“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
One of the best things about traveling is discovering the unexpected. Going where you never thought you’d go and changing your perspective. This was certainly the case for me on my recent trip to Bulgaria. Yes, you read that correctly. BULGARIA.
Never did I ever expect to travel there. And yet at the end of October/beginning of November, I had the opportunity to visit 2 cities and a town in Bulgaria and learn more about the country than I ever had before. I’m excited to share my experience with you and I hope that by the time you’ve finished reading, I’ll have convinced you to take your own trip there.
I read somewhere that autumn is one of the best times to visit Bulgaria. It’s easy to see why. Not only was the weather a crisp, refreshing 50°F (10°C), the foliage was absolutely breathtaking. Living in Miami (where it basically looks the same year-round), it’s easy to forget the simple beauty of leaves changing color in the fall, so this was especially nice to see.
Sofia, the capital, was the city I stayed in the longest. The city is in the western part of the country and sits at the foot of Vitosha Mountain (which you can see in the background of the picture above).
I’d describe Sofia as a place where new meets old. History and modernity. The city itself is about 7,000 years old, making it the second oldest city in Europe. You can tell just by looking at the architecture of some of the buildings. Of the sightseeing I was able to do, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was a definite highlight. Pictures don’t do it justice. and the inside is even more beautiful.
Aside from Sofia, I also visited the former capital, Veliko Tarnovo, and the small town of Koprivshtitsa. The Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo was easily the best part of my entire trip. The fortress was built in the 12th century and sits atop a hill overlooking the town below. Visitors can climb the trail to the top to see the church and the partially reconstructed castle. If you can take a guided tour, I highly recommend it. Our guide’s commentary enhanced the already amazing experience.
Koprivshtitsa is known for its historical preserved architecture in the form of house museums, statues, and churches dating back to the early 19th century.
Overall, I spent less than a day in both Veliko Tarnovo and Koprivshtitsa, but it was still worth every minute. Each town was beautiful and held its own unique piece of history.
I wish I could have stayed longer in Bulgaria to experience more of its beautiful sights, cities, and kind people. It just means I’ll have to go back. Next time, I hope to visit Varna and Plovdiv.
I’ve included more pictures from my visit below. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Bulgaria through my eyes. Til next time, 🙂