Tales Of An Expat: Guest Blog From Lewis Davies

Jan 15, 2018 No Comments by

Lewis Davies

This is a guest post from Lewis Davies a British person living in Bansko.

I recently found myself in a very fortunate situation, I’m a young guy in my early twenties who was fairly lucky in business very early on.

Towards the end of September 2017 myself and my partner found that a business we had in the hospitality industry had become self-sufficient with an exceptional and trustworthy manager, so naturally we asked ourselves, why are we still in the UK?

When choosing our destination, we wanted a few things:

Close proximity to an area that could accommodate both winter and summer sports.

Ideal area for European travel.

(most important) Good value for money!

After a lot of research and a fair few enquiries we found Bansko!

Being very spur of the moment we landed in Sofia just a few weeks later. The flights (being out of season) were an absolute steal, just £13 Per person through Ryan Air (the plane was a cardboard box with wings but it done the job nicely). It was a very different feeling to the UK from the moment we got off the plane, things seemed slightly more relaxed.

We decided against going through a transfer company as we were fortunate enough to have a Bulgarian friend who spent some time working in the UK and just so happened to work out of Bansko! After few wrong turns and a frustrated friend, we were on the road out and found ourselves captivated whilst travelling through the picturesque, Middle Earth looking mountains towards our new home.

Three months on and I find myself in a good position to start sharing my experiences, one thing I will say, I found it very difficult not working as the local beers seemed to go down smoother than I cared to notice, and two months in the hangovers became an old friend, so I picked up a job and as a writer naturally I looked locally to see where I could make my mark.

Being in the town out of season was a blessing as we were able to experience Bulgarian Bansko rather than Bansko: The resort. We have spent the past few months going off the beaten track trying new places that you wouldn’t normally think to go and I can honestly say that Bansko is a hidden gem!

My aim on this blog is to share my findings and experiences in order to help others like myself and those on a short stay find the real Bansko.

So with that in mind, I always look forward to talking about this venue and the fact I’m getting to write about it is grand!

My recommendation to everyone is always the same: drift away from Pirin street and explore! Granted there are some fantastic venues on the main strip that I look forward to writing about in the near future but take my advice, take a step away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip and you will be pleasantly surprised.

When I first heard the words “Irish Pub in Bansko” my immediate thoughts were “surely I should focus on more Bulgarian led venues?” Fortunately for me my curiosity got the better of me, myself and my partner decided to give it a try.

Took a bit of finding but eventually there it was, The Irish Harp, a nice quirky frontage with a neon four leaf clover and a sign outside:

Brian's notice outside The Irish Harp

It looked small on the outside but looks were certainly deceiving on this occasion, a short trip downstairs revealed a Tardis seeped in traditional Irish pub décor with a beautiful encased Irish Harp as the proud centre piece (get what he did there with the name).

We were greeted by the owner, a Dublin born Irishman called Brian who has since become a very good friend. Describing Brian, well I always thought I had a pretty dry sense of humor but a mix of his timing and pure wit makes my humour seem as dry as the British weather! He’s the atmosphere engine that makes everyone feel welcome and relaxed, which certainly gets the beer flowing.

His Guinness (which is a favourite of mine) is kept to an extremely high standard and I could quite honestly say is the best I’ve encountered outside of Dublin! And I’ve been to the real Irish capital (Liverpool).

What makes the Harp even more appealing is the fact that alongside the bar there is a fully operational restaurant with five chefs working together to prepare good quality, hearty food. one thing Brian is passionate about (besides a full pub) is ensuring he’s sourced the best quality produce available regardless of cost or country, quality is his priority.

I highly recommend you give this Bansko institution a try as in my view it’s as much a part of Bansko as anything.

Stay tuned for part 2,

The Baby Expat

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About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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