Originally founded because of the quality of its mineral waters, Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe with ruins and mineral springs spread across the city center. Today, this Bulgarian beauty is a dynamic Eastern European capital distinguished by its unique architecture and striking churches. One of the city’s prime tourist attractions is the architecturally-overwhelming Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia. Saint Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince and the cathedral honors the Russian soldiers who died during the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1877-78. It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world and can hold up to 10,000 people. Its gold-plated dome is 148 feet high and has the Lord’s Prayer inscribed around it in thin gold letters.Read More
This month has been quite an eye-opening experience for me. I learned that I’m not cut out for high altitude marathons, that maybe I do enjoy cruising and most importantly that the six countries that once made up the former Yugoslavia have more to offer tourists than I ever imagined.
Over the course of 5 weeks, I visited 19 different countries – 12 of them new to me – bringing my final country count up to 103 by the time I set foot back on U.S. soil yesterday. It was an amazing month(+), here are some of the highlights…Read More
We finally arrive in Sofia Bulgaria at 4:30am after a 6 hour overnight ride from Skopje. I catch a cab at the deserted bus station to the stately Sofia Hotel Balkan (a Luxury Collection/SPG hotel), praying that they will be willing to check me in this early. Starwood status pays off again and I am checked right into a lovely suite.
After two weeks of roughing it in the Balkans, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this suite. The first thing I notice when I walk in (other than the cool flowing air from the A/C) is the office…complete with printer. I almost cried. I have been in serious need of a printer for a while but it’s tough to find one around here.
Further exploration revealed fluffy towels, a robe & slippers, an expansive array of toiletries, a hairdryer and even an iron. It was heaven.
Now, all of these things are standard in the average US hotel but in the hotels I’ve been staying in across the Balkans, they were non-existent. The A/C is especially welcome as several of my hotels haven’t had it. I briefly consider spending the next 36 hours right here in this room but realize that I should probably at least get out and see a little of Sofia.Read More