Just a short update today. This morning we went on the Free Sofia Walking Tour, and our guide Mitko was excellent, full of enthusiasm and with a good sense of humour. He clearly loves his home city and, having studied and worked in the UK and the USA, he spoke excellent English as well. The route took us past most of the monuments that we saw yesterday, but it was good to learn some of the history of Bulgaria and Sofia, and the stories behind all of the different places.
Two and a half hours later, and we were ready for a late lunch. No prizes for guessing that we returned to the excellent restaurant we went to last night, Shtastliveca. There was a bit of a queue to get in, but our waitress from last night saw us queuing and had a word in someone’s ear, and a couple of minutes later we were shown to our table. Again the food was superb.
Before catching the metro back to the camperstop, we went to find the last of the major monuments which we hadn’t been to see, the National Palace of Culture. Opened in 1981 to celebrate Bulgaria’s 1300th anniversary, it’s a major piece of communist-era architecture. With 13 halls and 15,000 m² of exhibition space, it’s a huge conference/exhibition centre which these days is also used to host sporting events and pop concerts.
Tomorrow we shall leave Sofia. We’d planned to take a couple of weeks to get to Budapest, but we now don’t think that’s going to be feasible as most of the camperstops we’d pencilled in have grass surfaces, which this time of year will be mud, and water will also be hard to find as the public taps will more than likely have been switched off. We’re therefore planning to drive to a campsite in southern Hungary in two days, wild camping half way along the route, somewhere in Romania. We’ll then base ourselves at the campsite for a week, before driving north to Budapest.