Once upon a time, in an era I now refer to as BC (Before COVID), people were allowed to freely roam the Earth. It seems crazy I know, but hear me out.. On this particular galavant, I was heading off to Bulgaria.
Myself and three of my closest friends in Dubai decided to head to Sofia for a long weekend during one of the Eid holidays. Since two of us had never stayed in a hostel before, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to do so. We cheated a bit and got a “private room,” though there was a common area and bathroom shared with another room. The hostel itself was cozy, with lots of floor seating around tables for socializing. Happy hour also included “beer.” I say beer in quotes because this was my first introduction to beer that was sold in a 2L plastic bottle. Oh yum!
We decided it might be best to forego the hostel’s dinner and happy hour in search of something slightly… better (aka not warm beer water and spaghetti). Call me a snob, but if there are a few things I know in this world, they’re food, alcohol, travel, and cookies! To this day, I still rave about the donërs we stumbled upon one evening, and then again another evening because they were that good!
Our hostel itself was downtown, which made it easy to find a free walking tour, a common experience in European cities. While on the tour we discovered there was a national football game happening that weekend, so naturally we had to go! We donned our must Bulgarian outfits (the clothes in our backpacks) and went to cheer on the Bulgaria national team while they played Sweden. Bulgaria hadn’t beaten Sweden in over 40 years, so naturally everybody had high hopes for the game. With me cheering them on though, it was impossible for them to lose, so win they did (all because of me, obviously). I’ll be taking applications as a lucky charm after this post!
The game was great and certainly memorable as my first European football match, but it was far from the only thing we did that weekend. We were also able to sprinkle in some hiking to a waterfall and a day trip to Plovdiv. The hiking was nice, but it has nothing on Kyrgyzstan. I highly recommend checking out Bishkek if you like hiking. Head over to our IG to see some photos of my trip there! The trip to Plovdiv on the other hand was fantastic.
Plovdiv is a city filled with history. Built in, on, and around Roman ruins (ah yeah, check out those prepositions, my middle school English teacher would be stoked!), it is definitely worth the 2+ hour bus ride from Sofia. Getting to walk around the city, see all the ruins, and experience all the history was everything my inner nerd could have wanted. The Plovdiv bars didn’t disappoint either, with plenty of Belgian and Trappist beers to go around! I’m fairly certain Bulgaria doesn’t believe much in copyright laws either, given that we found a bar that looks exactly like the bar out of “Friends”.
It was on our way back from Plovdiv to Sofia that my friend learned a valuable lesson… one bottle of wine is not enough for a two hour bus ride with four people! I tried telling him when we picked up our roadie bottle that we should get two, because one simply wouldn’t do. But, noooo, he knew everythinggggg.
Well, joke was on him, and alas, me, because we ran out of wine and he told me I was right. Sooo a lose-win if you will, when it could have been a win-win 😪.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time in Bulgaria. Whether you’re looking for an exciting football match, a Roman history lesson, or a very friendly and unique country, Bulgaria is the place for you!