First impressions of sofia, bulgaria – loyalty traveler

After a full Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria walking around for ten hours and snapping loads of photos, I developed initial impressions of the city. Bulgarian food market I like to get down my initial impressions of a place before time and exposure changes my perceptions. Bulgarian food los angeles So, in no particular order of importance, here are some of my thoughts about Sofia, after 36 hours experiencing the city.

I thought this might be one of the more difficult places I have visited in Europe as a tourist for finding people who speak English.

Bulgarian food london People on the streets I asked for directions generally spoke English better than I expected. Bulgarian food las vegas Most shop clerks spoke sufficient phrases of English to help me out. Bulgarian food ireland Several were fluent English speakers.

I had a much easier time communicating with the maid at the hotel in Sofia compared to the maid in Amsterdam. Bulgarian food in usa Most public signs and restaurant menus are in Bulgarian and English, although some restaurants outside the main city center were only Bulgarian menu.

I arrived in the city center by Metro from the airport and exited at Serdika, the city center station where Sofia’s two tram lines intersect. Bulgarian food in london The Metro is new and modern and stations looked very clean to me.

Serdika is a large underground crossroads with pedestrian tunnels filled with Roman and 6th century ruins excavated when the Metro was built in the past decade.

There are so many ruins here they just leave them sitting by the walls of the Metro pedestrian tunnels. Bulgarian food in las vegas There are also lots of shops in the Metro tunnels.

One line of Sofia Metro terminates at Sofia Airport. Bulgarian food in chicago The price is 1.60 LEV (90 cents USD) for a ride anywhere on the system. Bulgarian food europe City bus and trams are same price. Bulgarian food dishes You use the ticket to enter the Metro gate and no need to check out with your ticket when you exit the Metro.

I arrived in Sofia city center in the rain at dusk. Bulgarian food co uk Outside on the streets I was surrounded by immense buildings at Serdika. Bulgarian food chicago On a Sofia Free Walking Tour last night, our guide said the Serdika area was bombed in World War II and the Russians rebuilt the area with grand Stalinist architecture.

One of the first things I became aware of walking around Sofia is watch your step. Bulgarian food bank There are many uneven and broken sidewalks and some pitfalls to avoid on the streets.

Sidewalk repair or caution signs does not appear to be a budgetary priority.

The most expensive purchase I have made so far was a $3 toothbrush after losing mine somewhere between Amsterdam and Sofia. Bulgarian food and drink prices $1.00 USD = 1.85 BGN. Bulgarian food and drink I withdrew 200 BGN ($108 USD) from the airport ATM for 3 days in Bulgaria. Bulgarian food I have to do some shopping today to spend all that cash.

A couple of Metro rides, a toothbrush, a tip to the Sofia Free Tour guide, 7 pints of beer and 2 restaurant meals and I have only spent 40 BGN ($22) in 36 hours. Bulgarian elections 2016 Beer has averaged 2.30 BGN for 0.5L at a pub. Bulgarian elections 2014 Less than half that price in the store.

I like Sundays in Europe. Bulgarian elections 2009 Sofia seemed like a working city in some places and a relaxation city in other places on Sunday.

Vitosha is a long pedestrian shopping boulevard and a center of city activity.

At one end of Vitosha is Serdika and the other end leads to the Park National Palace of Culture.

There were skateboarders and freestyle cyclists practicing their moves on the park steps on a Sunday afternoon.

There is an interesting monument in the park that I was able to research quickly on the web. Bulgarian elections The story is this monument was designed to represent 1,300 years of Bulgaria and unveiled in 1981. Bulgarian easter food The structure soon began to fall apart and has remained enclosed by fencing for the past couple decades.

The extensive fountains of the park must be a beautiful sight in warmer months.

Past the National Palace of Culture I spied the Hilton Sofia.

I walked a little ways past the Hilton into what seems to be a more upscale expat community of Sofia.

Looked pretty closed up on a Sunday, so I headed back through the open park space to the city center.

This city seems very dog friendly and the park was loaded with dog walkers.

The clearing skies exposed the surrounding mountains to view. Bulgarian cuisine the best traditional recipes So far, today is a super fog/smog day and I don’t know if I will get another view of the surrounding mountains before I leave Sofia.

I was walking back along Vitosha to Serdika and my hotel when I happened across the 6pm meeting point for the Free Sofia Walking Tour. Bulgarian christmas food After a day of walking aimlessly around the city, I spent the evening on a 2 hour guided tour of the main city sights.

More on the main sights of Sofia to come. Bulgarian association of food and drink industry I have 150 BGN to go out and spend today before I leave for Gdansk, Poland tomorrow.

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel.

When I visited Sofia, I never needed to use public transportation. Bulgaria women’s national football team I walked from the central train station to the Hilton Sofia and back with no problem.

Was the outdoor art market still there on the overpass over the highway near the McDonald’s and the Hilton?

I have only used public transportation for the Metro ride from the airport. Bulgaria prices for food and drink 2012 Very walkable city.

The overpass is filled with real estate development project posters. Bulgaria national football team results I saw a similar display on another overpass. Bulgaria national football team I think I have walked about 30+ miles around Sofia over 12 hours of walking time between pubs, meals and other activities.

Loyalty Traveler has been my travel writing business since April 2006. Bulgaria food and drink prices 2015 Loyalty Traveler blog is primarily about hotel and airline loyalty programs, hotel brands and airline fare sales and industry news. Bulgaria food and drink prices 2014 Read more…

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