Travel Travel Blogger

Postcards from Sofia (Part 1) – Falling in love with Bulgaria

Reasons why you should go to Bulgaria. And why we always come back to Bulgaria: We love the country, the outdoors, the skiing, the hiking, the people, the food, the history, the culture, and for digital nomads and budget travellers Bulgaria is a cheap and cheerful place to be based at.

Reasons why you should go to Bulgaria

And why we always come back to Bulgaria: We love the country, the outdoors, the skiing, the hiking, the people, the food, the history, the culture, and for digital nomads and budget travellers Bulgaria is a cheap and cheerful place to be based at.

We rang in the end of 2019 in Sofia!

We checked into the same yellow flat we usually stay at as we arrived at Sofia again in December 2019. There are several ‘homes’ like this in different countries where we love to return to because it really feels like coming home. We know where everything is, the home is familiar, we have our routines for where we put our things, seeing the familiarity of the furniture, the colours, the neighbourhood.

Even so, I often talk about the 2-week period of feeling unsettled when you first arrive somewhere regardless of whether you have been there before. For 2 weeks you will feel like you have lost your day-to-day rhythm and you will be easing yourself into this new routine for where you are. We try to start a routine again as quickly as possible in our new base town.

We arrived a few days before New Year’s Eve and celebrated with a homecooked dinner in our rented flat and cracked open a couple of bottles of bubbly. When the clock struck midnight we almost missed it while watching Jumanji on Netflix but the sudden flurry of fireworks being set off from the balconies in the neighbourhood reminded us to hit pause, clink our glasses (cheering with neighbours on various floors in the buildings across the streets!), and wrap a blanket around us to watch the neighbourhood fireworks going off above our heads.

Falling in love with Bulgaria

Some of our closest friends, who my partner has known since his university days, are Bulgarian and I had the pleasure of meeting them 10 years ago on a trip to Amsterdam where about 30 of us stayed on a houseboat (that’s another story for another time!).

We all shared a love of travel. These friends always insisted that we visit Bulgaria. Both of us had long wanted to travel by train around East Europe. So, when we impulsively decided to go ahead and book this trip one year, naturally we made plans to start this journey in Bulgaria!

We started in Plovdiv and travelled around Bulgaria by trains and coaches stopping at Bansko and Sofia before taking an overnight train to continue to Belgrade in Serbia followed by Montenegro and Croatia. (This was about 6 to 7 years ago when I still had enough energy to be a fast-moving backpacker. Though I would heartily say “Yes!” to bike-touring for a few weeks instead.)

We spent a few days exploring Plovdiv. We hiked in Bansko up a route in the Pirin Mountains led by our local guide George. We learned about Bulgaria’s history in a free walking tour in Sofia (always go on a walking tour if you can).

We had lunch in Sofia in a small, cosy restaurant recommended by the walking tour guide where the waiter was thrilled to meet us Brits. He told us how it was illegal for anyone to listen to pop music while he was growing up and how he secretly had a The Beatles cassette tape album that he loved and listened to repeatedly for years. He told us his biggest dream is to go to Liverpool. We disappointed him by revealing we had never been to Liverpool! I hope he has managed to visit since we spoke to him many years ago.

This is now our fourth time coming to Bulgaria. It is one of our favourite places in the world. This year in 2020 it has also unexpectedly become the longest place we have been based in since we left London in 2017. We’re very happy to make it our home right now.

Have you visited Bulgaria or is it somewhere you’d love to visit one day?

If you’re a digital nomad or remote worker, click here to read where to find coworking spaces in Sofia, Bulgaria!

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