Come and help with house renovations in rural Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria




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  • Description


    MAY NEED PEOPLE FROM THE END OF JULY 2020. I'm 31 and try to have at least 4 workawayers at a time to create a sociable atmosphere, so must enjoy meeting new people! Varied work available including less physically-demanding roles.

    (I usually reply to inquiry e-mails within one day, so you won't be left hanging around not knowing what's going on)

    I’m Paul. I’m a 31 year old Brit and have been renovating a house in Bulgaria on and off over the past few years. When there, fortunately I am not living on site, but in another (good condition) house in the same village.

    The property is in need of total renovation: We have so far replaced the roof, taken down most of the internal walls, constructed an extension, concreted the downstairs floor and replaced all of the windows with new UPVc double glazing. In 2013 and 2015, workawayers were instrumental in laying the upstairs floor, building internal stud walls, finishing the french drain and assisting with putting up ceilings. As you can tell, there is ample opportunity to learn new skills.

    I started the project in 2013 and lived here for 7 months, before returning in 2015 for 3 months, and again in 2017 for 3 months. I tend to start work at 8:30am before enjoying a leisurely lunch and siesta (in one of the hammocks if you desire) and then either potter around or do some sport once the afternoon sun has cooled. Nothing too strenuous...

    We have extremely fast fibre optic broadband and wifi is available in the garden and everywhere in the house. I have a table tennis table in the barn and there is a ‘stadium’ in the village where football is played most weekends. I try to do Yoga at least a few times a week as well as other fitness pursuits including running, cycling and varied gym workouts.

    I ask that you work 20 hours a week and I provide food and accommodation. I have done stints as a workawayer myself and so know the importance of having an enjoyable setting in which to work and also appreciate the importance of "downtime". I find that working 5 days of 4 hours a day works best; typically Mon-Fri 08:30/09:00-12:30/13:00 with a break in the middle.

    I’m interested in most things but am particularly passionate about sport and music (instruments are welcome - I have both a right-handed and left-handed guitar at the house, as well as a couple of harmonicas), if you are laid back and like good weather, beautiful scenery and lazing around in a hammock watching the stars and listening to the sounds of nature, I am sure you will love it here. Any length of stay is welcome and will be a great help - I really look forward to hearing from you.

    On days off (usually Saturdays and Sundays) we will try and organise fun trips: to waterfalls, to the local cities and hiking (amongst other things) - whatever the majority of people would like to do (including just lying around in the sun at the local swimming pool!).

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️I could always use a cook to take over responsibility for the meals here to allow me more time to focus on the renovation. Your responsibilities will be to prepare a snack for lunch and a main meal at dinner time. *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️

    Also, as a workawayer myself, I know the importance of building up a profile with good feedback and so I always leave feedback for those who have volunteered for me, almost always within a week of them leaving.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The village is Polski Senovets and the nearest town is Polski Trambesh which is only about 7km away. If you need a cosmopolitan fix, Veliko Tarnovo is about a 30 minute drive away – it’s a beautiful historic city and has a number of bars, restaurants and live music venues as well as some great – and very affordable – shops. Buses run to both of these places.

    The Village itself has a few cafes, bars and shops; a post office, chemist etc. There are 750 or so residents in the village but the weekends are much busier with young people coming home from the cities and towns to spend time with their families. There are local buses and trains which are both cheap and frequent. I also have insured transport for anyone with a driving licence to use.

    I had friends and workawayers stay for varying periods in 2013, 2015 and 2017, and all enjoyed ‘living’ here as much as I have done. The pace of life is slow and laid back, the people are friendly and incredibly generous, and the cost of living is incredibly cheap. Even if you are just in the country on a flying visit – drop by for a night or two – all I ask is a few hours labour and some friendly conversation.

  • Help


    The main project is the complete renovation of an old house.

    Here are some specific segments of the project which we worked on during July, August and September 2017:

    • Give the "living house" a deep, “spring” clean. DONE
    • Paint shower room in “living house”. DONE
    • Construct a private, outdoor solar shower (wooden structure capable of supporting a water “butt”). DONE
    • Install plasterboard for the downstairs ceiling. COMPLETE
    • Sand down the original Oak ceiling beams to leave them exposed. COMPLETE
    • Complete installation of the drainage/waste system by finishing the digging of the trench, and laying the waste pipe before refilling with soil. COMPLETE
    • Construction of internal stud walls. IN PROGRESS
    • Fit bathroom: tiling, plumbing and installation of (electric) boiler. IN PROGRESS
    • Dig foundations for balcony support pillars. COMPLETE
    • Build shuttering in preparation of constructing a large concrete balcony. COMPLETE
    • Construction of driveway area and creation of stone walls. IN PROGRESS
    • Repointing internal stone walls. COMPLETE

    As the project progresses, a few examples of the varied work that will be required are: digging, plastering, bricklaying, carpentry, chopping wood and mixing cement, as well as building a balcony and making a start on landscaping the garden - all creativity welcome.

    There is also the opportunity to do some work on the ‘main’ house where we live. This house has an enormous (2500sqm) garden with plenty to keep a keen gardener occupied. The house has a few outbuildings that could do with a good sort-out.

    Finally, you are more than welcome to take over cooking duties if you would like.

    No experience is necessary, just initiative, enthusiasm, and the ability to share a joke. Smokers and people with special dietary requirements are welcome.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, conversational French, Spanish and (helpfully) Bulgarian

  • Accommodation


    I have a nice room that can accommodate up to three people on two single beds (these are 'proper' beds with thick, comfy mattresses) and a single camp bed (see photos - they are quite sturdy and comfortable). There is a further bedroom that can accommodate at least another two people, one on a single bed and the other in a large double bed; couples might have the option of having their own room (would need to be staying at least a week for this private arrangement). Alternatively, you can camp in the garden (I have a 4 man tent and good quality air beds). There is a kitchen with all white goods. The toilet is outside (don’t worry - it is enclosed and has a roof), and the shower is either a "solar shower" in amongst the fruit trees and grape vines or, if the that is a little too 'at one with nature' for you, an indoor shower - although this doesn't have hot water; not too much of a problem at 2pm when it's 30c.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In the local area there is the chance to go climbing, walking, bike riding and fishing. I have two bicycles if you want to explore the local area on two wheels.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected


A day out to the nearby waterfalls. I believe this workawayer remains in this position today.
Workawayers often get the chance to experience a traditional Bulgarian evening with one of my friendly neighbours.
Nobody messes with my workers!
Sometimes you will get the chance to have you photo taken with the lead from 'No Country for Old Men'...
Me enjoying a drink with the village gravedigger; and people thought Oliver Reed actually died...
If there is demand, we can visit Buzludzha one weekend (it's about 2 hours away). Since going in 2013 I've wanted to return and camp there. One of the coolest places I've ever been.
The rather beautiful medieval city of Veliko Turnovo which is about 30 minutes drive away.
Days out to Hotnitsa Waterall (about 20 minutes drive away) are always fun. As is watching tourists follow signs leading them across perilous terrain, seeking a cafe, promising alcoholic relief and ice-cream, which doesn't exist.
The village "Stadium", complete with home-made goalposts and corner flags. We usually have fun playing against the village kids at the weekends. Of course we LET them win...
The Almost-New Olympic-sized Swimming pool at Polski Trambesh, less than ten minutes away. About €3 for the day. #gottoloveeufunding
Nicopolis ad Istrum was a Roman and Early Byzantine town founded by Emperor Trajan around 101–106. These ruins are located about a 20 minute drive away.
One of these is a British workawayer named Dan and the other is a Turkish/Bulgarian "Jack-of-all-trades", called Mario. Guess which is which.
A local Bulgarian labourer called Plamen helping with putting on the new roof.
The front of the "renovation house"; the mound of earth is the french drain in progress. It was finished in 2015.
The upstairs floor was transformed from what you see here to a beautiful, level boarded surface in 2015.
IN PROGRESS. The "renovation house" as it is currently. Hopefully you can see a difference between this photo and the BEFORE picture...
A workawayer earning his keep. He tragically fell to his death shortly after this photo was taken... I'm joking. He's actually pencilled in to return in July 2017. #cantgetenough
I know what you're thinking: "What's a photo of a toilet in the Ritz doing here?!". Well, this is in fact our outdoor toilet. As you can see, we never run out of toilet paper.
Kitchen with all white appliances, including a recently donated washing machine. #nomorepainfulwashingbyhand
The "living house" - this is where we will be living, about a 3 minute drive to the "renovation house".
Knocking down the internal walls to create "open plan" living. Kevin McCloud approves.
Table Tennis in the barn is a popular R&R pursuit.
A previous worker seconds after shouting, "Quick! Get a photo! I need a profile pic to make me look like an alpha male!". #missionaccomplished #oneofthesuccessstoriesof2013
An average sunset from the front garden.
The extensive garden at the "living house"... Requires a little tending...
There are actually two "proper" single beds now. I promise. First come, first served. Additional camp/air beds and bedrooms available if needed.
BEFORE. The "renovation property" - not the one you'll be living in. Well, behaviour dependent...

Host ref number: 877938217278