Last week my dad and I visited almost every region of the country. An essential chunk we missed though, was the part by the Black Sea. And since thirty-plus years ago we used to spend some lovely vacations there, we decided to go chase these memories on a rainy day in the off-season, knowing full well that the resort town we used to love is no longer popular, and that some of the more spectacular hotels, overlooking the sea, have been abandoned. Ok, so we drove 2.5 hours to look at abandoned buildings and overgrown grass. Maybe that’s a little weird, but the sea was lovely and it smelled salty and wonderful. The overgrown grass still held the tiny white snails I remembered from my childhood. Some of the nicer hotels might not have survived, but the snails did, and that was exciting! One summer night long ago my cousins and I had enthusiastically gathered a bucket-full of these white snails and snuck them into our hotel room. Come morning we were heartbroken to discover our little treasures had wandered off. We had to retrieve them from the hotel walls and carry them back to the grass where they belong. I’m glad to know the little snails have survived the attacks of many children, and overall the tides of time.
I wandered off, amazed that the boardwalk I remembered as being very long, is actually quite tiny. I resolved to walk to the end of it, but then I saw a small stray dog intent on chasing me, so I actually ran. There, I’ve had an adventure!
All in all, the visit was surreal and bittersweet. I suppose change is unavoidable, and alongside the abandoned hotels we saw plenty of new ones, and even, in a different resort town, an old hotel we remember from long ago that has been beautifully restored and turned into a state-of-the-art luxury oasis. The lobby smells like scrumptious spa products with ingredients from the sea, and sprawling gardens full of blooming lilacs descend upon a large pool and then the beach. Each room has its own balcony, the restaurant looks inviting, and there’s an art exhibit in the lobby. I wouldn’t have minded staying there a night or two! But we were determined to drive back, our glimpse into the past short yet poignant.