[April, 2022] During this trip to Bulgaria, we didn’t plan to do sightseeing in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria because we had visited there on a tour before.
However, due to the public transport network, we had to return to Sofia every time and stay overnight.
So, we stayed at the Best Western Terminus, a business hotel near the central station and bus station.
When you go out from the station, you can see that there is a building simply written as HOTEL on the wall, but that is it.
After coming back from Plovdiv, we spent the night here and the next morning we were taking a bus to Melnik.
First, we walked to the bus station.
We arrived at a bus station near the railway station, but it was a bus station exclusively for international bus services, and the station for domestic ones was a little further.
The people who were hanging out at the international bus station looked really poor.
For domestic services, the station itself was better, and the people were normal, which was a bit of a relief.
This was my third visit to Bulgaria, and one thing I didn’t see during the previous visits mainly because they were group tours was the poverty of the people.
In the morning, when we walked to the ATM near the hotel, the cars I saw along the way were generally fine, but the people walking by were dressed like only a little better than homeless people.
Well, it is common knowledge that the area around the station is dangerous anywhere in Europe.
Now, at the domestic bus station, we went to the window of a bus company called Union and had the bus ticket we had reserved online the day before issued.
When I asked about the bus information for our future itinerary, I was told to ask at the information desk.
When we went there, a staff member who was a typical person from Eastern Europe reluctantly gave us information, showing her feeling that how nuisance we were.
On the other hand, our bus driver was a smiling man who enjoyed his job and made me feel better.
This driver’s large bus was taking us to a town called Sandanski.
We left on time at 10:30 and arrived at 13:30.
There was a toilet break on the way, and the petrol station we stopped at was that of Gazprom, the world’s largest Russian gas company.
At this point, the war between Ukraine and Russia had already begun, and I was worried whether this country, which relied so much on Russian resources, would be all right in the future.
We arrived safely in Sandanski, and from there we took a taxi because the bus time was not convenient.
The driver was a gruff woman with long nails.
She was talking on two mobile phones incessantly.
It seemed that she was the boss of a taxi company.
Although she was gruff, she did a good job.
When we arrived at Melnik, she first charged us (28 Lev ≒ 14 euros), then looked for our hotel, and took us to the gate of the hotel.