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A weekend city trip to Sofia with the gang

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At the moment, Bulgaria is not quite considered a normal excursion target. But that makes it even better suited for our annual boys’ weekend getaway. And so, the seven of us hit the road to start a conversation with Sofia.

Reading time 02:22 minutes.

designhotels.com

Design Hotels

Walter Schärer in designer trance

Walter in a design trance

Choosing a hotel is no problem: DesignHotels.com has the centrally located Sense Hotel. It is supposed to have a nice restaurant to boot and a legendary rooftop bar. Together they are the epicenter of Sofia’s “see and be seen” jet set: apparently, a drink at the bar with a 360 degree view of the Old Town is de rigueur after a lengthy dinner.

What more can we ask for?

Drinks in the rooftop bar looking at the Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral

Drinks in the rooftop bar looking at the Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral

But, of course, once the boyz hit town, they are going to expertly explore it. On foot. (Because the sightseeing bus strikes us as a bit dubious. Anyway, it left us standing – took off right before our noses!)

In line with our cultural proclivities, the very first thing we explore is the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevski glistening in the sunlight, followed by the catacombs beneath the Sveta Temples built one top of the other over the centuries. Four in number to be exact! (Gratefully, they stack up right across from the hotel.)

Cobblestones in the Sveta Sofia Tempel

In the Sveta Sofia Temple

After so much heavy history, we let hunger be our guide and reconnoiter the quarters around the pedestrian mall. Shops and street restaurants line up along it as far as the eye can see.

With the whining getting louder by the minute, we jostle our way into the “Samurai“. Despite the Asian come-on, they dish out good and solid fare in quantity here. And the well-matched local beer – a Kamenitza – tastes great. The only thing we turn thumbs down on is the red wine; no doubt, it’s a direct consequence of the previous evening. We make do instead with copious Bloody Marys.

We felt better after that.

 

Freshly fortified with carbs, proteins and the accompaniments, we head back to the hotel by way of the “artist’s districts.” Well, maybe that’s being a little generous; still, the graffiti was definitely tops.

The former House of the Communist Party

The former House of the Communist Party

Roofed-over archeological dig

Roofed-over archeological dig

Traffic signal control

“Traffic light control”

Speeding tram

Speeding tram

 

Spectacular evening meal in Sofia

To connoisseurs of local color, we can recommend the Moma ‘Bulgarian Food and Wine’. The waiters volubly indoctrinate us in the typical local appetizers and main courses and then bring us the matching Bulgarian Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc and the — highly recommended — excellent red Mavrud!

The red that tastes of roses you can easily do without. But all other recommendations were on the money!

Moma - Bulgarian Restaurant

Bulgarian Restaurant Moma

If you want to let yourself be distracted slightly by dolled-up women while at dinner, give the Sense Hotel’s restaurant a try. The fare here presents itself designed in the same fashion the hotel and its guests are. As already pointed out, you’ll do well to head to the top floor for that after-dinner drink.

Bar and tables of the Sense Hotel's restaurant

Restaurant in the Sense Hotel

 

Mornings, they pile up a “dazzling breakfast buffet,” to our general bemusement (and sleepy blinking.) With VERY attentive personnel: the ladies and gents  knew what I wanted practically before I did!

Well played!

Breakfast table lit by morning sun

Breakfast table in the roof restaurant

Breakfast plates with view of Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral

Breakfast plates with view of the Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral

At first, Sofia does not seem to offer quite sooo much as other European metropoles. But it will do if you want to pull a long weekend here…

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is a web product manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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