Sofia (and Rila)

Sofia Travel Blog

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Alexander Nevski Church, Sofia
The start to our trip around Bulgaria honestly couldn't have been worse. First of all, we'd had to cope with being interrupted in the middle of the night by cigarette smugglers who were unscrewing all the lights in the ceiling of the train, stashing a load of cartons in, screwing it back, walking away, then coming back after the border control had passed.

Then, we arrive and try to buy a phone card to phone a hostel to book it for the night. We end up buying a top-up  card instead, adn then realise we have no Bulgarian money. So we just decided to head to the hostel anyway. Then, we're standing at the tram stop waiting for the tram (obviously) and we're trying to work out what time its coming etc, and this guy offers to help us, and next thing I know I find his hand in my handbag and was trying to nick my money! So I started screaming at him, and walked off.
Rila Monastery
Then we bought our tickets, tram arrived, we got on, and stood there rather pissed off. Then the ticket inspectors get on and scream at us in Bulgarian for not having stamped our tickets when we got on (we didn't know...), they charged us 7lv (the ticket itself had only cost 0.70lv I think!), took our tickets and chucked us off the tram. So we just stormed off, sat in a cafe, looked really miserable and drank some seriously strong coffee before getting on the next one!

When we arrive in the centre, we went to the hostel we'd planned on going to, and it was full booked...so they phoned up another one, reserved rooms for us and a Japanese girl who was in the same predicament, and off we went together! Our hostel was fantastic though, we were in a 12-bed dorm, which was completely full.
Khwan, Alexis and John
And all of us bonded well together. There was a German guy, John, who was working in Scotland who decided to take us on a tour of Sofia as he knew the city well.  So within very little time of our arrival at our hostel, we were off marching around the city, saw the cathedral, the park, the cultural centre.

We decided to visit Vitosha which was pretty awesome, although absolutely freezing - we'd left the heat of the city in shorts and vest tops and by the time we got up there, we were so cold we had to drink a cup of coffee, and then give up the idea of walking down and got the cable car back down! We then had to sit and wait for our two friends who had walked down and after about 2 hours we gave up, hoped they wre ok, and when we got back to the hostel we found out they were there and had somehow made it all the way down the mountain and back to the hostel before us!

We also took a trip to Rila.
Me poking pretzel sticks into drunken, sleeping, Alexis' ear.
Which was good. Although it only took us about half an hour to wander round and attempt to take loads of arty picks of the bricks! Then we sat down and ate lunch while we waited for the next bus to arrive!

Sofia was absolutely fantastic, we really enjoyed our time there, and even went back for a couple days on our way home! (Admittedly we were catching our plane from there, but we chose to go back a few days before so we could have some more fun!)
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Alexander Nevski Church, Sofia
Alexander Nevski Church, Sofia
Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery
Khwan, Alexis and John
Khwan, Alexis and John
Me poking pretzel sticks into drun…
Me poking pretzel sticks into dru…
The rain!!
The rain!!
Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery
Rila
Rila
View from Mt Vitosha from the cabl…
View from Mt Vitosha from the cab…
Me with two of the Englsih guys we…
Me with two of the Englsih guys w…
Wall of Rila Monastery
Wall of Rila Monastery
Alexander Nevski
Alexander Nevski
Angel Rays on Mt Vitosha
Angel Rays on Mt Vitosha
Rila
Rila
Me, again, with John, Khwan and on…
Me, again, with John, Khwan and o…
Bell Tower at Rila
Bell Tower at Rila
Village around Rila
Village around Rila
Arches of the chapel at Rila
Arches of the chapel at Rila
Church next to Alexander Nevski Ca…
Church next to Alexander Nevski C…
A. Nevski
A. Nevski
Sofia
photo by: Luci26