Published: August 28th 2011August 13th 2011
The bus from Skopje to Sofia took 5 hours and I was accompanied by another Aussie - they get everywhere:-)
Arriving in Skopje I didn't have a clue where the hostel was so got a taxi and as usual he tried to rip me off trying to charge me in euros rather than Levs!
The Hostel was shocking (Internet hostel) rock hard mattress and 1 bathroom for the entire place but I've had worse. The location was fantastic though, right in the heart of the city, next door to the only veggie restaurant in Sofia and above an Irish bar - what more could you ask for:-) Plus the bar sold one of my favourite beers - Zagorka and I had a few of these with my new chums from the hostel, a German guy and a Kiwi couple.
In August many of the citizens of Sofia head out to beaches at Varga and Bourgas (fighting with the brits over sunbeds) so the city was fairly quiet.
The next day I joined the free Sofia walking tour and they were having a party as it was their first anniversary, we all got given cakes and had our
pictures took for their web-site, later on the tour we got given an additional gift of some rose water - it was like Christmas. The tour was fab, very informative and the guide even threw in a few jokes, we got taken round all the highlights of the city - I would definitely recommend it. There was around 30 people on the tour but I was the only Brit but my German pal from the hostel was there to keep me company.
Sofia has always been famous for its natural waters and throughout the city there are drinking water fountains, each one is beneficial for a different part of the body and so I went for the one that was good for the kidneys due to the amount of alcohol I was consuming:-)
After the tour I decided that I had seen all the highlights I wanted to see and caught the sleeper train to Bucharest. I was surprised to find that I was back on a Russian train and it was heading for Moscow, I set an alarm to make sure I got off in Bucharest! After that I caught another train on to my destination -
There was just one other occupant in the 4 birth sleeper carriage and he woke up with hundreds of bed bug bites - fortunately for me I didn't have one! Coincidentally my new chum was staying in the same hostel as me in Brasov, this was not entirely welcome though as I was becoming overwhelmed by a combination of his halitosis and malitosis. The attack on my olfactory senses was so bad I had to change seats on the train - kids these days:-) As it happens all the preceding events were not the most auspicious start to my birthday so after a shower I decamped to a bar in Brasov to watch the footy over a welcome beer.
Many buses from Skopje to Sofia - every 1-2 hours
Internet hostel in Sofia
Train from Sofia to Bucharest £25
Train Bucharest to Brasov - regular service - about 10 euro
Free Sofia Tour site - http://www.freesofiatour.com/
There are more photos below