And I have made it to Sofia. Hooray! After a lovely day of wandering around yesterday, making my way to the Asian side of Istanbul via water taxi and back over to the old city, I hopped on a bus to Bulgaria. The bus itself was very nice, and very crowded. I wasn't a fan of the smoking on the bus, but what can you do? All was well until we got to the border. I had heard stories of the Bulgarian border, but I didn't know. I just didn't know.
I guess all things considered, it wasn't as bad as it could've been. There was lots of get off the bus, get on the bus, get off the bus. Get your passport stamped and walk through across the border to the inbetween land. Get your luggage off the bus. Have it scanned. Get back on the bus. Drive for 100 yards to the duty free shop between borders. Get back on the bus. Cross the the Bulgarian side. Get off the bus. Walk through/get passport stamped. Wait around in the excruciating heat. And continue to wait. And wait some more. Then we were on our way.
The Bulgarian countryside is very beautiful and green. There are fields and fields of sunflowers, and villages with red roofs. I spoke at length with a Bulgarian guy on the bus, and he gave me the lowdown of everything from the sights we were seeing, to world politics, to the Greeks and Gypsies (which he does not like). It was very amusing/informative. There was a guy at the train station to meet me, and after I snuck into the bathroom (you had to pay, and I don't have any levas), we were on our way to my surprisingly plush accomodations. My flatmate is a lunatic British gal who I hope I get along with. I think we lead two very different lifestyles, let me just put it like that.
Sofia is kinda grey and very crumbly, but it has character, which is good. There seem to be lots of open parks, which I'm a fan of. There's a tram stop just out the door, and tomorrow will be day one of classes! It's back to school time...