Cigarette smugglers

It’s our third day in Sofia and somehow it has been a rather unsuccessful one: Our trip into the mountains failed when the chairlift wasn’t working and we were stopped by a security guard from walking up the mountain ourselves. “It is closed”, he insisted, and with the entire mountain range taking a day off, we spent another day aimlessly wandering the streets of the capital. It has been surprisingly hard to get anywhere, since Sofia doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of tourists and city officials therefore refuse to publish maps of any sort. Public transport schedules are cryptic at best, and although I’ve been having some Berlin-based help from deciphering the schedules (thanks, Lora) we missed the bus to the famous Rila Monastery. On the upside, there are no German tourists and people generally tend to think highly of our homeland. The streets are full of German stores, a butter I saw at the supermarket even proudly proclaimed to have been made with a “tested German technique”.

Also, we managed to purchase train tickets to Belgrade. A few hours from now, we will board the sleeper train to Serbia, which – by all accounts – seems to be a pretty horrifying way of traveling. At the hostel, our Bulgarian host looked at the cryptic bus schedules, concluded that there were no buses today and then turned to us, smiling: “Well, it is going to be an adventure. You might witness some cigarette smuggling”.