Shivering in Sofia

Posted by jswt | Posted in Bulgaria - Sofia | Posted on 05-02-2012

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So, I’m not sure what I expected to find in Sofia, Bulgaria, but whatever it was ended up far exceeded by what was there. I didn’t go in expecting to have a bias, but since I knew nothing about Bulgaria except that it was close to Serbia (far from my favorite place), and that my good friend R was married to a time to a Bulgarian (who was an awful, awful person) — somewhere along the way, I’d projected a view of Bulgaria which I was happy to find out was completely wrong.

The architecture wasn’t as blocky and russian as I expected – it was beautiful old pillared buildings, and ancient churches, and falling down concrete apartment blocks with bleak character. The people weren’t as gruff and serbian as I expected – everyone we met was super friendly, spoke fantastic english, was helpful and social and interesting. The food was not bland like in russia – we went to many restaurants where the food was *amazing* and so cheap we felt guilty (Seriously – we were eating like kings for under 20 euros, and I could find a great lunch [fresh soup/sandwich/drink] for under 3 euros).

We were in a hotel that was showing it’s age (and didn’t really understand the concept of non-smoking rooms [“but we open window! Look, no smoke!”]), but the fantastic central location made it perfect for wandering and exploring.

Admittedly, my exploring was cut short when jetlag and an afternoon spent in a waiting room at Gatwick airport lumped upon me a nasty cold. With Chris having to go to London for meetings, I spent 3 days curled up under a blanket catching up on work in a cold syrupy, snot filled haze where I was much happier and warmer than wandering around out in the -25c cold snap (brr!).

Getting to meet and eat the little I did, I’ve got to say that I really want to go back to Bulgaria sometime and give it a bit more exploring. There’s a ski hill right on the edge of town in Sofia, and a proper resort a couple hours out that I would really consider for a ski trip sometime… I can only imagine the cafes and nightlife and hiking that would be available in the summer sun, along with their Black Sea resorts… Throw in the friendly people with the serious value with their currency, and I find myself quite fondly looking back on the city, and unexpectedly looking forward to returning to give it a deeper go sometime.