Cool undiscovered city: Sofia, Bulgaria
Wed 20 Apr 2011
Bulgaria has a population of over 7 million and its capital Sofia has a population of 1.2 million people.
It is a beautiful country for travelling, hiking, and fun. Getting amongst nature is easy and cheap. In winter, Ski resorts in the southern mountains, and in summer the beaches and parks come alive with Happy Bulgarians and cold beer!
I first arrived and traveled the country in Spring, later visiting in the Winter.
I must say the country and in particularly the capital Sofia is one of the most delightful, funnest places I have ever been..
The younger generation are taught English, although they rarely get to practice. So if you meet those wanting and willing to practice English, you are bound to have fun.
A great starting point for making friends would be to access the Couch Surfers and other international groups that get together regularly. When I first arrived in Sofia I proceeded immediately to a CS meeting which proceeded to an outdoor party. After that, a local girl dropped me off at my accommodation around 3am.
I spent most afternoons and nights drinking and partying with different new friends. Arriving home just before sunrise. I stayed mainly at awesome hostel, there are a couple of great hostels here actually. At the hostel I would sleep in till about 1pm, trying to sleep through the noise of young backpackers was not always easy however i would normally awaken by local calling me to come out for brunch and recovery beers. Ahhh! What an amazing life! If you don’t have the local connections, just grab a couple of bottles of beer and step into one of the parks in the afternoon. Beer is sold for roughly a US Dollar per Litre in 1 to 3L bottles . Drinking in parks, it’s just part of the culture there and I loved it!
One of the few other cities I’ve had this much fun is Cebu Philippines. There the call centre friends would call me in the early morning to join them but this is the funnest place in europe. The only close competitor would be Toulouse France, Tartu Estonia or Kiev Ukraine.
Danger…Eastern Europe tends to suffer from corruption. You have to be a street smart in all cities. DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH anywhere! It doesn't matter where you are; if you’re too drunk, things can easily go wrong. Chances of getting robbed increase dramatically with alcohol content and displays of valuable cameras, iPhones, etc. Chances are greatly reduced by having small money, looking a little local, being friendly or smiling, not being an easy target and knowing when to walk the other way.
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Expert traveler, Adrian has been in over 70 countries, stayed in mud huts and was once caught smuggling Vegemite in his trousers. Now he is on the speaking circuit and writes about his adventures.
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