Sofia, 30 Years Ago And Now

h-sofia-prin-30-xronia-kai-tora

The last time I found myself in Sofia was thirty years ago.
When the Greeks were perhaps the only tourists who were visiting the neighboring country.
When they used to change drachmas in the “black market” or they used to sell a jean as gold.
When they all thronged around Tsum and they bought almost everything.
When they thought up all kind of excuses in the customs where they were being asked to show official bank papers for the
exchange control.
When you were walking around feeling the fear for the unknown regime.

And you were startled looking at the endless queues in which the Bulgarians were standing patiently in order
to get some good.
When the only cars that existed were from the “eastern bloc” and Lada was at the top.
When you looked in awe Lenin’s huge statue that was standing right across Tsum’s department store.
When you could tell who was a Bulgarian woman because of her old- fashioned clothes.

These were my memories from Sofia.

Furthermore, I remember Sofia green, beautiful with huge parks, many springs and big and ample streets.

 

dromos-sofia

 

 

SOFIA TODAY

30 years later I managed to find myself again in Sofia and her change was a small shock for me.
It was as always beautiful, may be a little more, but now it had a European breeze and finesse.
Known chain stores as well as their own local brands are flooding the streets.
Today, you can’t distinguish a Bulgarian woman from a well-dressed tourist.
I met many tourists and heard many European languages.
Even metro which was then in its infancy and they believed that it would operate many decades later today is working.
Modern, bright and very cheap!
The airport is 12 stops away from the city center and the ticket costs 1,6 lev that is O.80 euro.

 

vagoni-metro-sofia

 

HOW YOU CAN GET TO SOFIA

Sofia is a very beautiful city. It’s a cheap city based at the rate of currencies correspondence. (1 euro is equal to 2 lev).

It’s one hour away from Athens by airplane.
If you are lucky enough and you find some special offer of the airlines your ticket may cost less than a bus ticket!

If you are in the airport and you want to get downtown you can use the subway.
You can walk in Sofia but if you want to use metro you can have a one-day ticket that costs 4 lev and you can have unlimited
routes.
If you are one of those lucky people who live in Northern Greece, then you can get there for a weekend using your car.
You can also use train or bus.

 

sofia-street

 

vitosa-street-sofia

 

WHERE YOU CAN STAY

In Sofia you can find all kinds of hotels. There are luxurious, glamorous and more economical ones.
We stayed at Slavyanska Beseda Hotel which is located downtown.
It’s just 6 Km away from the airport and too close to the Sofia University metro station. And the sights are within walking
distance.
May be the Slavyanska Beseda Hotel isn’t a luxurious one, but it’s very clean. Every day they cleaned the room and changed
towels.
The breakfast is served in bistro area and includes all the necessary of a buffet.
The staff was willing to help and answer to all our questions.

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN SEE IN SOFIA

The best way to see the Sofia’s sights is to follow a conducted tour of the Free Sofia Tour.

The tours are free and last almost 2 hours. They take place on a daily basis and the meeting point is the Courthouse.

If you are there at 10 o’clock in the morning, you can follow one of the groups.
Our guide was Victoria. She was a smiling and jovial girl.
When I asked her why she prefers to work without payment she answered without second thought “because I like it”.
Without a guide we wouldn’t have heard and learned so many interesting things.
Among all these things we learned we discovered that they have a Greek custom. On the first of March they wear in hand
the so called martenitsia. By the end of the month they leave it on a tree with the belief that they will be blessed all year long.
The Free Sofia Tour organizes also very interesting tours with low cost. You can have information if you enter in their
website.
All volunteers do excellent work and they worth congratulations.

 

veronika-free-sofia-tour

 

cathedral-alexander-nevski

 

public-mineral-baths-sofia

 

SHOPPING AND FOOD

Thanks to the parity that it’s in our favor the shopping and food in Sofia are just an enjoyment!
We tasted delicious dishes in excellent restaurants and we payed 20 euro per couple.
Vitosha Avenue is the city’s commercial heart. It has tens of stores, café and restaurants.

There, you can enjoy shopping (The stores in Sofia are open on Sundays) walks and watch the happenings that street musicians
organize and not only!

 

In Sofia you can also enjoy its big wonderful parks.
There, you’ll see people of all ages to enjoy all kinds of activities or just to relax!

 

poli-sofia

 

green-house

 

So if you’d like a quick neighboring outing with a very low budget that will fill your eyes and soul beauty, then Sofia is the destination you are looking for!

 

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