Leisurely Days in Sofia

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Dec 21-29, 2019]

After gallivanting around Belgium and Luxembourg for a couple of days, I was ready to get to Sofia and just chill. One nice thing about already having been in Europe for a couple of days was that I was about over the jet lag and I could also get to Sofia at a normal time, during the day. When I come directly from the states, flight schedules are such that I never make it to Sofia until evening.

Alexander Nevsky cathedral on a cloudy day in Sofia

My days were filled with eating delicious Bulgarian foods my mom made and hanging out with friends. Somehow, I kept ending up on Vitosha street, the main promenade in Sofia. Everyone seemed to want to meet there! I didn’t mind – it was only a 15-minute walk from where my parents live and the walk took me through familiar but ever so beautiful buildings.

Vitosha Street
All decked out for Christmas. This giant building houses the Bulgarian president at the far end.
Church St. Nedelya

Even though the statue below was unveiled in 2016, I just noticed it on this visit! It’s of 19th century writer Aleko Konstantinov. He came of age in the late 1800s, just after Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire. He’s the first Bulgarian to write about his visits to Western Europe and America, giving Bulgarians their first glimpses of the outside world. Appropriately, various cities in Europe are displayed on the signs above him.

I also finally got to snap a car-free photo in front of this graffiti art right by my parents’ house. The empty space in front is a parking lot, which is normally quite full. Sofia has became a haven for graffiti artists, as I wrote in my post about the Sofia Graffiti Tour.

My dear friend and fellow travel blogger/outdoor adventurer Maria (also known as Bulgarian Mermaid) happened to be in Bulgaria during my visit, so I was very happy to reconnect with her and our mutual friend Teddy. Thanks to them, I got to try some new restaurants in Sofia, such as Made in Home and Raketa Rakia bar. The latter one is so popular that it requires reservations. Later on I learned the space used to be occupied by a Polish restaurant back in the 1970s and my parents held their wedding reception there!

At Raketa Rakia Bar
Outside of Made in Home

On my walks to and from meeting friends, I played tourist. Below are some photos of the National Palace of Culture, which hosts concerts and events.

And below is the National Theater, which I’ve actually never been inside of! I need to correct this on my next visit!

The days went by quickly and before I knew it, it was time to head back to LA, but not before making a pit stop in Vienna on the way back – that’s coming up on the blog next!

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