Day 24 & 25: Facing Solo Travel… Sofia, Bulgaria

Yay, I’m back. I’m comfortably sat in Spain at this very moment, and I’m very sorry for the delay on the round-up of our Balkan adventure. But I do have a pretty good excuse. Yes, you read the title right. Mike and I, being a couple, came to a disagreement. Which resulted in him storming off to the airport with all of his gear and me facing the daunting thought of solo travel.

Sunday 22nd June 2014

It’s not news to anybody that I am a very difficult to please. Mike knows better than most that everyday is a struggle for me to be nice to the people closest to me. I don’t know WHY I do it, but the closer a friend you are, the more likely I am to make snarky comments or just be downright miserable.

I’m working on it.

On this particular day, after taking a travel sickness tablet, spending two hours on a coach from Plovdiv to Sofia and trying to locate the hostel, I was just that little bit TOO grumpy. Once we had dumped our bags in the 18 bed dorm room we had booked for the night, I suggested heading out to find a soviet memorial of sorts. You know, make the most of the few hours we had in Sofia.

Mike was unusually quiet over a drink that we stopped to have. He refused to tell me that he had a problem, despite his behaviour screaming that I had done something to upset him.

It all came to light in a horrible argument about my attitude and I told him to go home if he was so miserable.

I didn’t think he would, but I clearly pushed him too far. Later that night he packed his belongings and headed to the airport. I wasted an evening in Sofia crying down the phone to my Mum (who was in Spain at the time) and worrying about what I was going to do.

Sure, couples fight all the time. But when you’re left alone in a hostel surrounded by intimidating, dreadlocked travellers who are far more superior than you because they have five stamps on each page of their passport, and you’re in a country that doesn’t even use the same alphabet that you do, it seems worse.

I went to bed pretty tired and totally unsure of how the next day would go.

Monday 23rd June 2014
I woke up to find Mike in the bed next to mine. And I was surprised.

We spent the morning talking about things over very good coffee on the main strip in Sofia. We then had a massive lunch and did some more shopping. The waitress at lunch got us laughing again…

Me: Is this chicken? *Points at the picture of pasta in the menu that we can’t read*

Waitress: Yes.

[10 minutes later, on arrival of food]

Me: Aaaaand… this is pork.

“No… That’s definitely pork.”

 Again we attempted to find the soviet memorial and only found it after hours of searching and getting lost. Atlas Obscura (my new favourite website) tipped us off that the memorial is often vandalised and this picture of it painted made me want to see what it was like this particular week.

[Borrowed from Atlas Obscura]

It wasn’t worth getting lost for. It was just bird poo and crappy pen tags this week.

After chillaxing in the hostel common area for what seemed like days, we collected our stuff and grabbed a taxi to the airport. We spent the few hours before check in sleeping on hard metal chairs. It was only after making our way through security that we realised how hungry we were. Both of us had only eaten once in like the last 48 hours. There were no cash machines, we had no Bulgarian lev left and the cafe couldn’t accept card payments.

Fuck.

This could only mean one thing. A couple of hours later, on the plane, we bought a very expensive pair of hot chocolates, a chocolate muffin and a cheese and chicken croissant, thing. Yes, we bought plane food.

We then spread out across the seats that weren’t filled and fell asleep. We had a long day in Barcelona ahead of us and a lot of making up to do.

And THAT is the really quite shit ending to our travels through Eastern Europe. TA-DA! I won’t say it was uneventful but I will say that it was super rubbish.
Thanks for reading about our travels so far. As I said, we’re now in Spain where we will be settling for a couple of months, so the posts will be less frequent. Follow me on twitter to get short updates most days but check back for lots of details on what it’s like to live and work in Spain!
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