Of the three Balkan countries we chose to travel, Bulgaria is the largest and consequently we are planning on spending the longest time in. What better place to start than the capital, Sofia.
The only down side of our 4 nights in Sofia was our Air BnB. Though the location was convenient to transit and the photos looked good, it was a rather big disappointment. The biggest problem being there was no mattress on the bed. Just a cheap creaky, somewhat painful boxspring. Considering the success we have enjoyed for the most part, one just has to take a hit once in a while.
As for the city, it was a hit in the most positive sense. We enjoyed some lovely meals and checked out several coffee shops. One item I would be derelict if I did not mention would be the prevalence of smoking. Now, by no means does this only apply in Sofia, this was the case everywhere we have been in the Balkans. If you are overly sensitive to second hand smoke or just have a healthy aversion to it, you should perhaps consider travelling elsewhere. In North America we have become accustomed to smokers being ostracized to dark corners with their habit. This is absolutely not the case here. The only place I didn’t see smoking was on the public transit. Other than that we saw it everywhere, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping malls, students outside schools, and nearly all public and private spaces. All ages above around 16 and both sexes. I say all this without judgment as I am the guest here, however for visitors from North America and Australia/New Zealand you may find it surprising.
We will be back to Sofia for a few days when we return our rental car and are looking forward to relaxing and enjoying it some more. It is a city with a lot to share and people who are more than patient to help foreign speaking tourists get the most out it