Days away in Bulgaria

I’ve written a previous blog about how Common Good have Away Days twice a year — one somewhere hot and preferably abroad, and the other more local but outside of the studio. They’re too much fun to miss and I wanted to share what we got up to in our most recent one, in Bulgaria….

The purpose of this away day was about spending time together without talking shop, having fun and new experiences together, and preferably doing both these whilst being somewhere warm and sunny. Travelling is a great way of expanding the mind and getting a fresh perspective on things. So we thought it would nice to to experience that as a team and have much deserved break from projects.

We decided to go to Bulgaria. But why? Well, why not? It boasts a mediterranean climate, is the oldest city in Europe and it’s only 3 hours from Manchester. But really it was our new behavioural designer Radina, who calls the capital Sofia her home, that had us sold.

Planning.

Having a strategy come naturally to us as a strategic design studio so we made sure we had a vision and flexible roadmap for the trip. We had a driver for the entire trip, which meant we didn’t need to worry about finding transport or getting lost. Radina organised supplies and restaurants and activities were planned in advance with back ups just in case it rained. Hand luggage and speedy boarding made the journey a little smoother and relaxed… this was going to be a stress-free time.

Day one.

We were only had two days in Bulgaria, so an early morning flight meant we were there by 11am. Copious amounts of coffee, discussions about Whiplash: How to Survive our Faster Future and some napping meant the flight passed quickly and we had landed!

First stop was lunch at the aptly named Happy restaurant in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. Feeling restored and extremely full we decided to explore this eclectic city, where every corner is steeped in history. We happily wandering down the landscape boulevards passed Stalinist architecture and Ottoman domes. We found our way to the top of a restaurant for a cocktail with a view!

After a long day of laughs we boarded the minibus and travelled through the green hills south, past endless fields of beautiful flowers and giant storks nests to our hotel, Villas Esteri Vini — it was gorgeous!

Day two.

We had a beautiful pool, eating area and individual chalets divided into 3 bedrooms all to ourselves. The weather continued to be glorious so a large part of the next day was spent by the pool — sunbathing, our own masseuse, some local cuisine and some ball games made for a very happy day.

In the evening we ventured to Plovdiv, the 2018 European Capital of Culture, where millennia old ruins mix with pretty pastel coloured buildings. Cobbled streets wind passed museums, art galleries and Roman amphitheaters that are still used today. The old town was magical. Cocktails and games set the tone which was only topped by a wonderful sunset overlooking the city. We couldn’t have timed it better, it was an amazing end to a great trip.

We were sad to leave, but shared some good memories. But don’t just take it from me, here’s what the rest of the team thought about the trip! I can’t wait to start planning the next one!

“It was lovely to spend time together in the sun. Sharing stories and being amazed by magic tricks. Having the opportunity to play games and eat lots of fresh food. Everyone should get the game Telestrations! :)” — Fiona
“Going to Bulgaria with the team was awesome! They’re the funniest, loveliest group of humans… Bulgaria itself was a surprise, the place was beautiful and we got to see the city and experience the place thanks to Radina who showed us around (thanks dude!). I loved it. Let’s do it againnnn!” — Rita
“It was awesome to take time out to relax with the team in the Bulgarian sunshine. Vineyards, gin, cheese, and so many giggles.” — Lisa
“I had the best of time showing my homeland to everyone at Common Good — immersing them in Bulgarian culture with great food and lots of sunshine! It was recharging and fun getaway and I’m happy everyone loved it!” — Radina
“So much food… history… sunshine… and a lot of laughs! Loved it.” — Aimee
“It was fun, painful (the sunburn!), amazing, bonding, we’re definitely doing it again” — John
“Turns out it’s a simple formula — food + wine (and soft drinks) + team + sunshine = awesome and recommended. When’s CG Bulgaria opening again?” — Charlie