Sandanski, Bulgaria. Friday: getting there

So two weekends ago (July 1-3), I went to Sandanski, Bulgaria.  My co-worker said that it’s a rather well know spa town in the Balkans, and that I should definitely go.  I’ve never really gone to a spa before (I had a few massages in China, and there was a shop where I would get facials from time to time, but it wasn’t really spa-like), and it sounded kind of cool.  So I signed up for the trip!

The day before I left I found the phone number for the hotel and called to see if I needed to schedule any spa treatments ahead of time.  When Alan and I were in Gersfeld, we wandered up to a big hotel to inquire about massages, but you needed to call ahead and they were all booked up.  I didn’t want the same thing to happen in Sandanski.  When I called, after a little language difficulty, the clerk informed me that I could make all of the arrangements when I arrived.

I packed my bag, and went to work (to DRR training, actually).  At 3:00 I changed out of my suit and into a dress and leggings.  Then I called a taxi.  The UN trips leave from the UNMIK complex, which is outside of the city.  The traffic was horrible.  It took 45 minutes to go 3.2 km.  I really could have walked in that amount of time.

Then I got on the bus, which retraced the path back towards Pristina: another frustratingly slow journey.  We were finally on our way!  The trip to Belgrade had been remarkably smooth for a bus journey.  I get car sick pretty easily, and was wary of the whole bus travel thing that seems to be standard for the Balkans.  But like I said, the first trip was no problem.

This trip was not so good.  The road to Sandanski is mountainous: bumpy and winding.  I felt sick almost immediately, especially after the 45 minutes taxi ride.  I listened to podcasts to try to keep my mind off of my belly, and looked out the window.  But it wasn’t enough.  Eventually (after five hours or so), I threw up in the bus bathroom (which is totally disgusting, I hope to never do that again).  I got a can of soda and sipped on it to try to settle my stomach (it didn’t work).  And the worst part of it is that the bus got lost.  So what should have been a five hour trip was a 7 and a half hour trip.  Ugh.

Getting totally car-sick was a really bad way to start the weekend.  We arrived at the hotel around midnight, and I just went to bed.  I decided to sleep in as much as possible, to see if I would feel better when I woke up.



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