Sofia in a Day
Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
90Trip End Apr 19, 2008
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Today, the three of us travelled to Sofia, and I had my own personal tour guides for Bulgaria's capital city. Our first stop is McDonald's for free, clean bathrooms, and to fill up our water bottles. We don't touch the food. Don't tell. We pass large lion statues outside the Justice Hall on our way to Sveta Nedelya Cathedral. The central dome, is impressive, but as with the monastery, years of candle smoke have darkened the paintings so as to make them nearly unrecognizable.
Next, we visit the Church of St
A stroll in the Sofia City Gardens follows (some playing on swings is involved) and we pop into a Russian church on our way to Sofia's crowning glory, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Consistent with the day's theme, the interior is dark and gloomy, but outside....it is clear the cathedral's architects had entered a competition for most-domed building the world has ever seen. They're popping up everywhere. I shudder to think of drawing such an edifice on AutoCAD. I take far too many photos of the cathedral exterior as we walk around it, managing to get one of my favorite aspects of Sofia into some of the pictures, too: snow-capped mountains.
Word on the hostel circuit had been that Sofia was a dump, ranking right up there with Bucharest. This was not my impression at all. I very much liked the place. Yes, it is a city, but a nice one, and being able to see mountains from downtown, well that was one of the best parts.
Leaving the church, we are faced with six hours until our train departs and nothing much else to do
Sofia's Prague Factor:
Well, much as I enjoyed Sofia, it's not much like Prague and most tourists seem to avoid it, if possible. Aside from old stone churches in the Byzantine or Orthodox style, the city is mostly modern boulevards and the occassional 19th century building. I'll give it a 32%.