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Arriving in Kranevo mid July 2014, there is initially little evidence of the devastating floods reported in the news earlier in the year which were reported to have caused widespread havoc across North Eastern Bulgaria, the village is open for the business as usual. This may of course be due to the efforts of the clean up team rather than misreporting and exaggeration by the media. The shops are for the most part open and the recent road and pavements to the centre remain mostly intact and are a vast improvement on previous years.
On closer inspection there is majour structural damage to the storm drain and many of the bridges crossing the river have been washed away, many service pipes that crossed the river were also destroyed although temporary connections seem to have remedied the problem until more permanent measures can be taken. Although reportedly many houses and hotels were flooded there seems to be none that have been damaged beyond repair and the majority seem to be operating as normal. The village initially feels busy with some new shops open, some reports from local business owners suggest a strong start to the year which was impacted by the flooding and poor weather. The situation in Ukraine has also had an impact, especially on Kranevo, which traditionally hosts many Russian children in the many holiday camps in the village. Those travelling from Russia by road are forced to divert around Ukraine and some Russian tour operators have gone bust leaving many people stranded, to find there own way home.
On a more positive note the Spa ‘Therma Palace’ has opened at the bottom of Primorska Street and already seems popular. The spa hotel is a wonderful new addition to the village, it offers traditional therapies as well as the most modern. The mineral water is drawn locally from a spring in the village and has a very theraputic effect and the jacuzzi’s and various warm pools offer the perfect environment to soothe an aching body. There is also a foot spa, sauna, incense room, salt room and Turkish steam bath. The gardens of the spa offer a very peaceful and comfortable place in which to relax and sunbathe. Downstairs the spa has a ‘London Bar’ with billards tables, bowling allies and comfortable seating, there is also a gym with a reasonable selection of eqiupment. On the ground floor the spa has a large restaurant and beauty facilities including manicure and hairdressing. The ‘merrrikesh bar’ on top of the building was not yet open but the vies from here over Kranevo and to the sea are fantastic and this is likely to offer an amazing venue for an evening cocktail. The spa has a golf trolley that departs every 30 minutes along the newly laid gravel track through the nature reserve to the beach. There is already a new low rise development the other side of the flood channel, close to the long derilict building and reports are that the developer of the spa is planning to build two new hotels on the opposite side of the river close to the spa, in the so called ‘nature reserve’. It would be a shame to see this nature area, were many forms of wildlife can be observed, destroyed in the face of growing commercialism, however it is apparent that Kranevo is still in need of investment. Wether there is a development plan in place to determine future direction and to attract the right type of investment and sustainable growth while protecting its vital green areas and preserving public space is unknown.
We have no information yet to report on the services and prices offered, maybe somebody reading this has used it and can provide some Information?
There is now only one nightclub remaining in the village, although there are a number of bars, The club ‘Vanilla beach’ located on the beach has rebranded as ‘First line’ and is now predominantly a restaurant.
There are now two new chinese restaurants in the village one in the center and one closer to the beach end of the road, the food in the one closer to the beach was put to the test and we can report that the food and service was very good.
The triangular development at the centre of the village remains only partially open and now contains among other shops a hairdressers, art gallery and a private security firm, currency exchange and rose market. There is no sign of the supermarket which was open previously on the corner of the building, the entrance which was supposed to host a market remAIns empty and there is no sign to date of the sky bar opening on the roof.
The Elios Bar in the centre remains popular, the car boot sale held on the last saturday of every month was especially well attended with many stools and customers, both locals and tourists. On the stools everthing from books, English food products, bric-a-braq, Antiques, jewellery and plants.
Meanwhile at the beach, from the break of day sunbathers arrive to catch the morning rays, along the sea edge runners wind there way up and down the beach before the full heat of the sun. The sea was extremley inviting, clean and warm and there was little or none of the seaweed and jellyfish that sometimes are to be found at the waters edge. During the week the beach was busy with bodies, at weekends and especially on sunday the beach was especially busy but never overcrowded.
In Albena the bridge crossing the river and the nearby hotel have been damaged by the flooding. Initially the damaged bridge was the only means of crossing into Albena as the river itself has swollen and deepened during the floods.The hotel which is perched dangerously over the river, its foundations ripped away, remains partially in operation. The now wobbly bridge had been made ‘good’ by means of fairly typical Bulgarian temporary repairs at each end consisting a pallet laid against the now raised end of the bridge which previously had met the sand. From the pallets were exposed nails and loose boards which were difficult to negotiate, especially in the typical beach footwear of flip flops. Scaling the bridge was difficult at best and at worse it was dangerous.
By the end of July a temporay military bridge had been erected overnight in order to allow construction vehicles to the area and allow the remediation/demolition of the hotel and hopefully to reinstate the pedestrain bridge. Exactly what they will do to bring the bridge and hotel back into operation remains to be seen.
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