Stories from the tour

Sofia and Bulgaria, seen through the eyes of Free Sofia Tour guests. Interesting stories from the tour.

August 24, 2011

Hitchhiking to Sofia

– “So, where do you go next?” – “Oh, we don’t know yet… it’s a destination anywhere.” – “And how did you decide to come to Sofia?” – “We didn’t really decide that. It’s complicated.” – “You took a blind booking?” – “Not quite. It’s a long story…” It’s not on purpose that I constantly write about how our guests decided to come to Sofia. I just happen to meet people with curious travel planning. End of December I had some guests from Cologne, Germany, who chose the “blind booking” option and Germanwings sent them to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sofia. This is a similar story. A brother and sister from Hamburg, Germany (forget about all your prejudices – those Germans are sometimes much more spontaneous and unpredictable than you can imagine), decided to travel somewhere around Europe. But they wanted to leave the exact destination to destiny. So they packed their things, went to the highway and stretched their thumbs. The first driver that stopped was a Bulgarian, who had […]
August 23, 2011

Venezuelans about Sofia

Beginning of April I had a group of two ladies from Venezuela. The younger one lived in Sofia for almost two years, working as a Spanish teacher of very young children. She and her husband have visited many places across Bulgaria, but somehow she felt she didn’t know enough about the capital and its history. Her mum was visiting them, so they joined the tour together. The tour started with a passionate discussion about Geo Milev. It turned out that the younger lady knew his daughter – the children’s writer Leda Mileva. Geo Milev was a Bulgarian writer and poet, the main representative of expressionism in Bulgarian literature. His most famous poem “September”, published a year before the Sveta Nedelya Church assault (visit our tour to learn more), was one of the reasons for his murder in the reprisals after the terrorist act. At that time he just disappeared and the truth about his brutal death was only found out 30 years later. So, Communism became the main topic of discussion […]
August 23, 2011

Shocking obituaries

Back in March I had a very friendly couple from Hong Kong, visiting only Bulgaria and Romania. Went to Veliko Tarnovo before they came to Sofia and on the next day they wanted to do another short trip to somewhere in Bulgaria, maybe Rila monastery or Plovdiv. Initially, they wanted to go to the Rose valley (not so many people know in advance about Bulgaria being the world number one in rose oil production), but they were disappointed to find out that March was not the right season to visit it. Somehow they reminded me of my stay in Southeast Asia 2 years ago 🙂 When I asked about their hobbies, they answered “going to the cinema, playing badminton and… KARAOKE”. Many families in Asia have their own karaoke device where you can find many of the popular songs and the family often get together and make a karaoke session. I learnt to love food in Asia – where food is an important part of the everyday life and culture. […]
July 15, 2011

Beware of magic tiles

There’s water everywhere in Sofia and that impresses a lot of our guests. Today one of my Dutch guests exclaimed with admiration: “You have so many beautiful fountains everywhere in Sofia! In Amsterdam we have plenty of water, but we don’t have so many fountains. Here it’s great!” Тhis usually goes together with a compliment on how many nice parks (just one example here) we have and how clean our city is. This same guest was constantly comparing Sofia with Amsterdam (always ending in favour of Sofia), and the only time she noticed two plastic bottles in the grass, she assured me: “Those must have been left from some tourists!” We also have a lot of mineral water springs. That is one of the reasons why the Romans settled in Serdica (former name of Sofia) thousands of years ago. And not only Serdica – whole Bulgaria is covered by mineral water springs. According to the Bulgarian popular science magazine “Osem”, most of them have been explored thoroughly and our researchers are aware […]
July 6, 2011

In Sofia by mistake

It was one of those special rainy days, when you’re so happy when you see that people are as enthusiastic as you are – approaching our meeting point with their umbrellas and smiles. A lovely group of 10 people from Israel, Germany, UK, USA, Canada and Spain. Good mixture as usual. How did you learn about the tour? To my routine introductory question “How did you learn about the tour?” the couple from Spain replied: “The only thing we could easily find about Bulgaria was your tour”. That made me proud and sad at the same time. It became quite obvious that there is no sufficient and easy-to-find information about our country, which only hinders a lot of potential guests from visiting Bulgaria.This couple was to travel for 3 whole weeks across the country and they had just arrived. I’m always surprised to hear that someone takes such a long time to explore one small country – and in this case – my country. So, of course I was curious […]
June 23, 2011

The red star is gone

End of an era. The Red Star is no longer there. Quite literally. It all happened probably because the soldiers on the Soviet army monument were turned into cartoon characters (The Joker, Wolverine, Santa Claus, Superman, Ronald McDonald, Captain America, Robin, and Wonder Woman, to be precise). This caused such a big debate that the authorities were perhaps afraid that something similar might happen to other Soviet memorabilia just left around in the city. That’s why they decided to move one of the highlights of our tours. What a journey it has been for one of Sofia’s biggest communist symbols. The five-point red star that once used to be on top of the Communist Headquarters. The star that after the fall of the communist regime was abandoned in the yard of the Central Public Bathhouse. Then an essential part of our very own Free Sofia Tour. It was a huge hit during our tours and even made a couple of headlines (for example: The Red Star? by Sofia Echo’s Gabriel Hershman). What a […]
June 22, 2011

History in the making

How it all started Here’s what I mean by history in the making. I was taking my group this morning to the former bathhouse of Sofia to show them the famous five-point star in the yard behind the fence. Started talking about the mineral waters, the people that go there to fill up their bottles and other stuff with the intention to distract my guests completely and build up to the moment I will rock their worlds with the red star. When the time came I turned around and said something like: “And now I would like to show you something… Although I am not sure if I will be able to…” That’s right, where the star usually stood we saw big open truck with a crane, blocking our view. Quite disappointing. It’s a bit hard to make your point about “this world famous symbol of communism” without people being able to see the world famous symbol of communism, isn’t it? The big surprise I tried to do the best […]
June 6, 2011

Secret admirer

Some secret admirer of Free Sofia Tour left one of our flyers at Supa Star. It was a very nice surprise to see it hanging there 😉
June 6, 2011

Mozilla Firefox badge

I got a really nice Firefox badge strap from Mozilla communities representatives from B&H, Kosovo and Romania visiting Free Sofia Tour yesterday 🙂 Thanks, guys! I might even reconsider using Chrome as my default browser 😛

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