Another weekend Trip to Sofia, Bulgaria
Back in June 2016 – As my Fernweh calls me yet again to another weekend trip, I found myself browsing through budget airline websites. I decided that I will book a trip to whereever the cheapest tickets would take me and where I have not been before.
Several hours and pinterest-referencing later, I booked a flight to Sofia, not really knowing what to expect. I have heard of beach areas in Bulgaria, but not really much about Sofia. I am so glad I went as Sofia is amazing!
I am a nature-lover – the feeling of wandering in the middle of nowhere, the fresh air and that feeling when you reach the top of a mountain.
I arrived in Sofia late at night and took a taxi to my AirBnb. I did find out later on from my AirBnb host that they charged my three times as much! The AirBnb had a beautiful view of the mountain and was hosted by a lovely couple and a dog.
A woke up at 5 am on my first day to attempt to go to the Seven Rila Lakes. It turned out it was more difficult than I expected as it was not tourist season and there were barely public transportation running. I went to get a coach, but all signs were in Cyrillic and no one spoke English. I had no clue how to buy a ticket or where the coach would depart. When I nearly gave up, an old man came up to me and with gestures, I somehow managed to tell him where I wanted to go and he guided me to the correct place.
Finally, the coach arrived at another town where I was supposed to take another bus, but again, there were no signs and no English speakers; therefore, I decided to take a taxi, making sure that the meter was turned on. The taxi left me out what I believed to be the ski-lifts that would take me up the mountains. Little did I know that he dropped me off 5km before that by the tourist information! Could anything else go wrong??
I found out at the information desk that there were no busses going that way and that the only option would be to walk there and so I did. I walked and I walked. It was hot and I was the only person on that route. At that moment, I suddenly remembered the movie 127 hours. Remember the part where he went a bit crazy and realised how he did not tell anyone where he was going? Well, not a good memory to have in that moment lol.
After what seems to be an eternity, I reached a junction with signs in cyrillic alphabet only. Well, that one symbol appears to look a bit like a ski-lift, so I decided to take that turn. It was uphill and after 30min. I reached a little farm. With gestures and a few words of English, the owner told me that I took the wrong turn and will have to walk back for 30min.
Will I ever reach the Rila Lakes??
Another thought popped into my mind – I’m sure I saw signs at the tourist center with photos of bears on them….
After another hour or so, I finally, finally reached the ski-lift! And it was so worth it! I have to admit I am a bit of a scary-cat, so being on that ski-lift made me quite nervous, but oh the view! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hike the whole route to see all 7 lakes as it was already late and I was exhausted by the time I got there!
Now, how do I get back to where I came from without public transport? No working phone to call a taxi? This trip has definitely been the most unorganised trip I have experienced and I’m not gonna lie, I did kinda panic for a bit. But what’s a girl gotta do? So, I strapped my rucksack back on, and started walking and walking.
So, this is probably the part that I shouldn’t tell my parents and family! And I probably would not do it again out of safety reason, but I was so desperate that moment! At the same time, I was really lucky! A car stopped and with a couple inside and I recognised them from up the mountain, they asked if I needed a ride and I agreed (definitely would not have agreed if only a guy was in the car). There were a couple from Canada and they were driving to Sofia as well, so they took me all the way back to Sofia, which I was so so grateful for!
As a solo traveller, safety is a big issue and you should always trust your instincts! I was lucky that time, but I have learnt to plan and research more thouroughly before I take off for an adventure!
DAY 2 – Free Hike Tour and Exploring Sofia
On my second day, I went to explore Sofia and ate amazing Bulgarian food. I found a free hike tour on the internet, which is donation based and decided to give it a try. I was the only one that day as it is not holiday season. My guide was this laid-back, vegan, yogi guy who had his own Reggea band. We went up to see the Boyana Falls. The hike was tiring, but definitely doable! We chatted about travelling and different languages and I had the best time!
DAY 3 – Relaxing and Illustrating
On my last day, I wandered around Sofia to take some more pictures and to do some painting. I had more amazing food and then took the metro one last time to get back to the airport…
If you haven’t been to Sofia before, I would definitely recommend it. It is beautiful and there is a lot of wonderful trips you could do. Just make sure you do your research! Learn from my mistakes! 😉
I am still new to video editing, so bear with me! If anyone has any advice on why the black frame is moving and super shaky? Must have something to do with the settings when I edited it, but I have no idea what exactly. I would be super grateful for some tips and advice! 🙂