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Returning to Sofia

Return to Sofia day one

View A return to Sofia on ToonSarah's travel map.

Taking off from Heathrow in the rain (spot the rainbow!)

I’d rather fallen for Sofia when I was there for the Virtual Tourist meeting in 2019 and had convinced Chris of its charms. We’d booked a trip for June of this year but had been forced to postpone when I tested positive for Covid just two days before we were due to leave. Fortunately it proved to be a mild attack, but our holiday had to be put on hold. Now, in September, we were finally off. We’d booked new flights with the voucher BA had issued, and the hosts of the apartment we’d booked had kindly allowed us to move the dates despite cancelling after the cut-off date.

We had an early flight which meant an alarm at the unearthly hour of 4.50. But in the event we were both awake before it went off! We were therefore at the station well before our Tube was due and shivering in the rain on the platform.

All went smoothly at Heathrow. The security queues were reasonable although surprisingly long for the time of day, and we were able to have breakfast before boarding. The plane took off on time and arrived early, after a flight in which I enjoyed views of the Alps and otherwise passed my time reading.


Flight over the Alps

Sculpture of Orpheus at the airport Metro station

We changed some money at the airport and then sought out the Metro station next door. It was easy to buy from the machines, but Chris's wouldn't open the barrier. A helpful young lady explained that it was showing as used and assisted him in persuading the decidedly less helpful ticket seller to let him through.

On reaching our station, St Kliment Ohridski, which is situated at a busy junction, I managed to set off in the wrong direction at first. We walked several blocks through what seemed to be a nice but too quiet neighbourhood before I realised my mistake. We turned around, headed back to the Metro station and then in the right direction from there.

The MOCCA studio

We soon found the apartment block on a small square. We let ourselves in following the detailed instructions I'd been sent and found ourselves in a rather gloomy passageway leading to a small lift. We knew the apartment was just on the first floor so we opted to climb the stairs which led us to another passageway, also quite gloomy. But I'd seen photos included in those detailed instructions so knew what to expect and wasn't too put off. And I was right not to be. We unlocked the door and entered a lovely large bright studio, very nicely decorated and on a quiet side of the block. Perfect!

The apartment is known as the 'MOCCA Studio next to Crystal Garden and Russian Church' if you want to search for it online. I certainly recommend checking it out if you are travelling to Sofia!

Our rented apartment

View from the apartment's small balcony

Settling in

After unpacking we went out for a short walk. We checked out several interesting sculptures and monuments in the Crystal Garden, where the apartment was situated. And we popped into the nearby Russian Orthodox church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, which had impressed me on my previous visit, and had a cold drink in a café. Then we went back to the apartment to settle in properly and catch up on messages.

Monument in the Crystal Garden, and dinner in the Izbata Tavern

In the evening we had dinner in the Izbata Taverna about a five minute walk away. I'd been there with VT friends in 2019 and liked the food, although found the basement room rather warm. On this cooler evening it was just right, and we enjoyed our meal for the most part. I loved my eggplant caviar and later my dessert of yoghurt and honey, but my main course, 'Granny's Chicken' (a chicken breast stuffed with cheese and spinach and baked in filo pastry) seemed too dry. But I split it with Chris who had a sort of chicken stew with peppers and tomatoes, and together the two dishes worked well!

Then it was back to the apartment for an early night as, despite the two hour time difference, we had sleep to catch up on!

Posted by ToonSarah 18:08 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged mountains food hotel flight sculpture sofia bulgaria Comments (14)

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