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София


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After leaving Ohrid on Thursday, I made my way to Sofia via Skopje. The bus to Skopje was easy enough, however the bordercrossing between Macedonia and Bulgaria took a fair bit of time. Since you are entering the European Union, the Bulgarian border control is pretty stringent and I ended up waiting outside the bus for 2 hours while the bus was put on a hoist and checked for contraband in every conceivable spot. It was pretty cold there in the mountains during the night and I was happy to finally get into Sofia. The hostel picked me up from the bus station and I got straight into a good party at the hostel; a great welcome to the country!

I had been to Bulgaria before a few years ago, while backpacking the area with Michel, but only got to Veliko Tarnovo and Narva, so time to go see what the capital has on offer. Friday was spent strolling through Sofia; some of the buildings are very nice, but a lot of the city is very dirty. Some of the highlights are the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (biggest church on the Balkans) and a restaurant where you have your own private beer tap coming from the wall at the table and you pay at the end by the meter... fantastic invention!. It's interesting to walk around Sofia, but comparing to the other cities I've seen in Bulgaria I couldn't help but be disappointed.

The hostel I'm staying though, Hostel Mostel, is a great place to stay if you ever get to Sofia, free dinner with a beer, and heaps of other good stuff going on. I stayed in a hostel Mostel in Veliko a few years ago as well and got to meet the owner there, he is now opening hostels throughout the country and doing a great job of it!

Unfortunately though, the weather in Sofia was not all that great on Friday and turned to complete shit on Saturday (raining all day, it got colder very quickly and in the evening it was even snowing!). I therefore only left to get a busticket out of this place and for the rest stayed inside, empathizing with the Spanish people that were stuck here because of all the strikes back home. I did see the local market on the way, very interesting and I don't think there is anything you couldn't buy there! When you walk outside in Sofia when it rains, you notice that a lot of the pavement stones are loose and when you unsuspectingly step on the one side, the other side jumps up and water gets splashed up... right up your crotch if you're lucky!

I was originally planning to go to Montenegro via Skopje, but as you might have seen on the news: Montenegro and parts of Bosnia & Serbia are having problems with the high water level - Montenegro even experiencing the worst floods in its history (I know, the country is only 4 years old - but still...)! I therefore decided to go straight to Belgrade instead. So I took the 9 AM bus this morning, and found out I was going in an extremely luxurious Mercedes van with flatscreens, leather chairs, 2 drivers, etc. Not real sure what the reason for this was since I booked the cheapest (eurolines) ticket available - but it sure did help cut the time spent at the border with only 5 passengers on board!

Statue of St. Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria

Statue of St. Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria


Church @ Sofia, Bulgaria

Church @ Sofia, Bulgaria


Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria


Beer tap at the table, great restaurant!

Beer tap at the table, great restaurant!


Main square, Sofia, Bulgaria

Main square, Sofia, Bulgaria


Small kiosks at knee level

Small kiosks at knee level


Church, Sofia, Bulgaria

Church, Sofia, Bulgaria


Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria


Local brew, Bulgaria

Local brew, Bulgaria

Posted by reinder.prins 16:00 Archived in Bulgaria

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