Saturday, December 30, 2017

Greetings from Sofia, Bulgaria! We are on the last leg of our holiday trip in Eastern Europe, and I thought I would share a few photos.

We decided to close out the year with a 10-day trip to three capitals – Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia. I think the trip has been a HUGE (bigly/awesome) success, and we really enjoyed Bucharest more than we thought we would.

Since we moved abroad in 2010, we’ve learned it is better to visit our friends and family members in the U.S. at any other time of the year than Christmas. In December, the flights are more expensive, the airports are chaotic, the roads are terrible, and we often have dealt with a ton of snow – like what the U.S. East Coast is getting the brunt of now. To make our expat lives easier, we visit the U.S. either in the spring or the fall. Next year, we might even make two trips as some family members are getting older and we want to spend some precious time with them.

Anyway, our first stop was in Budapest. We visited this lovely city twice in 2014, but haven’t been back until now. Funny enough, friends we met in Istanbul were spending Christmas there, so we met up to celebrate an expat Christmas together. We also were able to see some of hubby’s former Warsaw colleagues.
After three sunny days in Budapest, we flew to Bucharest with a 1-hour layover in Warsaw. We had just enough time to enjoy a plate of pierogies at the airport and buy some Polish kabanos sausages and Wedel chocolates.

Exploring Bucharest over two days meant discovering buildings that reminded us of the Barouque architecture of Paris, a few hints of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture and plenty of ugly, concrete Communist blocks too. Bucharest is definitely a city of contrasts. I’ll have to share more photos soon after edits. Also, Bucharest had a lovely and much-bigger-than-expected Christmas market!
From Bucharest, we decided to take a 10-hour train across the border to visit Sofia, Bulgaria. Buying the train ticket and the experience onboard was an adventure in itself, and a story I’ll need to tell in more detail later. At least we had a bag filled with wine and snacks for the journey.
One of the older Romanian trains. Luckily, this one was not our train. ;)
Sofia seems to have more Ottoman-era touches and plenty of Orthodox churches. Here a church, there a church, everywhere a church. Also, the city has a prettier feel than Bucharest…I’m guessing it wasn’t bombed as heavily as Bucharest was during WWII.
Inside Sveta Nedelya, an ornate Orthodox Church in Sofia.
I paid 5lev so I could take photos inside.
I’ll close for now as hubby is getting inpatient with me dealing with social media while we are on vacation. Ha ha!

Wherever you are, I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with adventure!

My Traveling Joys

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BacktoBodrum said...

Happy New Year Joy

jaz@octoberfarm said...

happy new year joy! i can't wait to read more about this trip. i would love to visit these places!

Alan said...

and to you and yours, Joy