With a late start and a last glimpse of Bucharest, we are on the road yet again. Today we head into new territory – Bulgaria. If I had no idea what to expect of Romania, I have even less idea what to expect from Bulgaria. But I have a day’s worth of travel before I find out.
Marco is unsure how our border crossing into Bulgaria will go because they have been working on the bridge between for some time and traffic delays have been horrendous. But apart from a false start where the road had temporarily been altered, luck was on our side. We were straight over the bridge, albeit slowly.
The line of traffic waiting in the other direction was not quite so lucky….
Before much longer, we are at the border and the formalities are taking place. As we wave goodbye to the ‘assports’ office (the sign was missing a letter), our heads start swivelling ready to check out our new surroundings.
But our day of travelling is far from over. We now have another bus to board, a public one this time. The ticket windows are odd and purchasers are forced to bend over to buy their tickets.
We head off in different directions to find lunch and snacks for the journey ahead, absorbing enquiring stares from the locals. I bought these biscuits to share, which were incredibly yummy, despite having what looked like birdseed on top!
The first thing we notice about Bulgaria, is that no matter how hard we try – we will not be able to try and pronounce any signage, as it is Cyrillic. This should be fun!
Finally our bus is ready to board and off we go. Our driver is grumpy and despite the bus being advertised as airconditioned, it is really hot because the driver has his window open the whole journey to accommodate his chain smoking. After what seems an eternity, we finally pull into the bus station at Sofia, where we lug our bags onto our shoulders and start walking to our hotel, arriving just in time to head out for dinner.
Marco leads us not far away to a cute little folk restaurant where we were are treated to some fantastic singing and amazing food and wine. I get my first opportunity to have a good chat to the Japanese couple who joined the tour in Bucharest – Aki and Kazuo. They are the cutest couple – Kaz speaks more English than his wife, and they have their trusty travel guide with them, flipping through the pages keen to try the local food which their guidebook recommends. I know very little Japanese, but Kaz assures me I’m saying it right and he seems very impressed. Who would have thought that a little language I picked up to get me through my trip to Japan several years ago would now serve me well in Bulgaria!
I wonder what Sofia has in store for us tomorrow?