with the six members of our group that traveled a couple days early. They were already sporting impressive tans for the amount of time they’d been away from the Edmonton rain!
Mykola, Andrea, and myself met with one of the festival organizers to discuss our performance schedule for the rest of the trip and ensure that everyone was on the same page. We were excited to hear about the diverse selection of folk dance and music ensembles that would attend the “Eurofolk Festival.” The festival coordinator was very willing to ensure that we had an appropriate space for rehearsal and he drove us to the Nessebar amphitheatre to check out the stage that would be the setting of four of our six performances. Our whole group met up at the end of the night to plan the next day of preparation for our first performance of the trip!