Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia Travel Blog

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We took off from Gatwick at half 6 on the Monday morning and flew out to the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. We arrived there just before lunch and since we had no luggage in the hold exited the airport quickly. We jumped in the first taxi we saw (big mistake - only on leaving the airport did we spot the yellow taxis and the ones that we had been advised to get...we ended up paying triple the price!) and went to our hotel, literally 10 minutes from where we'd landed.

Once we had checked in and checked out the room, we headed 50meters outside to the bus stop. We new we had the right number bus (114) but as we approached the driver was blocking the door to get on...we asked if it was going to the centre and he said yes centre in broken, but friendly, English.
He didn't really seem to know how much money he wanted so we offered him 2 lev (£1) and he said yes and gave us two tickets (each with 1 written on them) After about 15 minutes he tapped the window and said yes (which we presumed meant city centre!) and we thanked him for helping us out (1st impression of Bulgarian people was a good one!)

Strangely, however, we didn't seem to be in a city centre...in fact, there didn't seem to be one at all! However, we were by a park with a nice lake and strolled around that looking for any signs or maybe a tourist information office (TIO).

Once we had given up searching for the non-existent TIO we looked up and noticed a huge monument/statue over the trees and decided to head towards that. It was situated in the middle of another park and near to a small skate/bmx park.
Once here, we spotted yet more large buildings over the trees and headed towards them each in turn until we reached the Cathedral - a most spectacular building and well worth the visit to sofia in itself. Here we managed to buy a map and a postcard and could plan our next course of action.

Using the map, we managed to find a bit more of a commercial centre, with shops, pedestrian zone and even a macdonalds! thinking we'd be safe with macdonalds we grabbed lunch and headed towards the Culture building and a TIO. We passed many of the communist looking, run down buildings that were peoples homes and eventually arrived at yet another huge park with the building we were looking for.

Amazingly, the culture building has nothing inside it. It sort of looked like a giant trade hall I guess (like the NEC in England) and there were at most 6 people walking around it.
The macdonalds hadnt gone down to well and so finding a toilet was necessary and yet difficult. The first ones were locked but eventually (on the 7th and top floor) we found them before moving on back to the commercial centre in search of a sew on badge for my girlfriends blanket.

Our search was unsuccessful so we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel (15 lev) and get ready for our evening meal. Once showered and changed we headed out of the hotel to where we thought we had seen a few restaurants - they turned out to be cafes and closed! Looked like we would be eating in the hotel (and probably paying over the odds!)

The meal was quite expensive and not exactly the greatest food either but we were hungry and didnt have much choice. Once we had finished we grabbed a drink in the bar and realised it was more expensive to drink downstairs as from the minibar in our room, where we would at least have a TV and some entertainment. We headed back to the room, disappointingly, and had a few beers, vodka and wine before going to sleep.
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Sofia Hotels & Accommodations review
Decent Hotel Close to Airport
The hotel itself was great - 4* speaks for itself. The room (standard double) was large, with huge bed, cable tv, minibar and en suite bathroom. H… read entire review
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photo by: Luci26