It's Sofya... Sofia is a girl's name...

by - Sunday, April 07, 2013

Sofia itself is a rather industrial looking city on first look... and after my adventure with the Kontroller the city was going to have to do a lot to make up for my first impression of the city.

The hostel that I stayed in was nice... but completely lacking a common hang-out area.  The hosts were great, and the location really couldn't be beat.

My first day was pretty uneventful.  After getting up at the ass-crack of dawn for my flight, I only walked around for a bit before heading back to the hostel for a nap (that turned into going to sleep for the evening).  My only bunkmate at the time was "Steve", and I could tell already that he was an interesting character.  He was a long-term resident of the hostel, having stayed there over two months already, and he didn't disappoint.  He was on the internet all night long, which many would think was a quiet and unintrusive thing, that is until you hear the *click, click, click* of him hitting his trackpad button all. night. long.  I got another roomie late in the night, and I could tell he was from New Zealand, but that's about it.

Until the morning that is.  Mr. NZ and I had the unfortunate circumstances of bonding over freaky Steve trying to go to sleep around 8am by cocooning himself in his blanket and violently rocking back and forth like a severely autistic kid in a corner (this is totally a generalization by the way... I know that autistic kids do not always sit in corners and rock).  NZ and I just looked at eachother and decided that would be the time to get up.

NZ and I met up again later in the morning at the Free Sofia Walking Tour.  I must say, if you're ever travelling abroad, google a free walking tour in the city you're going to.  They won't disappoint.  Fillip was our tour guide and he did an amazing job.  NZ and I hung out and then went for lunch afterwards.  I must say that the walking tour definitely changed my first impression of the city... there is so much history and Fillip did an excellent job showing us around.

Okay... here's an aside about NZ... the extremely hot (think Severide from Chicago Fire) lawyer who'd recently broken up with his girlfriend of six years and decided to spend four months travelling around Europe.  I *may* have contemplated offering to bear his children at some point many points throughout the day. But enough of the hot guy... I'm hear to talk about travel, not the hottest guy with an accent that I've seen in forever.

Lunch was a Bulgarian feast of sorts.  NZ had this chicken skillet that probably could have fed two, and my lamb dish with roasted potatoes did not disappoint. And freaking cheap.  I'm sure that I paid less than $10 for the meal, and I couldn't finish it.

We wondered back to the hostel because NZ had messed up his Achilles heel and needed a break. We ended up shooting the shit with the guy at the hostel for like three hours. We talked cheesy movies, some stuff about the history of Sofia, and just learned a little bit about life.  A great three hours!

That evening, we ventured out again in search of dinner and to take pictures of the Alexander Nevsky church at night. Why is it that men always get lost? I swear I'm the reason we didn't end up in the suburbs of Sofia that evening!  We failed at finding another Bulgarian meal like we had for lunch, but found an Italian place to eat... a large pasta dish and a beer cost me less than $7.  Totally worth it.

Back to the hostel... freaky Steve was clicking away on the internet, and I went to sleep.  The next day I said goodbye to NZ (who was heading to Macedonia) and I wandered the city for a couple of hours before heading to the airport.  This time I stamped my goddamn bus ticket the second I got on the bus, and then hung out at the airport for a few hours as my flight was delayed.  The Sofia Airport is very quiet... and the security personnel don't wear uniforms (the women were in tight jeans and hooker boots).  I pulled up a spot on the floor (as there was only one plug in the entire airport), watched some TV and then got on my short flight to Bucharest.

My venture to my hostel in Bucharest was far less adventurous than in Sofia... partially because the bus system uses scan cards and not an archaic punch system, and partially because they have announcements about the next stops. Much appreciated!

Next... a couple of days in Bucharest.  I'm about a city behind in my posts as I'm actually heading to Krakow tomorrow, but I'll make sure to keep posting!

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