Just about one month and a half after we first met we went on our first trip together. We were talking about going somewhere so we started looking for cheap flights. We didn’t really care where to go, just somewhere cheap and warmer than Berlin.
Then my birthday came up, and that day Oli came with two tickets to Sofia. We had never been there before, so we were happy that we could discover the city together.
Let’s go to Sofia
So with flights booked with Skyscanner and hotel booked with Booking.com we packed our bags to go to Sofia. We got there at night, so we made our way to the Hotel. It was very close to the city center, so that was perfect. We left our things and went out to find something to eat, we were starving.
The only thing we could find open around the hotel was a McDonalds. So there we went, after taking a small walk around the park that was just across the street from our hotel. It was the park national palace of culture (NDK), which is really nice day and night.
Once we got our McDonalds we headed back to the hotel to eat it. Across the street from our hotel there was a night shop, and we decided to buy a bottle of wine. So with wine in one hand and burgers on the other we went back to our room. You should’ve seen the look from the receptionist.
The next day: Hiking
One of the main reasons that we went to Sofia, is that Oli wanted to go up to the Vitosha mountain. He enjoys going up mountains, and I do too. So when we saw that Sofia was surrounded by mountains we knew it was a good destinations for us.
So we woke up and went looking for a way to get up that mountain. We had read that there was a bus, or that you could take a cab. The woman at the hotel also told us to take a cab, so we went with that option.
The first challenge was to find a cab. We asked a couple, but they couldn’t speak english and some didn’t understand where we wanted to go. Others wouldn’t take us there. Finally we found one guy, that charged us a bit more than usual, but took us.
So he brought us to the ski resort, Bistrishko Branishte, from were we walked up to the highest peak (2290m). The taxi driver asked us if he should wait for us to drive us down. Since we didn’t know how long we would be there we told him not to wait.
We had read that there was a bus that went up and down a couple of times a day, and that the last one was about 6pm. We didn’t look further into it.
Hiking the Vitosha Mountain
So once in the Ski resort we started going up a way that looked good for us. We were not prepared for hiking. We went with our normal clothes and shoes. So we started walking up. Every now and then we turned around to take some pictures and enjoy the view.
Half way up we started realising that the path we chose was not there anymore, or was cut by snowed pieces. We had to go around them in order to avoid slipping down the mountain. We managed to make it to almost the top all by ourselves.
Up there, where the way was easier again we met a guy from Czech Republic. He was prepared with an app that showed you the trails, and we kept waking with him for a while. He was really nice, but a bit crazy too. At one point he went up a trail full of snow, and with our shoes, we didn’t risk to follow him.
Instead we went to the the peak. Afterwards we started going down. We first decided to go down the actual path that we should have taken to go up. As we started going down we soon got to a point that was all covered in snow. We decided to turn around and go down a road that we had seen.
So we took the road, and walked down. It was a longer way, but it was safe. We walked and walked, and got back to the ski resort. Going down that way we walked trough some muddy areas, where I was lucky enough to fall and got my butt all wet. Thank god it was not cold, and it dried up quickly.
Going back to Sofia
So back at the ski resort we made our way to the bus station. There was a paper with the times, but due to sun and water, it was almost erased. We went back to the ski resort and ask a guy if he knew when the next bus was. He told us there were no more busses for the day. That it was a week day and the last one was around 4pm.
He said that a friend of him just went down, if not we could have gotten a ride with him. We didn’t know what to do, so we started walking down. We where about 1500 m high, and it would take us more than 5 hours to get back to the city if we had to walk.
At that point we were regretting sending the taxi back. There was nothing there. We started walking and saw a construction. We asked one of the workers if he was going down and if he could take us. He said he was going down but he didn’t know when yet.
How did we get back to the city?
So we kept walking, hoping he would come down short later to pick us on the way and take us down. There were were few cars going that road. After about 20 minutes we managed to stop a car. He didn’t speak any english, but he understood that we wanted to go down, and toke us.
We were so happy that we didn’t have to walk all the way down. But only until he started driving. He went like crazy, it seemed like he didn’t have breaks. He was racing down this street full of curves, without braking. We just looked at each other hopping that we would make it down alive.
Thank good we did make it down alive, and are now here to tell the story. He left us just outside the city. When we got out of the car we realised that the sun up there was stronger than we thought, and Oli had a really bad sunburn. But it was a really fun experience.
What more? Richard Branson of course!
The next two days in the city we walked around, explore the city. Went to the touristic places, and enjoyed being there together.
But, there was one more highlight to the trip. When we first got there, we saw that Richard Branson was giving a conference in the National Palace of Culture. We went to see if there were still tickets available. The cheapest ones where about 75 euros, which was a bit much for us.
We thought about it, but finally decided to go. How often do you get to see Richard Branson speak?
We were so happy we did it. It was so amazing. Seeing this man, so inspiring and motivated. With so much energy and wanting to change the world. He transmitted this energy to you, and made you want to start right away.
All in all it was a great trip, and it was the first step into starting the journey we are right now in together.