“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see…” – Henry David Thoreau
Day 01: 30 April 2018 (Monday)
Hotel: Enny Hotel, Sofia
This morning we checked out from Tokapi Inter Hotel Istanbul and packed our cabin bag for a short road trip to Sofia, Bulgaria. Saifudin and his wife, Ani would be travelling together with us.
|(A night stay in Topkapi Inter Istanbul Hotel)|
|(Pre-booked Metro bus tickets for four persons)|
|(Saifudin and Rohani joining us for the road trip)|
The four of us left earlier with Uber to the Metro Bus Station to board the 9.00 am coach to Sofia, Bulgaria. The return ticket cost was Euro44/person. The distance between Istanbul and Sofia is 561 km and it took about 9 hours to reach Sofia by coach with a few stops along the way. The coach was comfortable. Unfortunately there was no wifi and the entertainment system was not functioning. Coffee and soft drinks with light snacks were served throughout the journey.
|(Exiting Istanbul early in the morning)|
|(Driving out of Istanbul city)|
|(Turkey beautiful landscape)|
The coach made several rest stops along the way to pick passengers. There was a long queue of lorries waiting to be cleared at the Turkey Kapikule/Bulgaria border. Fortunately, buses and cars have their own lanes and not very busy. Border clearance at both borders were smooth although there was a slight glitch with hubby's passport again at the Turkish side. After the border, we changed some foreign currency to Bulgarian Lev.
|(A very long queue before the Turkey/Bulgaria border)|
|(One of the busiest border out of Turkey)|
|(A small money changer after the Bulgaria border)|
|(Bulgarian Lev for our expenses in Sofia)|
We arrived Sofia about 6.00 pm. There were many hostels and hotels around the Central Station but we walked a short distance to the Lion Square and booked a two-night stay for BL50/night at Hotel Enny, an old budget hotel with basic amenities. It was a good choice as there were a few halal restaurants around the corner.
|(Greece is not far from the border too)|
|(A short walk from the Central Bus Station to Lion Bridge)|
|(Many choices of hostels and hotels around this area)|
|(Kebab and burgers for dinner)|
After we checked in and freshened up, we had a simple dinner at a Syrian Doner Kebab Restaurant across the road. Although the bed was noisily squeaking and the springs were poking our ribs, we slept soundly and rested well.