Hi, we are Greg and Yvonne. I am English but I lived in other countries for most of my life. Yvonne is Dutch and also well-travelled. We have now found a stress-free haven in a little village, Malko Dryanovo, located in the “Roe Deer” (Surna) region of the hill range known as the Central Forest in Bulgaria (the Sredna Gora), which is roughly in the centre of the country. We are approximately 30 km from Pavel Banya and the same from Chirpan, 40 km to Stara Zagora and 80 km to Plovdiv.
We live a pretty relaxed lifestyle and do not expect masses of work from our guests (20 hours absolute max per week would be great). We grow our own vegetables and have a very pretty and relaxing flower garden with a small 6 x 3 metre homemade swimming pool and the water is 25-32 degrees through the summer (June to September, sometimes October). The air is clean up here in the hills and we usually have a little breeze to keep the summer heat bearable. We have beautiful hill and forest walking country around our little stress-free paradise and I love to walk.
DIY and building projects
We are children of the sixties, with emphasis on “children”, because, despite our official age, we still haven’t decided what we will do when we grow up. We have had pretty adventurous and non-conformist lives so far and we love to share stories and hear others. We’re both pretty good cooks and like to spend time cooking, eating and talking with people? Although we are ashamed that our Bulgarian is not better, we can communicate in the language and you will meet some charming locals. And after a meal with some Rakia (the local grappa), we all have great conversations anyway 😊
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Gardening, Winemaking and help on a ‘Grand Plan’ for a creative workshop
We rebuilt our house and developed a nice garden during the last ten years. We are now looking for some help with general maintenance, and gardening. And we make a little wine in September. We are also working on a “grand plan”. We aim to fix up a barn to create a nice atelier/workspace for creative projects and hopefully to start a little cottage industry creating things from natural materials with young people from the area. We have imported an off-grid photovoltaic system and we will be installing it sometime soon - it depends on when we get the last part of the barn project under its new roof, because we will install the solar power control gear in that part of the building. The project is about half complete. We still have some building work to do... If it all works out, my dream is to find a way people can live in this beautiful landscape and not have to go abroad to find an income. The main tasks for this project involve some demolition, then preparation and installing a new roof of about 80 m3. I have scaffolding and all the tools we need. So, anyone who is handy and willing to offer a helping hand will be very welcome.
The main thing is to have fun getting to know each other, and perhaps get a little work done too 😊
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
Currently, we only have a tent to offer for a single person or a couple - with the option to sleep on our large sofa bed in the house if there is a storm. Usually, we have a room in our house with comfortable twin beds (90 cm x 200 cm) and a shared en-suite bathroom (it has doors from two rooms). It is on the ground floor (partially below ground) and stays cool in summer but this is temporarily acting as our food store while we continue converting the original one into a the new building (Barn workshop/studio/food store). And you have use of the gardens and our little pool of course. We have three dogs and I have to warn you that they might love you to death 😊
For a family or group of more than 2 friends, we have plenty of space for camping and can offer one 2-person tent if you do not have one.
We like to cook and eat together but you can always use our kitchen and do something yourself. I have a big outdoor grill and we cook a lot on wood embers and charcoal. We are not vegetarians but we eat a lot of vegetarian dishes. So, we can easily adapt for a week if you are.
We aim to maintain a stress-free environment, and we are succeeding so far. Yvonne does Qigong and some other healthy exercises. I am constantly planning to do yoga again but always seem to have other stuff to do, and I need plenty of time to daydream 😊
When we have visitors we usually take them to visit the Ancient city of Plovdiv, if they do not know it, and we can always take a trip to one of the many interesting natural and historical gems that Bulgaria has to offer. We will introduce you to some very friendly locals and their brews, as well as some other interesting Bulgarians and foreigners with alternative ideas.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
I work from home as a freelance translator. Our internet connection is not fast but I can work fine and we can stream TV, etc. We usually have 15-20 Mbs. So, uploading and downloading work, emails, etc. is normally no problem. We also receive 4G here, which I use if our connection goes down for a moment.
We have space outside and we have a field but the entrance to is is steep and difficult, so that is fine for camping. The green area outside our gate is large enough for a camper and we can provide power and water with temporary connections. In our experience our village is safe, and you could always park inside our working yard if there are any worries.
This of course depends on your pet being okay with our three dogs. They are fine with other well-socialized dogs but my East European Shepherd has a tendency to chase cats, so they are probably out of the question.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week