I rolled into Sofia on a graffiti-covered sleeper train from Belgrade (and oh man, is that a story!). First impressions are important, and Sofia’s main train station didn’t make a good one: they wouldn’t let us use a credit card to buy tickets, the whole place was under construction, the bathrooms cost money and ATMs seemed almost impossible to find.
The rest of the day was kind of a mixed bag. We ended up taking the bus onward with a Turkish company, which was a lovely experience that we didn’t have to pay for in cash. The bus station also had a bag-check where we were able to leave our things for the day. We ate some tasty food, but the cash-only problem persisted our whole time there, even in shops that clearly had VISA/MasterCard logos displayed in their windows, and at a restaurant where the waitress specifically answered that we could pay with cards. On top of that, it seemed almost no one spoke English. I’m not of the belief that absolutely everyone should, but in Budapest and Belgrade there almost always seemed to be someone around who was eager to help. We found that not to be the case in Sofia.
So maybe it was just due to exhaustion after a bad night of train sleep at the end of a long trip, but I feel like I need to give Sofia a second try sometime. Because all other problems aside, the architecture in the city was undeniably very nice. We came across a lot of lovely parks, and perhaps if we had a more solid game plan for what to explore it would have been a more enjoyable stop on our trip.