So we went to Bulgaria… how did we decide to go there you ask? Well…the flight was cheap and if you Google Bulgaria mountains (or just look at our photos) you will see why we picked it. We knew very little about it going in. We arrived in Sofia and had arranged a couchsurf stay with a guy named Mitko; he brought us up to his place, which had a great view. He also had two very young puppies – just a couple months old each, very rambunctious and not very small. One of the pups also had a peeing problem anytime he got excited. My legs were peed on every time I walked into the room. K We immediately left for a traditional Bulgarian lunch. When we came back, the dogs had chewed half the straps on our backpacks and ate half of our water bladder. We were not off to a good start. When we booked this stay we thought we would have a room to ourselves as per the description of the place, which was vague but seemed to imply as such. We decided to take a nap and found out that if we wanted a nap, we would have to sleep in Mitko’s bed. We brushed it off, as maybe the other room wasn’t ready or something. This guy was super cool and easy to get along with so we let that go. After some relaxation we went out to take a walking tour of the city – it was great! The tour was super informative and the city was beautiful. After the tour was done we met back up with Mitko to have dinner and drinks. We started with buying drinks from the stoop. They are these teeny convenient stores that are underground with just a small display and window at about shin height on the street, you bend down, ask for what you want, pay and then are on your way. We met up with Mitko’s wife and headed to a nearby bar but not before picking up some donor kebabs. The bar we went to was of course – my fav – a karaoke bar! We spent the night singing, dancing and making new friends! With all American songs, and a combination of alcohol and people we knew we’d never see again, we all cut loose and sang our hearts out! However… it was then time to go to sleep and we got back to the house, thinking we would finally get to our room. Instead what we got was a mattress that was pulled off of the roof, yes, THE ROOF, and tossed on the floor of the living room for us with some questionable sheets and pillows. Oh and to make it better, the pups got excited that we would be in the living room with them and then … you guessed it! Peed on the corner of the bed. It was 3am, we had no transportation and no way to get anywhere new so had to muster up the strength to actually sleep in this disgusting situation. Thankfully when we arranged the stay, we only arranged one night, but in the morning Mitko kindly offered to let us stay longer if we wanted. Rob and I exchanged glances and said – that’s okay, we already booked something for tonight because we weren’t sure we could stay longer here. WHEW. We frantically searched for a new place and found one near by. The craziest part is, we really liked Mitko and his wife and wanted to hang out more, just not at his place, so we met up and went to a pool with them the next day and then hit up a local board game bar where it was customer appreciation night and so they gave us FREE BEER! Wahoo!
We left Sofia the next morning, rented a car and drove into the mountains. The first stop was a natural bridge, which was more of a giant stone structure with an enormous natural hole. We rushed through a little bit to get to a waterfall hike that we sadly couldn’t finish because it was raining cats and dogs and getting dark. After being soaked all day, we were just ready to eat and crash at our bed and breakfast. Across from the check-in was a restaurant called Mexana that we assumed was Bulgarian for Mexican food and we couldn’t have been more thrilled! We walked in and the guy that worked the check in desk (who spoke almost no English) was there with his wife (who spoke even less) and they ran both places. We quickly realized that there would be no Mexican food, but were hungry just the same. The wife greeted us and just said traditional? And we agreed so she went back to start cooking. We had no idea what we were getting but turns out it was AMAZING – a Bulgarian fajita is the best way to describe it with the moistest chicken we’ve ever had. – The next morning for breakfast she made us these little pita like things that tasted like a funnel cake without the powdered sugar and homemade jam. YUM!
Our next stop was Bansko, a really popular ski town in Bulgaria. We checked into an uber fancy hotel with a view of the mountains and since it was off-season, it only cost us about $30 a night + breakfast! They had an indoor pool/Jacuzzi, a yummy restaurant and a spa available to us. Each of our next days consisted of hiking to a different lake, one more picturesque than the last, Rob spent his day fishing and I spent mine reading, then we would eat dinner at our hotel, take a dip in the pool and head to sleep. We made one more stop other than these lakes, which was to Rila Monestary, what a beautifully colorful place! Not much to do, but a site worth seeing nonetheless. Bulgaria was a pretty awesome stop and a new country to add to our list! If you ever happen to see a cheap flight, just book it!!