that time we went to Sofia, Bulgaria

Monday, March 23, 2015

A few years ago while on a skiing holiday in Borovets, Bulgaria hubby and I did the unthinkable. We gave up a day on the slopes, found a willing taxi driver and left the safety of our all-inclusive resort (much to our friends and tour guides disgust) for a day of unplanned adventure in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria...

Lake Iskar in winter - Bulgaria
Lake Iskar in winter - Bulgaria

Along the freezing cold, slippery fifty-five minute drive that really should have taken about seventy-five minutes (yep, our taxi driver was a bit of a speedster!) we passed by Lake Iskar - Bulgaria's largest inland lake. The water shone like glass in the crisp air and glittery sunlight.

our ride to and from Sofia - parked up while I snapped photos of beautiful Lake Iskar - Bulgaria
our ride to and from Sofia - parked up while I snapped photos of beautiful Lake Iskar - Bulgaria

We arrived in Sofia slightly traumatised by the drive and were surprised to find a very quiet city considering Sofia has a population of 1.3 million. It was a few days before New Years eve, and it seemed like most locals were staying warm indoors.

outside St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - Sofia, Bulgaria
outside St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - Sofia, Bulgaria

First up we visited the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world.

To this day it is the most memorable cathedral I've ever visited. Mostly because it scared the socks off me! It was very dark inside, and right in the centre was a ginormous painting of God pointing his finger down at you. It was honestly terrifying, and I can only imagine all the children who have been brought to this cathedral over the years and been told sternly by their parents 'God is watching'.

exiting an underground walkway - Sofia, Bulgaria
exiting an underground walkway - Sofia, Bulgaria

Over the course of the day we walked from one end of the central city to the other, admiring/gaping at the architecture and statues, and hopelessly looking for somewhere where we might find a bite to eat. We did have success in this late in the day, coming across a crowded little restaurant that had live piano music. It was warm - and we were happy!

a lion guards the Court House in the afternoon sun - Sofia, Bulgaria
a lion guards the Court House in the afternoon sun - Sofia, Bulgaria

wandering down Vitosha Boulevard, Sofia
wandering down Vitosha Boulevard, normally one of the busiest streets in Sofia...
it felt a bit like a ghost town

looking back down Vitosha Boulevard as the sun set - Sofia, Bulgaria
looking back down Vitosha Boulevard as the sun set - Sofia, Bulgaria

We amused ourselves by pulling faces in shop windows. There was no one around to see but us...

reflections - Sofia, Bulgaria
reflections - Sofia, Bulgaria

Our last stop for the day before heading back to the slopes was the famous Soviet Army Monument - one of the last remaining Soviet monuments still standing in Europe. 

The Soviet Army Monument was dedicated to the Red Army after it 'liberated' Bulgaria in the late 1870s. In recent years the monument has been the subject of vandalism several times - which is a indicator of how many feel about it today.

Soviet Army Monument - Sofia, Bulgaria
Soviet Army Monument - Sofia, Bulgaria

I could have spent longer here and taken a few more close up photos - but as I was snapping this last one our taxi driver was yelling at me to hurry up. We found out soon after that his headlights weren't working and he was keen to complete our snowy trip back to the ski fields before darkness fell.

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4 comments

  1. Was it só cold that there was nobody in the streets ? Or was there another reason (maybe it was a sunday you made your visit ?) ? Strange to see pictures of a big city, with almost nobody on them... Almost Paris in august...
    It looks like a beautiful city - although I must admit, Bulgaria is not a country that pops up when I think about holiday..

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    1. I'm really not sure why it was so quiet. I can't remember what day of the week it was but there is a one in seven chance it was a Sunday, and it also was quite cold. I really enjoyed the day out - it was so much more interesting that being cooped up in tourist town on the slopes ;)

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  2. Happy Monday! It looks like a wonderful place and your photographs are fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Natasha. That means a lot coming from you :) Happy Monday/Tuesday!!

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