Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

First Visit to Sofia



Alexander Nevski Cathedral

Last week Vince had a job interview in Sofia. The minute he told me, I got to work convincing him that we should book a room for the night and spend some time in the city.

My previous encounters with Sofia include little more than the airport and highway leading in and out.

I figured now was as good a time as any to change that.

Vince agreed (probably because he didn’t want to be driving the 3-4 hours home to Smolyan in the dark) and I went online to book a room at a hostel in the center of the city.

Luckily, fellow bloggers Lauren (Baby in Bulgaria) and her husband, Martin (Photo Life Site), who live in Sofia, graciously agreed to show me around a bit while Vince was at his interview.

We met up in front of the hostel, which was located near most of Sofia’s major attractions, and began our walk around the city center.

I’ll admit, I was intimidated. I have gotten used to sleepy little Smolyan; so busy, noisy Sofia was quite a shock. Add to that the fact that I was meeting Lauren and Martin for the first time, and I was definitely out of my element.

Our walk around the center was a great introduction to the city. I would have preferred a little less fog and warmer temperatures, but it was still beautiful.

We even stopped for a quick bite to eat at Subway. It was comforting to taste a little bit of home, but I quickly realized that I am completely helpless by myself in the city. I couldn’t even order a simple sandwich on my own! I am eagerly looking forward to the day that I don’t need a round-the-click translator.

(Photos after the jump!)

After walking back to the hostel and bidding farewell to my lovely guides (thanks again, Lauren and Martin!), I waited for Vince to meet me. Turns out, his job interview was quick and he was already back.

We went to a Chinese restaurant near our hostel (where we had a private room and bathroom nicer than many hotels I have stayed in) and, as always, ordered way more food than we could eat. Unlike most other restaurants we have been to in Bulgaria, this one gave us boxes to take our leftovers home in. Our room had a balcony and we just set the food outside. It was plenty cold enough! I love Chinese, so eating it again for lunch the next day wasn’t a problem for me.

We had originally planned on walking around some more in the city, but we decided we just wanted to get home. Before leaving the city, we stopped at Ikea. Of course, being Ikea, it wasn’t a quick visit. I always feel like a mouse in a maze in that place. It wasn’t an entirely useless visit, however, we picked up some new pillows, a garbage can for our bedroom, and some lint rollers (I have LOTS of hair and tend to shed more than most humans!).

Then we hit the road for our drive home. Thankfully, traffic wasn’t bad and we made it home in around 3 hours, which is really good considering it can take more than 4 hours even in the summer when the roads aren’t covered in ice and slush.

It was a brief introduction to the city, but I am thankful  we made the decision to spend the night.

If Vince gets the job (fingers crossed), we’ll be moving to Sofia. As much as we need the job, I am not looking forward to the prospect of yet another move; but I’m sure I would adjust quickly and it would be nice to have some friends nearby.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, some snapshots of Sofia:

Svete Nedelya--Church of St. Nedelya


Banya Bashi Mosque

Banya Bashi Mosque


Presidential Bldg.-- I was too chicken to go up to the guards!


Rotunda of St. George


St. Nicholas Russian Church



What a gorgeous building!

I hope to spend more time in the city learning more about all these amazing buildings. Until then, I hope the photos do them some justice!


7 thoughts on “First Visit to Sofia

  1. Pingback: 2012: A Year in Review « Girl Meets Bulgaria

  2. WooW! You had a great pictures here in this post. I love those buildings! Human’s masterpiece!! When I visit Sofia some day, I should be here. 🙂

    Well done.

  3. Next time you’ll get your picture with the guards 😀 I (selfishly) hope you guys move to Sofia! I’m sure you’d adjust in no time.

  4. If you move to Sofia, I’ll gladly help with any advice you may need. So keeping my fingers crossed!

  5. I loved that cathedral too! I took pictures of nearly all the same things you did when I visited for a day.

  6. i love Sophia, although i know it from the 7-ties – it’s the whole atmosphere there that’s intriguing to me.

  7. Hey, that’s near where I work! I hope he gets the job. Let us know if you are in town again. Sasha and I would be fun to meet you.

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