Sep 03, 2011
I arrived in Sofia at about 10am. It was a long, cold and very uncomfortable ride from Romania. Myself and 4 other backpackers were seated in the low class rail car all by ourselves. We all agreed we saved at least 5 dollars by choosing the cheap seats but man was it miserable! The rail car was brightly lit up and had non-reclining bucket seats which makes it pretty tough to get comfortable for an 11 hour night ride. Our rail car did not have a bathroom so we had to walk through the upper class cars when nature called. On my way to the bathroom I realized our car was the only one that was not toasty warm...our car was freezing cold! I had my long johns, both jackets, gloves and my beanie pulled down over my eyes (to block out the light) showing nothing but my nose and this very thick warm beard. I wish I had a picture...I'm sure it looked pretty cool. An old lady encountered me when I got off the train and offered me a place to stay and all I was thinking was yes I want to get warm. I followed her to a "hostel" but the price was way out of my budget so I thanked her and walked out. I ended up finding a pretty cool hostel about an hour later within my price range which is 5-20 dollars a night maximum. The hostel had a very cool bar in the basement opened to the public with a live band playing. It made a pretty good Friday night. The people in Bulgaria were very nice but there was not much to see while walking around the city so the next day I went to the bus station with a plan to try a smaller town in Bulgaria called Sandanski. I walked into the bus station and the first ticket booth I saw had Istanbul written all over it and it was calling my name so I boarded the bus at 3pm and off to Turkey I went!