So, what are the three things you need for a successful week in Bulgaria? One car, three best friends, and plenty of snacks.
Bulgaria was a surprise. I don’t know where my limited expectations came from but there were a number things that were really interesting to me. Firstly, Bulgarian culture has clearly been influenced by aspects from a number of its better known neighbours including Russia (languages sounds and looks similar to the uninitiated), Turkey (shisha, mezze style food), and Greece (food, especially generous with olive oil). However, as the old country in Europe to keep its name, it’s probably accurate to say these countries were influenced by Bulgaria.
In the U.K. there are certain perceptions of Bulgarian people, which from my experience over this week are completely undeserved. All the Bulgarian people we met, without exception, were friendly, helpful and polite, and most people we spoke to had excellent English, especially in Sofia.
Bulgarian food was also a surprise – or the food on offer in most of the restaurants was, we never quite nailed ‘Bulgarian cuisine’ as it varied on every menu we read! Apart from our first meal in Borovets, all the food we had was simple but seriously tasty and very healthy. We also quickly found out that the menus are literal, so when it says ‘chicken with soya sauce’ that’s exactly what you’ll get… not a side dish in sight! They were also surprisingly really good with allergies/ intolerance and most menus had highlighted the foods to avoid if you had one.
Bulgaria is also seriously good value for money. It actually felt like it got cheaper as we went through our trip! Our super bargain was a bottle of cider and a bottle of water at the jazz festival in Sofia for £1.25.
If you want to drive in Bulgaria, there aren’t many roads so it’s pretty easy to find your way around. However, be aware that most roads aren’t great quality and some of the driving is crazy with tailgating and driving at ridiculously speeds feeling ironic in a country that, from our experience, was super friendly and often late!
Shout out to Javs and Eddie for some of the photos.