Claire and I left the hostel early in search of two things: coffee and the bus to Rila Monastery. We found the bus station on the outskirts of Sofia and we also found bus station coffee, which was surprisingly good, even if served in a plastic cup that felt like it was going to melt. I bought a ham and cheese roll, which to my disgust had olives hidden inside. So I bought something that resembled a hot dog instead which was much tastier. Claire found a cheese pastry, which is what I should have also bought.
Finding the bus and tickets was not hard, partly because we had the place written down for us in cyryllic text: Рила манастир. Also the ticket person spoke english and informed us to buy tickets on the bus from bay 7. The ride up was fairly quick, although we stopped in Rila for over half an hour before the bus went up to the monastery.
The Monastery is quite beautiful, despite there being more tourists here than we’d seen all trip. We entered through one gate and took a few pictures but given it was well past lunchtime, we headed out a back gate to where the restaurant was to have some lunch. Claire ordered at least 5 soups each time being told she could have chicken soup, which she didn’t want. According to the waiter the lentil, mushroom, vegetable, monastery bean and regular bean soup were not available. Instead Claire had salad for lunch, while I ordered a sausage and got two, but with no sides.
We went back into the beautiful monastery to wander a bit more, and wait patiently for tourists to get out of the photo we wanted to take. There was always some one in bright clothing in the photo that was too distracting. Instead we lured one of the monasteries dogs over for a pat while we waited. He even knew how to shake hands and did not understand english for sit or shake.
The bus ride back was interesting. The bus picked up a lot of passengers and it was basically a few tourists crammed in with 30 Bulgarians. I fell a sleep for most of the ride back while Claire informs me the small villages were interesting. We got a recommendation from the hostel manager for dinner. It was a short walk a few blocks away and we found a table inside as the weather was forecast to storm. Claire had some veggies and cheese thing with bread (She is asleep so I cannot confirm the exact details). Claire was most pleased with her choice of Bulgarian wine. I instead went for the chicken special which was quite good as well. My beverage this evening was Staropramen Dark, which turns out to be a Czech beer, close enough by my books.
We leave Sofia in the morning, although we have just had a storm, so hope it won’t be raining tomorrow.