After our arrival, we went off to explore downtown. The hotel map would have been helpful except the streets were listed in English but all the street signs were in the Bulgarian cyrillic alphabet (similar to Greek writing). Luckily our travel guide helped us break the code and we managed to get ourselves around!
Bulgaria fun fact…the yes and no head motions are reversed here. If you ask for something and intuitively shake your head up and down for the response they will assume you don’t want it and take the item back!
On our way to Sofia’s iconic site, the Aleksander Nevski (a Swedish born, Russian warrior) church we stopped off for some pizza - there are tons of pizzerias everywhere - and people watching at an outdoor café. After we got to the impressive church and had our look around, we wandered through the souvenir stands, which were selling anything from handmade wooden bottles containing rose oil, (Bulgaria are the world-wide producers of), to Olympic medals and Nazi paraphernalia.
Later that night we met up with some colleagues for a traditional Bulgarian dinner at a restaurant called Pod Lipite, which roughly translates to Linden or Lime Tree. I try to be adventurous with food in new countries, but this menu was a bit beyond my limits. It included things like chicken hearts (a bit chewy and not too tasty), pig intestines, and cow tongue! At least there was a great ambience in the place, very rustic stone walls, plain wooden tables, and a people in traditional dress playing the gaïda, a type of bag pipe.
The next day we had a live TV appearance to promote our show. My nerves got going when they put me into makeup, and although was awkward having translator (male nontheless) just behind me talking over everything I said, it was a very unique experience for sure!
The rest of the week was rather non-eventual as I was working, but at least my office had this beautiful view of Mt. Vitosha.
We did managed to check out some Bulgarian nightlife too at Club Candle. It seemed very loungy/laid back outside, but inside a “private party” raged on. Our persistence eventually paid off and we got to the dance floor where we finished up our night rocking it out to some Snoop Dogg and showing those Bulgarians how to move! All in all it was a fun trip to Bulgaria, I just wish I hadn't lost my stupidly expensive mobile phone in the taxi on the way to the airport, but you have to take the travel ups with the travel downs!