Day 1 – Arrival at Sofia, Bulgaria

I couldn’t sleep the night before and was very excited/nervous/anxious, excited mostly. Reading and listening about all the situation going on in the very countries I am going was not helping.

So I ate lamb shashlik with Melih and Derya and came back home at 17:00. I prepared pretty much everything last night. I decided to sleep at 23:00 and wake up at 2:30. I had to catch the night bus from my apartment to central. I woke up at 2:30. Boiled eggs and ate them while half asleep. Then I had two strong coffees. Double checked everything in my backpack, took shower and realized only 10 minutes remaining till bus arrives.

Another good thing about my apartment is, everything is literally downstairs, same applies for the night bus. Went downstairs, and it was very calm and quite outside. Bus came on time and I got in. One picture I took while I was waiting for bus.

Waiting for night bus at Ijburg
Waiting for night bus at Ijburg
The usual grey Netherlands
The usual grey Netherlands

I got off at Central station and after 10 minutes of wait, bus for Eindhoven arrived and I got in, I was half asleep the whole journey to Eindhoven airport.

It was grey and showering in Eindhoven. After passport control (huge relief), I started talking to this guys who lives in Rotterdam but originally from Sofia. It was mostly about refugee situation and Bulgarian things.

Then we got into plane and the couple sitting next to me didn’t speak English so I had to sit quite the whole trip. During the flight, I realized that people drink heavy stuff like whiskey and vodka a lot.

When we started to get closer to Sofia, I could see mountains and I got excited. The plane landed and we came outside to passport control, again I had to explain what I was doing here and for how long. But the guy at desk was very friendly and funny.

View from Sofia Airport
View from Sofia Airport

After getting out of airport, I realized it was very hot. Just like in Karachi. Now I had to find Metro to city center. I was advised by a girl that I should take shuttle bus to Terminal 2 and from there I can take metro which I did.

After that, I took metro and on the metro I saw two backpackers, I went to chat with them. They were a Polish and Bulgarian couple. We had talks about travel and mountains and food. They got off one stop before me.

After getting off metro, I started walking towards hostel I booked on Airbnb. On the way, I took several pictures. Following are some of them

 

I arrived at hostel and had a bit of chit chat with girls at reception. I went upstairs in shared dorm and took a power nap. Here is how hostel looked.

 

After the nap for 5 mins, I wanted to eat something. I asked the girl at the reception and she suggested a place which was close to hostel. Hostel also happen to have option to rent bike which is like 8 euros for a day, so I rented the bike. I went to the restaurant called Hadjidragonov’s Cellar and it was indeed a nice place. Some pics of interior

 

I asked the waiter for recommendation as the menu was very comprehensive and he suggested roasted lamb meat and a local beer and I said hell yeah. Meat was awesome but beer was like Heineken. But don’t take my words for it as I am not a beer person. Then for dessert I went for cookie cake which was also awesome

 

All that food for 15 euros. After I was full, I decided to explore city even though I felt very tired. I cycled around and went to some famous places like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Russian Church Sofia and National Theater. I took some timelapse on those places, here are some pictures

 

Then I came back to square at National Theater and sat there next to fountain for sometime. I felt so tired. But one thing I noticed that park was full of people with friends and family. After spending sometime there I went to super market and bought fruits and stuff for tomorrow morning hike.

After that, I came back to hostel and had chit chat with people and reception and then I sat in garden. There was this guy from Netherlands who now lives in Australia, man he was all over the places. Even to the parts of Pakistan where I never went and will never go! Had an hour long chat with him and then I went outside again to see how Sofia look at night, walked around took some pictures, here is one

A fountain in Sofia

After a while there, I came back to hostel and chat with this German guy on various topics.. After that I decided to call it a day and went upstairs to sleep and slept like a child.

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