|Lost In The Woods|
The next day I got up early, got packed up, paid the hostel and set off to find that mysterious bus station again. In order to head back to Sofia. My other half had said that getting a bus was both quicker and cheaper, and of course provided better sightseeing opportunities than a train. Seeing as she had done a helluva lot more travelling than me, I took her word for it. She was correct. Getting the ticket was a bit of a trick, seeing as the lingua franca is Russian, but I did manage to obtain one. Then there was a bit of a misunderstanding regarding the seats, as I hadn't clocked on that that the seat numbers were on the tickets. Somehow I had expected it to be similar to the British system where people just plonk their butts anywhere. I got a mournful look from a Bulgarian grandmother and an international sign language explanation from another. The bus was full, and it was hot. And it only got hotter by the minute because the bus driver didn't want to open any windows or turn on the AC. It became very hard to keep my eyes open.
|Hostel Mostel in Sofia|
After my kip, I go back to the common room of the hostel, get shown a map of where to go, where to eat and what there is to see. Then also with some aid from Google, off I trot.
The Soviet Army
Oh and the monument, sadly scrubbed clean. Still nice and well done and fascinating to walk around and look at. Just not pop-culture referencing nice. So time to walk some more. Oooo, a squirrel... A BLACK SQUIRREL. That looks like a red one! Maybe we should import those into the UK. Oh, but it is the same species as the red one. Never mind then. Damn it was cute though.
The weather is still very nice so I just take my time to walk around the parks of Sofia. It is a nice city, good to spend a couple of days at. But to be honest, Plovdiv was nicer. Sofia is also slightly more expensive but that isn't really saying an awful lot. The one detail I did notice about Bulgaria is that there is not a lot of microbreweries. Which saddened me a little, there are some nice cheap lagers to be had. There was a lot of choice in vodkas and wines, but I prefer my ales. The city is alive, smells clean, and is not crowded with too many tourists. I know there are tourists around because the hostel is teeming with them. But it's not overrun with them like Prague. After much walking, I return back to my hostel to do some more writing and eat.
|Sofia Day One|
|National Museum of History|
I don't think I w
ant to press my luck too much. But I did manage to get into the museum. Which was captivating, the history of Bulgaria is an intriguing hotchpotch of different cultures amalgamating together. The Greeks have been here, The Romans, The Thracians, Bulgarians, the Ottomans and many more. Invaded by Hungarians, Mongolians, Serbs, and many more still. Then of course as can be seen above they have had a lot of input from the Soviets. Then there is the history of the Cyrillic alphabet itself, which remains the only alphabet where we can trace it back to its original creator, Clement of Ohrid. After taking another moment to stop and have some coffee, I take in the view. Specifically, the mountain that Sofia is based right next to. I want to take a photo up there. So again after consulting with Google Maps (Even though it probably did try and get me killed before), I vacate the museum after spending a good two hours walking around. On my way out the guard eyes me up suspiciously with a cigarette in his mouth, doughnut at hand and a big gut. Probably feeling like he should be doing his job, he asked me to hand my bag over so he could search it. Thankfully I only had bottles of water and some apples. Which I had purchased on the way. Which happens to be water from the Devin province, which considering my ultimate purpose of the trip just seemed to make sense. He seemed very disappointed by that.
Unesco Heritage List, it's a beautiful little church located again in a beautiful piece of the country. But again because of budget constraints I couldn't afford to enter but had a good mooch around the building itself. I do now wish I had paid to go in because the frescos in there are so unique and breath taking. After getting my breath back I then decide to walk up to "Жива вода Бояна" which according to Google Translate means "Living Water Boyana". Whilst there I promptly get a little lost in the woods. But I took my time in being lost, the surrounding nature and the woods were just too good to not to do so in.
|The Snail House|
|Church of Saint John Rila/ Lada / Abandoned Bus Shelter|
|The Woods at the foot of Vitosha|
I sit down. Read a little bit and write a bit more. Get to bed and fall asleep. The next day I packed everything up and headed back home. Happy.