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Independent: Bulgaria's Bansko Overrun by Brits

Date: 30.08.2006

Bulgaria's Balkan resort of Bansko has seen the other side of the immigration from Eastern Europe, the Independent writes on Saturday, focusing on the number of Brits that have flooded the town.

What was once typically Bulgarian is today "a small corner of Britain in a foreign field", author Andrew Osborn believes.

The British diaspora own half of the houses in the area, and a pub that caters to their nostalgia with Sky TV, English breakfasts and cider. They come to Bulgaria because of the low prices of land and beer and the great skiing and nature.

"Bansko is an example of modern-day migration where people with money go to places where the locals are relatively poor to enjoy a lifestyle that is harder to find let alone afford in the UK," the author claims.

Many of the Britons in Bansko are migrant workers and entrepreneurs, he writes, "trying to make a new life in a country where a pint of beer costs 40 p and you can buy an apartment for GBP 25 000." They find their niche in interior design, bar management, real estates and other areas.

Despite the booming number of hotels, some Bulgarians aren't happy with the coming of the Brits. "I hate them," Gold Club Casino employee Sasha Gaichin tells the paper. "They drink too much, they swear all the time, and they are bad people. It's our country but they have bought up everything." The man has planned his revenge, however. He is thinking of finding a job in the UK when Bulgaria joins the EU.

Still, most Bulgarians admit that the cash flow is for the better, and media haven't tried to turn the issue of the "hordes" of Brits into hysteria, the Independent writes.

The British newcomers also feel that they are not being seen as invaders and they all enjoy socializing with their Bulgarian neighbours. Most are amazed at how warmly they welcome them and admit that they hadn't expected to be treated so nicely as they had bought up half of these people's land.

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