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Published: September 1st 2015
Sometimes life at home overtakes you and the last trip I took is now months away in July and I didn't get round to writing up my blog on Sofia.. so I better get it done before the next trip in 2 weeks or I really will be lagging behind.
I wrote about the intercity buses ( if you can call them that) in my previous blog and this time the vehicle was a coach ... getting tickets can be a bit daunting with the Cyrillic script and nobody who speaks English but with a few smiles and a calendar handy you can make yourself understood and at least numerals are the same. You are usually given a ticket with the number of the bus stop at the bus station and your seat number too. By this time I could recognise a few letters of the script so I could check that the sign on the bus was for Sofia. Be prepared for a long journey between cities which are not really so far apart and there can be numerous stops but it is cheap and you get to see the countryside as you roll along the highlight being fields
of sunflowers interspersed with fields of solar panels !!
Being familiar with the bus station when I had initially arrived there I headed straight for the taxi to take me to a hotel and no fear of a scam as I knew how much it should cost. The hotel was in a very good location just off the main street in the city the Vitosha Boulevard - a little bit of luxury but only £40 a night. I had been told there wasn't much to see in Sofia but always make your own mind up as I found lots to see and was very impressed with the picturesque wide boulevards lined with restaurants , shops and flowers with a great view of Mount Vitosha. There is so much history here and I had no time to explore the museums or galleries...that will have to wait till next time as I am sure I will be back. As in Plovdiv there was a a FREE 2 hour walking tour ( give a donation ) with a local English soeaking guide and that was an excellent way to explore the city and the history and culture. So you are walking from
ancient Mosques, Roman Remains, old Spas to the Communist Party HQ and through beautiful parks and finally you are in a massive square in front of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Bring your walking shoes if you come to Bulgaria its the best way to explore this city.
Ambling back to the hotel I came across a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church , its spires glinting in the setting sun ..and then to find hidden in a back street some wonderful food in the courtyard of an Italian Osteria.
So this country had by far exceeded my expectations and has whetted my appetite to explore more of the Balkan States as well as return to Bulgaria one day.
I hope you will enjoy a photographic walk around the streets of Sofia with me...my second day there I took a tour to the Rila Monastery which I have written about in a previous blog so if you missed that go back and take a peek at this amazing World Heritage Site.
And finally a word about the food... superb fresh salads...there are people by the roadside selling heaps of tomatoes , aubergines and enormous watermelons so everything is fresh.
They will ask you if you want goats cheese, cows cheese or sheeps cheese. I even saw pages on menus which said non-meat dishes so its a great place for vegetarians.
But then there are restaurants serving bbq meats and hearty meaty casseroles too baked in terracotta dishes. and yummy enormous pizzas!!
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