Bulgaria B&B guest house

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Responsible tourism: Bulgaria B&B guest house

Environment

We care as much about the environment as you do and your holiday here can make a real difference to the local people. We pay attention to the environment by recycling and composting our waste and encourage our neighbours through education to do the same. Any food waste is fed to the dogs, cats or chickens. Paper and cardboard are burnt, which leaves plastic, tin and glass which is put out for recycling.

We encourage energy and water conservation, using energy saving bulbs and water buts to collect rainwater. Our garden well is used to irrigate the land rather than mains water.. We aim to have solar panels fitted in the future which will reduce our electricity consumption. We have an outdoor solar shower, double glazing, a wood burning stove and a septic tank for waste. Our organic vegetable and herb garden is untouched by sprays or pesticides and animal manure is donated from our neighbours as well as from our chickens, which keeps the land nice and fertile. We source other food locally as much as possible and always support our community first.

We are proud to have recycled as many building materials as possible in our house renovations and landscaping our gardens. We aim to help restore and preserve the historic architectural harmony of the village and its environment. Our guest house is part of the village and guests become neighbours to the villagers for the length of their stay. Local guides can show our guests the unspoilt nature and lifestyle of the area. This contributes to our efforts in encouraging the villagers to understand why it is so important to preserve it and that they can earn money from tourism. The small scale of this guesthouse is also beneficial to the promotion of sustainable tourism.

Renovation has been carried out with original, hand-made and locally produced building material and by local craftsmen. Our buildings are in perfect harmony with the architectural and environmental surroundings.

Community

Ever since our first visit to the village and making friends, we realised how poor the vast majority of villagers are and we have always done as much as we can to help them. We always recommend good local crafts people and workers to friends and help interpret for them. Our double glazing and wooden doors were made in the village and most of our building materials are sourced from a supplier in the next village. There is a quarry on the outskirts of the village for our sand and stone is also mined locally.

We speak almost fluent Bulgarian, communicate well with the local people and have a great knowledge of our area and know where to source items locally. We recommend local restaurants and prefer to buy foodstuffs like vegetables, fruit, honey and preserves from our neighbours and avoid the big shops wherever possible. Our village shop provides most day to day items and fresh bread.

We have organised collections to buy toys and stationery for the kindergarten at Christmas on consecutive years and we always pass our good quality English clothing onto the villagers, especially the children. It is a good feeling to see items our two boys have worn being worn by different village children over the years. I also ask our guests to bring any unwanted items for the villagers, if they have spare space in their luggage.

Jo is on the committee for a local women's charity. “The friends of Rossen” which aims to enrich the lives of women with learning disabilities. They live in an independent house in a neighbouring village and Jo joins them for and supports weekly yoga sessions, which gives them something to look forward to. The committee is involved in fundraising projects, then the prioritisation of funding in order of importance to their daily lives. At present, we are using donations for clothing and toiletrees, education and fuel costs to transport the women for days out etc.

Reviews of Bulgaria B&B guest house

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The lovely breakfasts with homemade cereals and fresh fruit (some of it from the garden), the peaceful garden & swimming pool and the very warm welcome from Jo and her family.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring your walking shoes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


By shopping locally it benefitted the local people. The guesthouse has solar panels and recycled waste.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, peaceful place to stay.

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Knowing that having spent time travelling about to be able to return and relax at
the B&B's wonderful calming space. The owners, Jo & Mark have created a lovely
space with a fantastic pool in a beautiful garden. The B&B was a very homely
experience with great rooms with a balcony and spacious facilities. Jo & Mark
were always on hand with lots of support and local knowledge, which was very
valuable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make the most of the B&B's local knowledge

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The major benefit was using the information supplied by Jo & Mark, so we ate in
local restaurants and did our shopping in the nearby town.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Our accommodation was brilliant and we really enjoyed our stay.

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Bulgaria. The scenery was very green considering the long hot summers. The operator lived up to my expectations. The owners Jo and Mark gave me a warm welcome and were helpful with any queries I had regarding places to visit and dining out etcetera.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I travelled from Manchester to Varna with Balkan Air which suited me but the travel times are restricted from May until the end of September. I understand that there are other airlines which go from Luton and Gatwick which would serve other passengers from the south of England.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. I took part in two sessions of yoga classes with the local villagers invited by Jo which I thoroughly enjoyed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent value for money. Food was very good, plenty of choice and superbly cooked. Overall a completely relaxing holiday.

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There are many happy memories from our holiday; starting each day with breakfast by the pool is a particularly fond one, as is the delicious BBQ that we were greeted with on arrival. Discovering the area and learning about Bulgaria was fascinating. The abundance of lovely fresh fruit was remarkable. The most exciting part was a white-knuckle ride around the pot-holed country lanes!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The Lonely Planet guide was invaluable; as well as lots of info on places to visit it contains most of the useful phrases required to get by. A phrase book would be a worthwhile investment too though. Rent a car. The national agencies were cheaper than the big worldwide ones and the service was good. The place day out we had was the botanical gardens at Baclchik.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Jo and Mark helped us support local people by directing us to small local businesses for shopping and services. Also, following Jo's suggestion, we packed some old children's clothes in our suitcase to be passed on to local kids.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was a really excellent holiday and the accommodation was a big part of the reason we enjoyed it so much. The weather, food, beaches etc were all fantastic but the personal touch and excellent hospitality offered by Jo and her family made it really special.

Reviewed on 16 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Kamchia- a beautiful unspoilt beach where a small river reaches the sea. Eating meals in the garden of Jo and Mark's house near the lovely pool underneath huge walnut trees, watching swallows swooping and gathering. Feeling relaxed and safe in the peaceful Bulgarian countryside. Taking a coach (again very cheap) from Varna to Sophia at the end of my holiday and experiencing how rural Bulgaria is. Passing fields of sunflowers.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Try to become familiar with the Bulgarian (Cyrillic) alphabet. English is very limited among older Bulgarians. It will help you to feel orientated if you can recognise place names, particularly if using public transport. With a little planning I was able to use local buses to explore the area. Jo and Mark were very helpful in asking about these for me, and I was able to provide Jo with details of the times and connections from my experience which she will pass on to other guests. The buses are very cheap! Jo and Mark were happy to fetch me from Varna on occasion and were much cheaper than using local taxis.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I used local buses where possible to explore the area. Jo and Mark grow their own vegetables and keep chickens for eggs. There are pleasant walks in the forest close to the house. I chose to meet some ladies with learning disabilities at a local yoga class (run especially for them) which Jo attends regularly: this was very memorable for me.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was a very relaxing holiday in peaceful countryside but with opportunities to explore the area, particularly the coast, so was ideal for me. Jo and Mark were extremely helpful and very hospitable hosts. I felt very welcome and enjoyed sharing meals with them and their two boys. The fresh produce, home cooking and plentiful breakfasts were great. Although visiting alone I never felt lonely. The pool was lovely for swimming! Jo and Mark speak Bulgarian fluently which was very helpful. They are very knowledgeable about Bulgarian life and culture and this helped me to understand more about the country in the time I was there. Overall I found this a refreshing, relaxing, enjoyable and very interesting holiday.

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