Bulgaria – Here We Come!
I met my passengers yesterday afternoon at Toronto Pearson. Everyone was so excited about our Journey to Bulgaria! This is a new destination for them AND me.
Check-in at the Lufthansa counters was pretty quick – line ups at security were long – but eventually we all ended up in the Plaza Premium Lounge for dinner and beverages before boarding a 747-400 series jet for the 7hr flight to Frankfurt.
The plane was filled to capacity. Service was very good. The on-flight meal was a choice of beef or pasta and a hearty snack was served prior to landing.
Surprisingly there wasn’t a gate assigned to the plane in Frankfurt so we walked down stairs and boarded buses that took us to the terminal – surprised they would do that with a mega size jet like a 747 – I’ve had it happen many times when traveling on smaller jets.
It was a fun adventure going up and down stairs in the terminal in order to board another bus that took us to a different part of the terminal where our connecting gate was located. I think everyone appreciated my guidance to get them there. We were just glad that we didn’t have a quick connection.
The stores in the airport concourse were all designer brands with prices to match – no bargains to be found.
Our connecting flight to Sofia was also with Lufthansa and this time we flew on an Airbus. The connecting flight was a short 90 minutes but that didn’t stop the friendly flight crew from giving us a choice of sandwich with beverage choice.
Its Orthodox Easter Monday so Sofia is like a ghost town. The streets that are typically clogged with traffic are empty. Many locals leave the city and head to the Black Sea or Greek resorts to celebrate the holiday.
After we landed at Sophia, we quickly cleared customs and our luggage already appeared on a conveyor belt.
We met our knowledgeable guide, Daniel and our motor coach driver,
We were soon on our way to lunch.
The restaurant was an authentic one with great atmosphere. It’s highly regarded – Putin, has eaten here a few times.
Our 3 course meal was delicious – hearty potato soup, a yummy chicken dish (similar to a stew topped with an egg – so much flavor) and a traditional pastry thin layer cake (I’m sure a labor of love to prepare).
Daniel then showed us some landmarks in this very clean city that has a population of 1 Million in the core and 1.3 Million including the suburbs.
We made a stop so we could exchange some money at a GREAT rate.
We are staying in the finest and most highly regarded 5 star hotel in the city. They might as well refer to their rooms as suites because they are suite size. Some of my passengers commented that they are larger than many apartments in Toronto. Green is the decorating colour of choice but it nicely compliments the rooms dark woods.
Our welcome dinner was in the Red Room – very elegant – a few of my passengers said the pork was the BEST they EVER tasted – so tender.
The Prime Minister of Bulgaria was dining in the room next to us so there was a great deal of security around. Some of my passengers saw the Prime Minister giving a press conference in the lobby of our hotel – I missed it by a couple minutes.
This hotel has attracted a huge list celebrities and they proudly post their pictures in their beautiful coffee cafe. “Travel With Bradley” passengers stay at the best!
Temperatures were in the 20C range today and it was such a warm evening almost everyone went for a stroll after dinner to admire this beautifully lit up city.
In honor of Orthodox Easter in the hotel lobby I purchased a hand made Easter Egg Nest – made of wool – a charity project for needy children.
My passengers are tired after a day of travel but we are having a great time and are so impressed with our first day in Bulgaria. Looking forward to what we are going to experience in the upcoming days.