Friday, May 07, 2010

Bulgarian fantasy

Several years ago Olga and I considered moving to Bulgaria. The idea is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Olga is from Eastern Europe and had visited Bulgaria before. She speaks Russian, which many Bulgarians can speak too. Her niece was married to a Bulgarian and living in the country. Property programs on TV like "A Place In The Sun" were promoting Bulgaria as "the new Spain" where property was cheap and huge investment gains could be made, and lots of other Brits were buying out there. So we booked a trip to visit Olga's niece and see for ourselves.

We didn't in the end decide to buy a Bulgarian property. We saw some nice houses, much larger than our shoe-box on its postage stamp plot here. The countryside was beautiful and unspoiled. But we found Bulgaria to be a poor country with poor infrastructure. As elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc we got the feeling that a few people were making huge amounts of money but very little of it was trickling down to improve the lives of the general population. I'm one of those people who feels that quality of life is not just about what you own, but also your surroundings and the well-being of the people who live around you. I decided that I couldn't see myself living there.

I forgot about Bulgaria, but real estate agents continued to send Olga information on new properties and she recently started mentioning some of the bargains to be had there. Back in 2004 I felt that interest from British property investors had driven prices to levels that were unreasonably high, all things being considered, but prices appear to have fallen since then and property is amazingly cheap now. The house shown in the picture - 90 sq. m on a plot of 780 sq. m, and newly renovated - could be purchased for just 13,000 Euros (about £12,000 or $18,000 US.) If you are up to a bit of DIY there are properties that are even cheaper!

As Britain seems about to embark on a period of high taxes and austerity, with a government led by the Conservatives who lack experience and frankly make me nervous, the idea of moving to Bulgaria seems once again to be rather attractive. From a ham radio point of view there would be benefits too. There was an article a year or so ago in one of the magazines about Acom amplifiers (which are manufactured there) in which the chief engineer was quoted as saying: "Come to Bulgaria. You don't need planning permission for antennas here."

11 comments:

Paul - PC4T said...

Hi Julian, nice price, that's for sure, but I never want to be a foreigner. And I think it's a must to learn the language of that country. Pfffff... ;-) 73 Paul

Steve GW7AAV said...

My brother-in-law has a property in Bulgaria and we have been told we can use it whenever but we have never been there yet. I would worry about taking my radio gear with me and not really enjoy being somewhere different if I could not operate radio from a hill top or two. His photographs tell me that it is a very beautiful country. Helen was slightly put off by the mention of bears and wolves in the forest on the route to a local summit which would be ideal to work from.

Steve GW7AAV said...

I can see why the house in the picture is so cheap. Barbie pink Uck!

g4ilo said...

Yes, not being the top predator must take the shine out of SOTA operating. But at Bulgarian land prices you could buy your own hill and fence it off to keep things that might want to eat you out.

QRP Station M6RDP said...

Hallo Julian,

£12,000! I could almost afford that! But I think I love this green and pleasant land too much to leave for good. I do sometimes wonder about retiring to Benidorm one day just to escape the cold. But with only an M6 licence it would be an end to a lovely hobby!

I lived abroad once or twice for a few months at a time in my troubled twenties (Spain, Italy, Greece) and I have to say each time I couldn't wait to get back to blighty!

Theodore said...

North sea oil was like finding a gold cache in your backyard. But now, the party is over. During the party, the population and spending increased exponentially. Now, the money is gone, bad days are coming.
Move to Bulgaria or anywhere where they have not painted themselves into the same corner. The States is another example where population overshoot has occurred from finding a continent full of oil and resources virtually untouched. 300 million people there are already finding out what overshoot means.

Norm said...

Wow what a price! The Pink color....I could do without it, but it can always be repainted.
And it would look so cool with an bunch of antennas up on top. Any power lines? That's my problem here.

Norm said...

By the way, over here our problem is with the left who have no idea what they are doing and think nothing of taking money from Taxpayers, paying themselves and dividing the "races". There's even talk, the US will be the next Greece. With Obama, that's a good possibility. A true shame.

Theodore said...

Hi Norm, yes its the same in Europe, with left wing governments milking taxpayers to the hilt and beyond.I do so hope that the U.S. can survive the assault on those values that built the country. Perhaps after the "we can" (wiccan?) religion dies, the U.S. can get back to business. I sincerely hope so. Good luck.

g4ilo said...

But all the governments here are "left wing" in that context. My wife Olga grew up in Russia and listening to the political debates here she said there is far more socialism here than there was in the Soviet Union. She never heard so many politicians talking about a "fair society."

Here they have taken socialism to such an extreme that people who are prudent and try to save for the future are penalised while the spendthrift and irresponsible get handouts paid for by our taxes.

At least there's an upside - I feel now that if I want a new radio then the hell with it, I'll have it. I'll get more value for the money than if I saved or invested it.

Theodore said...

Well said Julian, I totally agree.
That Flex radio is getting closer for me as well. Cheers.