Sofia, Bulgaria – Full Of Those Quirky Details

Passport & customs control banged loudly on the door to our train cabin and entered before I had even had a chance to open the door, in my slumber I wondered why they always had to act as though you were a criminal.

Then the lady looked at my passport, and as though she had heard my thought, she broke into a smile, said ”Sofia!”, turning to her colleagues and said something in Bulgarian.

I had the same name as my destination, which was the only reason I had always wanted to go there as a child.

The city of Sofia turned out to be pretty quirky, the main attractions wasn’t what caught my interest but the small things you notice if you keep your eyes open.

Here are a few of them…

The Halloween Fashion

One thing we noticed was the same odd hairstyle that all the girls had, which had obviously become a huge hit in the city.

Old or young, hot or not, they all insisted on dying grey strikes into their beautiful hair. It was a really odd thing to see everyone, including window mannekens, having this kind of ”Halloween” hairstyle.

Literally two out of three girls on the streets would have this hairdo – there must be some famous celebrity there who started it all…

The Kiosk Situation

You couldn’t enter the kiosks but had to order from a window, which is a common situation in Europe, only that in Sofia the windows were down by your feet…

Seeing men in suits and women in skirts squatting down on the pedestrian street was a common sight here. Those who felt too awkward squatting would only bend over with their butt in the air when paying the shopkeeper.

Sometimes the kiosk windows were higher – either by your knees or above your head, but one thing was for sure – it was never where it ”should” be.

Going Nuts

The thing I perhaps loved the most about Sofia was the ease of finding healthy food.

We found some of the best health restaurants in Europe so far (one even grinding their own flour and another one growing all their ingredients on the Vitosha mountain top nearby).

Knowing that Bulgarian food is not the best cuisine for your shape, it was great to see there were a few awesome options if you felt like it.

But the one thing that caught my eye were these tiny, wooden, super-cute nut kiosks scattered around town – they sold no candy or sweets ONLY nuts and dried fruit.

The old ladies in the huts put your choices of nuts into several small plastic bags and then you paid by weight – it was ridiculously cheap!

Kids, adults and old ladies and men all cued up to these little huts, preferring this snack over chocolate bars and chips.

The Michael Jackson Moonwalking Traffic Light

Sofia isn’t the only place we’ve been in Europe where the “green man” on the pedestrian crossing lamp looks strange.

In Berlin the red men look exactly like the spacetoys in Toy Story, the green one looks like Charlie Chaplin, in France even the Red light men were very well animated with their hands resting on their hips like a cartoon, and in Sofia we saw one green man moonwalking..!

What are some fun or quirky details you’ve found when traveling to other countries in Europe?

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16 Responses to Sofia, Bulgaria – Full Of Those Quirky Details

  1. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    I know, whats with those train border agents! Always stressin me out. 
    I’m heading to Sofia soon and looking forward to experiencing some of its quirks as you guys have.

  2. Lauren September 14, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Sounds really bizarre – especially the grey streaks in the hair… Um, what?! Hahaha.

    • Nathan - As We Travel September 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      haha yeah it was really weird – I wish we had taken a photo of one of the girls, really didn’t understand why a girl in her 20’s would wanna make herself look 60+ :S

  3. Brock G September 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I had my scariest train experience going through Croatia when they did the same thing. Banged on my door loudly yelling ‘POLICIA!’ Terrifying!

    • Nathan - As We Travel September 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      I hated how they always woke you up at 2-3am in the morning, never at a good time of the day :p

  4. Debbie @ European Travelista September 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Grey hair on purpose?  That sounds crazy!  I love shopping at open air markets while traveling to find healthy snacks or picnic items. 

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 15, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Me too, I always make sure I visit at least one market in every country I visit.

  5. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Why were the windows at your feet in Sophia? Ever figure that out?

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      I still have no idea, but I’m curious to find out.

      • Antoniya September 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

        i am living in Sofia and i would like to explain about those windows :) Those buildings are old and are in the center of the city /where everything is basically old/. Streets were lower before, now are higher and those kiosks are made in the basements. Just another way to make some money from rent i guess :)

  6. Georgi Georgiev September 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Hilarious guide and it’s so true.

  7. Villas Location Mauritius September 20, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    hey great place, wish i could be there

  8. Rajasthan Tours Operator September 21, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    good very good thanx

  9. Rajasthan Tours October 19, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    its great and amazing place thanks for sharing

  10. writemimimi Slawoff August 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Interesting article! I’m a first generation American born to Bulgarian parents and love hering about Bulgaria. Haven’t been there in years and can’t wait to go back.


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