(accommodation that will be changed the day before departure due to a technical mistake of Booking, or rather the chosen hotel).
The choice ? relapse on the 5 Vintage Guest House, which is hidden between two somewhat decadent buildings, I find it an understatement that it is defined as a hostel, why? in reality? ? a 5 bedroom apartment furnished with taste and just the right amount of extravagance, I think it would be defined as a small Boutique hotel. I chose the single room with shared bathroom (spotless), I really couldn't have chosen a better place.
Friday? 17 in spite of superstitions, perhaps? why the flight costs so? shortly, I leave Malpensa for Sofia, arrive at terminal 2 (the new one) by lunchtime, pick up at the Unicredit counter and go to the metro where I buy the ticket to get to the center for 1,90 lev. Here I come up against the first difficulties? linguistic, I have to understand how they translated the "center" stop into our characters, but I discover that it is called Serdika, I try to use Moovit but this time it doesn't work properly, why? the map ? in Cyrillic and does not incorporate many addresses written "in our own way" ... I rely on common sense and leave for the center, it takes about 20 minutes, but you can get to the heart of the city, therefore convenient, then from there in 10 minutes walk to the guest house.
From here I start the odyssey of lunch that you find here, so I won't dwell any further, but with my stomach finally full I set out and arrive in front of the decidedly Soviet-style Palace of Culture, entered for? in a large and well-organized park where children and adults enjoyed the sunny afternoon. The only drawback? represented by the "1300 Years Bulgaria Monument" a shame of concrete and iron in an evident state of neglect, this monument had to represent the past, the present and the future ... Don't go on purpose to see it!
After a ritual frappuccino, I continued my exploration, losing myself in the maze of streets between the center and the park of the University? chasing little shops and art galleries hidden here and there. Wandering around, I arrived at the Open Book Market and between one stall and another I decided that I could also go back to the hotel since another tour of the city was waiting for me at 18pm? on foot (I had already traveled 10km) In fact at 18 pm on time, I found myself at the courthouse (thankfully along Vitosha Bl., is a white building with a colonnade and two big black lions) to participate in the Free Sofia Tour: two hours wandering with a guide (in English) who explains and teaches you something about the city, illustrating the main monuments, the tour takes place every day at 11 am and 18 pm in any weather! Look at the site why? they also offer other walks, but not for free. We were about forty and thanks to Martin we spent a really pleasant evening being able to know a bit of the history of this city? and its historical past. I was able to appreciate the Mosque, the Baths (now a museum), but also the Roman remains with the Rotonda di San Giorgio; the tour ends at the "Alexander Nevsky Cathedral" which in my opinion does not make it, in fact I came back to see its golden domes shine in the sun and? truly a show. I said goodbye to Martin and left for the restaurant I chose for dinner, then back to the hotel: total 15 km traveled!
Saturday I decide to review some of the monuments and churches seen the night before, adding the Synagogue (only from the outside because Saturdays and Sundays are closed) and the two markets you find described here. At 10 am I already? 6km route, the day promises to be challenging. At this point for? I decide to take the metro why? I pushed a lot to the west and I wanted to go back to see the "Alexander Nevsky Cathedral" unfortunately, thanks to the Cyrillic, I am mistakenly stopped, so? I take another metro and finally I reach my destination. Cathedral ? impressive both outside and inside, I allow myself a few minutes for the visit, to take pictures you have to pay 10 lev at the entrance, in my opinion it is not worth it, but since I want to take home a souvenir, I pay and take photos! here I leave again towards the bridge of the Eagles which is about a km away, I pass through the "Knyazheska Garden" park, where I imagined seeing who knows? what majesty, but in reality? there are four eagles on as many colonies in the middle of an intersection. I retrace my steps and find myself in front of the monument dedicated to the Soviet Army: immense !! With this stage my cultural trip ends and I go to put my legs under the table.
I dedicate the afternoon to get lost in other streets and alleys between an art gallery and a hand-painted t-shirt shop and accumulate km, then it starts to rain and so on? do I stop in a café? and from there to dinner ... the hard life of travelers !! After dinner? time to pack, Sunday the alarm rings early to return to Italy.