"I'm going to Sofia and I don't know when I'll be back"


shameless selfie with Bulgarian lion

A couple of years ago I made a friend named Sofia. Even though we met in Turkey it turned out we're both living in London, and what's more, have birthday on exactly the same day, same year and everything. So we decided to celebrate it together. Part of our celebration also included dinner with my family. And since Sofia is very lovely and memorable, a couple of weeks after my uncle was randomly asking how's she's doing.

Shortly after that Sofia and her friends were moving out of their house and therefore threw a goodbye party. At that time I was home alone with my uncle, who was also at work when news came in, so I dropped him a message saying "I'm going to Sofia, don't know when I'll be back". I slept over at her place before and I wasn't expecting I'll be making my way home late after party, and even though my sentence wasn't fully grammatically correct, I knew my uncle remembers my friend and will understand.

It happened to happen that the second day of my outing I went home with another friend, stayed over and reported to my uncle that I'm returning tomorrow. He replied ''OK'' and the case was closed for me.
Until next morning, when during our morning walk I spotted something that might interest my family, took a shot and send them the picture, to which I received a questioning reply of how I'm enjoying Bulgaria. And I was like, WTF, what do you mean, I'm just over here on the other side of London...

Turned out my uncle understood I actually traveled away (just like that, which wouldn't really be so surprising for me), and during some chat when my relatives were inquiring about me informed them that he has no idea how I'm doing since I went to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.


the stunning Alexander Nevsky cathedral

Well, this time I went for real! My friend (not Sofia) and I were discussing our future exciting travel destinations for this year and before reaching any valuable conclusion my friend suggested we do a quick weekend getaway before that so we found these affordable tickets to Bulgaria (well, my friend did, together with interesting places and a whole exciting weekend plan while I just left me to be led around).
We've arrived there in very early hours when life is still standing still and decided to wait till the metro opens at 5 and takes us to the center. When the time came we walked outside into freezing Bulgarian night and tried to find a shuttle bus that would take us to another terminal and metro station. It happened to me the last time I've been here already that I waited and waited for the airport shuttle with some other people and we just decided to share a cab at the end since it never turned out.
This time it wasn't much different, and after freezing pretty still following our sleepless night we decided to grab a taxi that took us directly to our accommodation, where we waited for the sunrise. We were lucky to get in with only entrance code, as the reception together with all the lounge and common rooms was closed, so we spent the rest of the night waiting in the corridor. It was paid off however, since our room was already ready in the morning and also turned out to be the only one in the building with a balcony overlooking the street.

making friends with locals at Vitosha boulevard

But the adrenaline kicked in, so we head right out, and while passing some hot springs fountains that were steaming through the cold morning, settled for a soup bar. I've never had soup for breakfast before, but thick vegetable brew that you could garnish with croutons and herbs was just the most perfect combination to warm me and bring me back to life.

hot springs by Regional history museum

We continued towards the city center, passing many of attractions that were glowing trough the morning light and reaching the famous Vitosha boulevard, main pedestrian area going through the center of the city, where we encountered small pastry shop that just looked to good not to try. Despite small place that mostly works on takeaway basis, the choice of sweets, cakes, pastry, and even some savory dishes was just incredible, in fact to huge to settle as you were always able to spot a more attractive piece, so we both ended up with two cakes and a nice cup of coffee.

the wonderful cake selection at beginning of Vitosha boulevard promenade

Refreshed and warmed up we continued our way south all the way to the Palace of culture, an interesting building from the 80's build in a futuristic style. Looking inside I was impressed by golden decor and long chandeliers build of numerous round bulbs hanging over main spaces. What's more, we very randomly crashed into graduation ceremony of medical students that was held in the main hall.
golden chandeliers in Palace of culture

As sun was shining pretty bright now, but earth wasn't heating up particularly yet, we decided to get closer to it and visited rooftop bar at hotel Sense with an amazing view towards the famous Alexander Nevsky cathedral. Warmed by some lovely herbal tea and sun rays piercing through grand glass windows, environment was just perfect enough to take a nap, so we headed back to our hostel.

beautiful view from Sense rooftop bar

However I felt too excited about the whole journey and too restless to stay there. As it was too cold for random sightseeing, it was time to find a better activity for the afternoon. While already experiencing free walking tour, Sofia is also the first city that came up with an idea of free food tour called Balkan bites, an amazing upgrade. For the difference to the original, they'll take you to some interesting restaurants and bars, some popular by locals, some serving very traditional food and couple of unique places with interesting concepts and vibes. The best part is each of them will offer you a specialty to taste, including local wine and after the whole tour you'll feel just like having a proper meal.

Low waste Gerafa winery, where you can return bottles for refill

But Bulgaria is a land of many wonderful tastes and therefor we still headed out for dinner in one of the traditional restaurants of  Hadjidraganov's Houses, decorated in very old fashioned way with even live music playing by your table, and my favourite, spicy wine that was induced with 24 herbs.

musicians accompanying our dinner

This time we've only spent one night in the Capital, as our journey continued towards spa town of Velingrad, but I've previously created a guide how to entertain yourself during a longer visit, based on most touristy and fun things to do. 

   

Comments

  1. What a nice places 😊 thanks for your sharing 😊

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  2. That's a hilarious story with your uncle!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

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  3. What a wonderful place hun.


    xoxo
    Lovely Amusan
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  4. What a lovely story with your Uncle, how sweet! Gorgeous photos too, it sounds great xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

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  5. Funny story about how your uncle thought you went to the capital of Bulgaria when in fact you were styling at a friend's house. As you noticed yourself, it was probably not a surprising conclusion after the sentence 'I'm going to Sofia' since you travel a lot. It is lovely you met this girl Sofia who shares your birthday...and it is great that you also visited Bulgaria. How cool you got to visit Sofia. That whole free Balkan food idea Sofia (the city) came up with sounds great! I was supposed to visit Sofia once but I got sick so I had to cancel the trip. I hope to visit it some day. Lovely photos!

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  6. Haha the story about your uncle made me laugh!! Although to be fair to him I think I would've assumed the same thing!
    It looks so gorgeous here, I love your photos!

    Georgia Rose
    X

    http://www.justgeorgiarose.com

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  7. Hahaha that was pretty funny. I would love to get to Bulgaria one day. I ran in to an old friend at FW and he has been living all over Eastern Europe. I think maybe one day I could go visit him. Love the photos!

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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  8. amazing photos and that's a cool story!
    xoxo
    style frontier

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  9. I love that you actually went there with your friend; I hope you had the most amazing time! These photos are lovely :) I hope you're having a great week so far....


    aglassofice.com x

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  10. I enjoyed this story so much! Your snaps kinda remind me of disposable camera ones haha. I definitely chuckled when I read about your uncle's misunderstanding :')

    brineandbooks.com

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  11. This was such a fun story to read! Your uncle actually thought you left for Bulgaria, it is hilarious! Anyhow, the city looks beautiful - I hope I get to visit it some day too xx

    Naya
    www.nayatilly.com

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  12. Such a funny story!
    I would like to visit Sofia !!!

    Expressyourself

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  13. How funny you got to visit the place your uncle thought you were in, in the end! looks like you had a great first day there :)

    Hope you're having a great weekend :)

    Away From Blue

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  14. Ha ha funny story about both Sofia :-)
    That's awesome that you had a chance to visit the second Sofia too. So lovely pictures :-)

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  15. Hahahaha thank you for sharing.
    https://www.melodyjacob.com/?m=1

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  16. I wish I lived in Europe. So many amazing countries you can visit over the weekend. I am so jealous. I don't really know much about Bulgaria but it sounds lovely. Not sure about soup for breakfast, but on a freezing cold morning, I imagine it would be very comforting.

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  17. Beautiful photos. I need to visit.

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  18. Thank you for such a wonderful post!
    very inspiring!
    http://www.recklessdiary.ru/

    ReplyDelete

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