We are in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria at the moment. To be honest, had a pretty rubbish couple of days! We got the train from Thessaloniki, which was 7 and a half hours. Unfortunately it was full so we were sitting/standing at the end of the carriage with our backpacks - not too comfortable! To make it worse, everyone seemed to be coming in to this bit to smoke, and they all needed a fag every 2 minutes so it was pretty gross. Jack was sitting on the steps reading his book and this woman came in and flicked ash on him! He said, watch what you're doing but she did it again! Some people we've come across have been really rude, and others cant do enough to help you!
We got to Thessaloniki about 4.00pm, it was a bit of a dive, so we just went to the hotel (there were no hostels, but the hotel was cheaper than a hostel) which was even more of a dive! The good thing was it was only 5 mins walk to the train station. We booked our train for the next day to get to Sofia - I said we'd like to go in the morning, we got our tickets and the train was for 6.15!!! A bit early, but we thought the sooner we get out of this place the better! We didnt go out that night, the room had a TV and they were showing American sitcoms and the Simpsons in English (with greek subtitles) so we just got an early night. One of the beds only had 3 slats under the bed holding the mattress up, so if you sat on it the wrong way, you fell through!!!
The train journey was fine to Sofia (we had seats!!) and it took 6 hours. I think because it was so early we didnt notice how long it took, and got a bit of sleep aswell. Coming in on the train to Sofia, you noticed all of the really poor parts, and to be honest when we arrived in Sofia, it didnt really get much better! The streets are very poorly looked after and the buildings have no character about them. We got to the hostel that we reserved, and they told us they had no record of our booking! So they phoned around other hostels to see if someone else could fit us in. After a 20 minute walk with our backpacks, we got to a different hostel. We managed to get a room to ourselves which was good, but the hostel is rubbish. It's really just like a cheap hotel (and its not full of backpackers like us, its full of people who look like homeless hobos!!) so we are leaving first thing tomorrow.
we wanted to go to Plovdiv for a day trip today, but we arrived at the platform just as the train was moving out - the next train wasnt for 2 hours, and we would only have one hour there if we went, so we decided not to bother.
The only good thing about Sofia is that it is cheap. We got 2 muckle slices of pizza and a beer for the equivalent of one pound. And when we went out for dinner last night, we had starters, main course, beer and coffee for 10 pounds between us, so 5 pounds each!
I think that Bulgaria is probably nicer if you go to the seaside towns, but I wouldn't recommend Sofia, it has no attractions and there isn't a great deal to do.
Off to Bucharest, Romania tomorrow, hopefully things will start to look up...!!!!