N IS FOR NESSEBAR, BULGARIA

N

A STORY OF SEARCHING FOR NIRVANA IN NESSEBAR, BULGARIA

The Pearl of the Black Sea. Here was somewhere where she could forget about all the troubles in the world, and all the troubles in her world too.

This was about as far east as she could go in the European Union. Across the Black Sea, Russia was carving the Crimea away from the Ukraine, civil war was continuing to rip Syria apart beyond Turkey and further south refugees were pouring across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece. The world around her was in turmoil, mirroring her own current state.

Nina looked out over the pure blue water. Across the bay she could see the crowded golden beaches, crammed with tourists soaking up the sun rays. If Louise had been with her they would have been there too, lounging around, splashing in the water. All very romantic. But then Ines had arrived on the scene.

That was in the past, Nina brushed it off, determined to forget them. The holiday was already booked, so why not make the most of it, she thought. The empty seat next to her on the plane was a painful reminder, but once she had arrived in Nessebar it felt like she was in a different world.

The Old Town sat on an island, joined to the mainland by a man-made isthmus. Narrow cobbled streets meandered in crooked lines, old brick buildings packed onto every spare inch of the land. There was evidence of civilisations occupying the area from ancient Thrace, Greek, Roman and Byzantine times. Nina could smell the musty history in the air.

This is what she needed. Some time alone to think about bigger things than her own pitiful love life. That was partly why she was avoiding the beach. She wasn’t interested in the flirtatious looks and chat up lines from the men, or the women for that matter, although away from the capital, Sofia, same-sex relationships were still kept hidden in much of Bulgaria.

She passed church after church. She’d read in one of the guidebooks that Nessebar had the highest number of churches per capita in the world. Wandering around she could believe it. It was a reminder of the importance of religion that still held sway here, and another reminder that if her sexual preferences were known, they would be frowned upon. Such a shame for such a beautiful part of the world to still be mired in repression.

A small shop caught her attention, selling local clothes and cloths. She walked over and started browsing the garments outside. Through the open store front she could see an elderly lady sat behind a till. She was talking away to someone, who was hidden from view. Nina couldn’t understand the language, but it was clear whoever it was was in trouble with the matriarch.

The back of a person came into view. The woman at the till handed them some money and shooed them out the door, sending them on some errand. As the girl turned, Nina felt something in her stir. The dark eyes, dark hair and olive skin, the petite frame and toned legs, the denim shorts and the crop top revealing smooth shoulders.

As she came towards Nina their eyes met. The girl gave her a smile, a shrug of acknowledgement for the row that Nina had just witnessed. There gaze held for a second longer than necessary. As they passed each other the narrow gap between the racks of clothes meant their shoulders rubbed together briefly. Nina caught the intoxicating scent of sun cream and perfume.

Nina turned to watch the girl walk away. Well, she thought, I am on holiday and there’s nothing against admiring a view. She took a few steps after the girl.

The girl turned and looked back. Nina was caught in the act of stepping onto the street to follow her. She had nowhere else to look. You idiot, Nina thought. But the girl only smiled, turned and carried on walking. Nina decided to follow for a bit longer. After all, wasn’t she entitled to a bit of an adventure, even if was to lead nowhere.


Written as part of The A to Z Challenge 2018. Click HERE for more details of the challenge.

Each day in April we will visit a different town or city in the European Union, whose name will begin with the letter of the day – today its Nessebar on the Black Sea in Bulgaria – for a story based on a theme also corresponding to the same letter.

Over the course of the month and 26 stories, we will visit all 28 member countries to complete a farewell tour before Britain leaves the political union next year, touching on the history, politics, culture and people at the heart of Europe.

For a full list of stories and places visited, visit here: THE A TO Z CHALLENGE 2018.

65 responses to “N IS FOR NESSEBAR, BULGARIA”

  1. No harm in a little adventure, as long as she doesn’t creep the other girl. Nice story, Iain. You’ve managed to bring in the history of the place and Nina’s inner turmoil seamlessly together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You brought forth her life and her challenges so beautifully and sensitively Iain. And btw, this is such a stunning location, I’ll have to plan a trip now πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’ll see you there – I’ll be on the beach πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed reading this story Iain.
    It has a cinematic quality to it. I can picture the entire scene.
    Also, your description of Nessebar is making it rather irresistible. Putting it down on my list. Thank you:)
    N is for No to News

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Arti, definitely on my list too πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. What a absolutely fantastic last line.Great story, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Moon πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. I tweeted my reply to u Iain:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The place is mesmerising and Nina’s inner turmoil which is a sharp contrast has been painted so well

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A delightful piece of fact-laden fiction! It sounds a wonderful place – their tourist board should put you on commision judging by the comments thus far! Nina deserves a bit of happiness, let’s hope it works out.

    .My Friend Rosey – N is for Nude!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks lovely, just one more on the list of places I would like to visit one day. Thanks Keith.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. β€œNina could smell the musty history in the air.”. I love that line, and this story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Martha πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. Fun story. I like how you added all the facts to bring the place to life.

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge. Latest post at Ronel the Mythmaker

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks Iain. A timely reminder that in amongst all our concerns, there are many freedoms we already have which others are still having to fight for.

    A-Zing this year at:
    FictionCanBeFun
    Normally found at:
    DebsDespatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, and how far we have managed to come in some areas if not others.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Another beautiful story from your pen! Your description makes the scene alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ruchi πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Outstanding as always. Your stories are quite atmospheric. Not easy to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much CV πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. You have done it again! Superb! I hope Nina can find Nirvana in Nessebar! Btw, I looked up the map to find this city since I did not know its location…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I could introduce to a new place πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. who doesn’t want adventure on vacation especially if they’re alone? I’m thinking Nina will get herself in trouble, looks are deceiving.

    have a lovely day.

    my latest a-z is: newbie vs. pro

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lissa, yeah she strikes me as someone who manages to find trouble quite easily, even if she’s not looking for it!

      Like

  15. That was a nice story, Iain. In my country India, we are so repressed that we have to tolerate so-called religious seers who claim homosexuality is a disease that can be cured by Ayurveda. I really admire the West where at least one does not have to be ashamed of one’s sexual orientation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is one area where we seem to have finally made good progress, hopefully the rest of the world will move in the same direction.

      Like

  16. I am a little worried she’s going to scare the girl, but these were great descriptions and a nicely done story. http://melaniecrousesblog.blogspot.com/2018/04/n-is-for-no-such-thing-as-fish.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melanie, hopefully she doesn’t get herself into trouble!

      Like

  17. Lovely!
    I was very young when I last visited Bulgaria, it might be time to go back again πŸ™‚

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would certainly like to visit this part of Bulgaria, it looks amazing. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      Like

  18. Cute one, looking forward to the rest! You’ve put so much work, research, etc. Into each story. Very impressive and great job. I enjoyed learning about all these countries abd parts of their histories πŸ™‚ Cheers Ian. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking them all out Mandi, glad you enjoyed them πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I very much did. Good luck with the rest πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve been enjoying your stories throughout the A-to-Z Challenge, so much so that I’m going to tag you with a Liebster Award! https://truenorthbricks.com/2018/04/16/liebster-award-a-to-z-edition/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the nomination, I shall look more closely at it when time allows, probably after the A – Z challenge has ended. Glad you are enjoying my stories πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ah, the honeymoon for one. A fun trope, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It always leads to something…!

      Like

  21. Another great story. Makes me want to travel to Bulgaria.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh, now this is an interesting one… They really are all awesome, though. I’m sorry I’ve been out of commission the last few days, so I’ve missed a few. I have a good friend, who adopted two Bulgarian girls three years ago (5 and 10). They were both victims of severe neglect, but they are thriving now. I always think of them when I hear about Bulgaria…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These vast countries are filled with good and bad, like everywhere, something I think it is important to remember when forming judgements. Good to see you back πŸ™‚

      Like

  23. Looks like a lovely destination. Sad though that some people still have to hide who they are in certain parts of the world. Even in other places where we’ve made progress, there is still far to go when it comes to tolerance and acceptance. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, fortunately in places like Bulgaria it is no longer illegal, it is the prejudices of the older generations that still linger. In time they will disappear, but a long way to go indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Hopefully it works out for Nina, even if it’s just for an afternoon to chase away the thoughts of an ex.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading.

      Like

  25. Hope it doesnt turn out to be a cheap thrill for Nina, for she has an inner turmoil to tide over.
    Interesting place, plot and an end too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anagha, perhaps it’s just the sort of adventure she needs!

      Like

  26. What a coincidence!
    You are writing about the Pearl of the Black Sea, my next post is Pearl of the Caribbean!!
    Great post.. loved the story and the place!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, looking forward to the Pearl in your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Turmoil indeed. A striking contrast, thanks for sharing!

    https://katseaholm.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/n-is-for-narrow/

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Iain, you have painted such a stunning, vivid description of a beautiful place. Including the characters , that have a sense of mystery to them. Nina has quite a bit of adventure up her sleeve, one can see. In between all of that, I do hope she finds true love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, very kind. I get the feeling Nina will be okay, even if this not the start of true love this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Smooth-flowing story Iain. I loved the way Nina and the city Nessebar seem like two characters that mirror each other. The meeting with the girl at the end, adds an interesting angle.

    Would love if if you could check out my #BlogchatterA2Z post for N: https://lonelycanopyblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/nothing-like-school-memories/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Seema, I will be sure to stop by your blog πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  30. β€œNarrow cobbled streets meandered in crooked lines” beautiful image. I love cobbled streets. β€œSmelling the musty history in the air” is a powerful description. Another wonderfully written piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. You share so much about the region in the first few paragraphs in just a few sentences. And Nina is fascinating and brings more to light about the area as her story progresses. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, so pleased you liked it πŸ™‚

      Like

  32. This one left me smiling. I think it’s the girl’s dark looks and constant smile leading me on, and Nina. Let’s hope they have a good time without any repercussions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s hope so, a bit of holiday romance could be just what she needs. πŸ™‚

      Like

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