I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to go home the same way. Travel is no exception: when I arrived in Greece via Macedonia, the road turned home towards Bulgaria. When they reached almost the southernmost point of Europe, they did not want to travel home yet, the road meandered in small serpentines, and the Aegean Sea was still visible in the distance. The same was in Ukraine, Kiev tour guides showed me such places that I didn’t want to go back.
Farewell to Greece was a bit surprising – we had lunch in a very small town with a central square of about 20 sq. M. m in size, next to stood a little church, a kiosk, whose employee was sitting outside and chatting with friends, such, it seems, the normal life of a small town boiled. Quite unexpectedly, a man from the said company approached us, placed two portions of ice cream on the table, and said in barely understandable English: here from us – Greek…
That was our last impression of Greece.
Arriving in Sofia
Early Monday morning and finding out that it was a holiday, we were able to park for free, right in the center of Sofia, and go out to explore the city. Saying that we left the car in the city center, I did not joke – the main object of the city of Sofia – Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, stood no further than 30 meters.
For a long time we circled around the city and the Cathedral itself, though, to me personally, neither the temple nor the city of Sofia left much admiration. Apparently, after typing Sofia into Google search in vain, I only found many images of this Cathedral.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
One of the largest Orthodox houses of worship in the world and one of the most striking symbols of the city of Sofia. The cathedral covers an area of 3,170 m2 and can accommodate up to 5,000 people, and was completed in 1912. and was recognized as a cultural monument as early as 1924.
I like cities: wandering through unfamiliar streets, drawing past routes in memory and feeling the weight of a pocket, because of the paper map lying in it, which is usually found in information centers – both useful and a souvenir.
Unfortunately, no information center was open in Sofia on the holiday. We didn’t despair, because as one of my friends wisely said, “You bring emotions and impressions from the trip.”
Sofia left her peculiar impressions and memories: I danced at the fountain, played music in the park, tasted a strangely delicious dish – cold beetroot without beets (!)
With a pinch of onions, before going to the mosque I was forced to put on a cloak covering my head, , well, and I came across a somewhat brutal, cold, Soviet architecture that breathed beyond every corner of the street.
As the language has already shifted towards architecture, I will probably mention a few of my insights in Sofia: as in other cities in the Balkans, there is multiculturalism, minaret peaks, and mosques hiding among 21st-century buildings, and on the outskirts of the city I noticed another modern jar.
Grocery stores where we can replenish oil stocks, as there are quite a few kilometers towards home (more on the subtleties of traveling to the Balkans can be found in the links at the end of the text).
We wandered into the sleeping areas, where the monument of Soviet heritage boasted large-panel panel apartment buildings.
The main and most visited objects of the city are very close to each other and within easy walking distance. I had a hard time reading Cyrillic, but I was able to identify the names of the main objects.
There was a theater on the edge of the park, a courthouse on one of the main streets and a national palace at the end of the street (the 1981 building perfectly reflects the ideas of Soviet modernism – a monumental, concrete volume, blending in a harmonious and symmetrical environment).
When you live only in this moment and don’t have a travel plan, you can’t judge what’s good and what’s not because you just don’t know. We also did not know what awaited us next, so when we agreed that Sofia would remain a small stop for us, we set off on our way to Romania.
Instead of the end
Travel can be written in a variety of ways: numbers, tickets, ticket prices, museum exhibit ratings, memories, miles traveled, routes covered, repertoires of performances seen, or even the number of hotel stars, but I choose to tell the adventures we constantly get into.
Although when you go to Sofia, you will be able to see many of the objects I have seen (and some of the ones mentioned), but you will not necessarily get caught in the sandstorm that struck us on the way to the ferry across the Danube. We had two options to cross the Danube – by bridge or by ferry.
Like, true adventurers, we chose a longer road and ferry, but as we approached the ferry, the wind grew stronger and the trees overturned on the driveway of the road caused more and more anxiety. We found ourselves in a cloud – a thick cloud of sand and wind. After driving for a while, the dirty fog gradually dissipated, but the rising wind did not promise anything good.
Already very close to the ferry, we were greeted by another bad sign, we passed more than a couple of kilometers long tractor column. All the trucks were parked on the curb with the engines turned off. When we reach the ferry, we find out – due to bad weather, the ferry does not sail, it will sail maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, no one knows anything exactly.
In the end
We had to make a decision – to wait without knowing how much or to go back and choose the path with the bridge over the Danube. While considering the options, we poured oil into the tank and the driver of the tractor approached us, a little laughing but not at all surprised by our fuel oil, offering to bring diesel from his tank of the tractor. Laughing, we refused and before the storm hit, we went to look for a bridge across the Danube! If you are interested in various great people to hang with while exploring a city – check out showaround.com and meet great people!