Belgrade to Sofia overnight. When catching it, I had a long time running throw the carriages trying to choose the one with fewer gypsies. Hard choice. At the very end one with two Spanish guys, doing an inter-rail. Best option. Reclining seats to horizontal position and a night sleep (with at least 3 ticket checks and 4 passport controls). The night landscape outside was one of foggy shadows. At 7am I wake up, the sun is rising and the trains is stopped for an hour. It broke down. Two hours of good sleep later it arrives safely in Sofia.
Surprisingly small Sofia
Only to try I talked to Asia and Styilian to know if they were in Sofia. As a lucky guess, Asia was and we arrange to meet there. As I enter a coffee shop to wait for her, I feel her hugging me.
A tour around the city was made in an afternoon, it has a lot of beautiful things to see. I’m still amazed by one of the orthodox churches, by the side of the road it stands whit very different architecture and inside a beautiful painted ceiling darken by the time. See its exterior and interior, here and here.
Resting, and at night partying in Sofia night.
Funny thing: didn’t get to take a photo but in Bulgaria there is some funny shops called Klek shops, where you kneel (being Klek the movement of kneeling in Bulgarian) to talk to the shop owner and buy your stuff. I didn’t manage to take a photo but take a look here.
Because one day was enough to see all of Sofia, Asia decided to take me to the North with some of her friends to see a strange rock formations a fortress and a fortress that lies in front of it.
The way there of landscapes painted in yellow, shades of brown and little spots of green. Autumn here really shows its beauty.
The fortress is now part of the initial rocks, and the rocks have a nice legend to it. How they emerge from the green is incredible, and they extend for miles in the horizon.
A sleepy ride back to Sofia. And again, another good night of partying with Asia and her friends.
Next day rested and went to Plovdiv by train. Even Asia had problems figuring out the platform, glad I had her with me. My Cyrillic is none, didn’t had time to figure out which is which in the Latin alphabet. And in Bulgarian I can only say “Na zdravi” (cheers).
Said goodbye to Asia in the train station, enter for the first time in a train with carpets.
– Thank you so much Asia for those days with you and your family, was really nice to see you again. Hope we do it again back in Amsterdam –
Every Bulgarian that I know recommended me this place. It was on the way so might as well make a stop right?
Well, glad that I did. The search on the web didn’t promise much, some ruins and not much.
Forget it! A good choice it was!
I must say that the hostel made the whole experience way better. A classic house, national monument of culture, fully restored, and for 10€ a night I had a 3 bed room (all for myself, lucky me) even with lavender on the pillow, classy touch.
Most of the houses in the old town belong to someone important, either artists or rich merchants. They alone make Plovdiv a cozy place to be in and spend some days.
In the third day I already felt like home and I was sad to leave. One day I want a house like that and want it in the old style, restored and with all kind of vintage stuff.
I expected more from the ruins, but except for the theater all else is still a work in progress it seems. But I’ll have time to get sick of ruins in Turkey.
A day of staying at the hostel, getting lazy, planning Turkey, watching movies. The next day to visit the theater and sitting there writing the entire afternoon. That night, overnight bus to Istanbul.
Plovdiv. Doesn’t quite live to the history it has, and culture and patrimony got a bit messed up along the way, still, that doesn’t take the place of one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Europe.