In our digital nomad lifestyle, Lee and I are travelling 365 days of the year. It’s a wonderful life of adventure, but it’s very different than the pace a two week holiday. Although we do spend our spare time visiting attractions and going on tours, we often find ourselves in a laid back mode where we simply relax and enjoy our surroundings.
On our trip through Eastern Europe, we stopped in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. This was the perfect place to simply exist for a few days, without feeling like we needed to run around and see all of the sights. Of course, there are plenty of sights to see in Sofia. However, many of them were similar to other sights that we experienced in Eastern Europe (museums, churches) and we didn’t feel the need to check them off the list. Instead, we enjoyed the chance to get work done, drink cheap beer, eat great food and make friends with other travellers.
We stayed in the excellent Hostel Mostel, which is famous for being one of the best hostels in Europe and has a great social scene. Here are some of the highlights of our time in Sofia in photographs.
We spent quite a lot of time just wandering around the markets, looking at all of the cheesy souvenirs and t-shirts.
In the open air markets of Sofia, you can buy all sorts of strange things – including Nazi swords, knifes, hip flasks and more. Although some of the items sold there are authentic historic Nazi items, most of them are replicas and with the sheer amount sold you could have equipped the Nazi army in Bulgaria 20 times over.
In this photo you can also see the beautiful Matryoshka Dolls and the handheld bird pecking game. You hold the paddle in your hand and let the ball on a string swing around, causing the chickens to peck like a crazy game of Hungry Hungry Hippo. Hours of fun to be had. Okay, maybe only a few seconds.
As we walked around, we couldn’t help but admire the beautiful architecture. Many of the religious buildings in Sofia were very ornate, whereas the commercial buildings in the town centre were quite austere and classical in their design. This is the Russian Church which was built in 1914.
The ornate churches form a contrast to the simple Neo-classical design of the former Communist Party House, which is now the National Assembly of Bulgaria.
This is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which was built in 1912 and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals in Europe. In my opinion, it’s the most impressive building in the city.
More of Sofia’s architecture and public art.
One of the most amazing things that we discovered in Sofia was that the fast food restaurants serve beer with their burgers! Who hasn’t been enjoying a good burger and fries at a fast food place and thought, “I wish I could wash this down with a cold beer?” In Sofia, this dream can come true.
And last but not least, this sign made us giggle as we walked past. We imagined a union of chickens marching along a picket line, protesting for higher wages and better working conditions.
These are just a few of our favourite memories from Sofia, Bulgaria. Sometimes when you are travelling long term, you find somewhere that allows you just to chill out with no pressure. We didn’t do much in this city, but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.