The bus ride to Sofia, about 6 hours was pleasant and air-conditioned with one appropriate “Bus Stop” called Merilyn’s after Marilyn Monroe. When the bus entered the city, it looked depressing and run down. David slept a little arrived refreshed, changed his money over and headed for the city center and Orient Express Hostel. He had made up his mind that he didn’t want to stay three nights in this city. Directions said to take Tram 12 and get off at the center. David found the Tram but someone he asked didn’t know where the stop was and suggested a taxi. David walked and walked until he was lost in the “Center”. There was a lot of road construction for a add on to the subway system. The sidewalks were all tore up; and barriers were everywhere…David took a taxi…that went around the block and dropped him at his hostel in two minutes. Directions said the Hostel was on the fourth floor but there was no signs indication there was any Hostel at this address. He walked in the front door and after he got up to the 2nd floor, decided to leave the suitcase. Then on the fourth floor their were two apartments but no sign so he started knocking and trying to ring a bell but no answer/. He walked back grabbed his suitcase and returned to the outside where he noticed one of the bells said Hostel…Fifth Floor. Now the door was locked so he rang the bell and sure enough they buzzed him into the building where he walked up 5 flights to one HOT hostel. He immediatly told the desk lady that he was only staying 2 instead of 3 days…she didn’t speak any English so called the owner on the mobile. She explained to David a 3 days cancellation notice was policy and I could do what I wanted but she was charging me for 3 days. David hung up and got on the internet with Hostel World to complain. He noted the listing said 24 hour cancellation notice so before paying he called the owner and she accepted his two day notice. The room slept three people and was Hot with the sun coming in the open window and jackhammers pounding away 5 floors down. David took a shower, paid, booked his next place with A/C and left for dinner.
|Vladimir my Idol|
He met a couple of travelers from the Canary Islands and they recommended a free walking tour they did that day. It was 3 hours and started at 6pm but was threatening rain. The tour on Sunday, the next day was at 11am and 6 pm so David decided to do it on Sunday. The Confetti Restaurant across the Street was packed and when he tried to get a seat on the Terrace he was informed that without a reservation he would have to sit inside. He did and it was great. He returned to bed, slept well , had some coffee and toast when he awoke and left to explore. He met Vladimir Alekseevich along the way and donated some money for gas so he could continue his travels around the world on the Motorcycle. Motorcycle Traveler does the world! Vladimir was 69 years old, deaf, and has been to over 100 countries on his Bike! Now that is a traveler! David was right around the corner from the nicest part of the city which until just now, didn’t realize there was a nice part.
|Free Sophia Tour|
The tour started at 11am and about 36 English speaking people showed up from Switzerland, Portugal, England, Australia, and a nice lady from Montreal that David befriended. She was in Sofia for 6 weeks to open an IKEA and train the staff. “Free Sofia Tour”
split us into two groups and our guide started us off. She was excellent and was a history major at Sofia University. This was a volunteer organization but we all gave donations at the end of the tour which was 31/2 hours long. It was hot but not to bad. I would have never know all these places were right outside my door. It was fascinating.
I returned to Confetti when I noticed they all have internet WiFi available. I ran across the street and returned with my laptop to work on the blog.That didn’t work. My computer didn’t recognize their Wi-Fi…maybe because I keep a Firewall when traveling and it was an Open network. The food was great and I really felt like a King feasting on a fabulous Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna with a nice Malbec wine and a Coffee and Metaxa Cognac.When I returned to the Hostel, the bitch from hell owner was still lounging in front of the TV where I left her. Then a man I suspected as being a Muslim Mongolian accompanied by a young pretty Oriental Muslim came in to see MY room. I allowed it thinking they were considering it for tomorrow when I check out. Then after they left , the bitch told me she may have rented the room for four people and if they decide to move in tonight, she would have to move me to the room across the hall! I told her I was retiring early and had to get up early and was not moving. Despite the fact she said anyone caught smoking in the hostel would be evicted immediatly..she lit up a cigarette and fumed with the fumes. I wanted to signal him that the room was hotter than hell but she kept an eye on me while showing the room. She only cares about money but won’t spend any for a fan to make the room comfortable for the guests. The assistant she had did my laundry today and pressed it all with an iron for me …all for $4. I think she fired the assistant today and took over to save money. She got upset when I told her there was no toilet paper in the bathroom! This was ranked on HostelWorld as one of the best. I think she had her friends write in lies. I will give her all F’s tomorrow when they send me my survey!