Balcans in October. Budapest - Belgrad- Sofia


In October, we traveled to the Balkan countries. These destination we picked as it was cheap airline tickets,obviously, and we have not traveled there before, except Budapest. Two backpacks went through 4 cities and 3 countries in one week on the way driving through Bulgarian mountain area picking up some small villages. In-between it was 2 flights, 2 nightbusses and a rental car staying at 2 hostels, 3 airbnb homes, 1 friend's home and 2 nights trying to catch a sleep on a bus chair. 


A brief look into small part of Balkan countries.

I have written detailed stories on my "diary blog".  Here I wont' go into much details, but briefly mumble about Budapest - Belgrad - Sofia - Plovdiv, on my swedish blog I have not updated (2017 Jan when I write this) yet stories on our Forest Utopia and driving through mountains and Plovdiv yet. During this trip, we ate very good vegetarian and vegan food, we saw beautiful countryside, and we learned about the history of the Balkans a little more and heard funny stories from our friends and the new friends we met there. One of the new travel experiences to one of us was traveling with night buses, and to me it was new travel experience with a rented car. The main 'goal' to the adventure was getting to more rural Bulgaria, but to plan ALL in one short week was not easy, but we managed to embrace living the mountain life in a quiet 'off-grid' airbnb home called "Forest Utopia"(next post).... It was a great trip, but we wished if it could have been longer...We did not long for return home yet.

But what to say? Budapest was as mundane as usual. Belgrad surprised us than we expected, but Sofia felt a bit not so impressive after previous cities, but still though - if you have the cheap wizzair flight from your nearest airport - just go, and take a day trip outside the city (there are organized trips I noticed) and the Sofia Free Tour was worth to tag along! And the last city we briefly visited on a day before going to airport was Plovdiv. A friend told me she loved and enjoyed Plovdiv so much while not Budapest, well, for us it is opposite! The only personal observations I can make is that it really depends on people who you meet the cities you visit, the interaction with locals as through them you can get to see the city from different perspective. As we had not planned this visit well, then I guess that's why it was so average destination where I probably wouldn't go back, as only find a flight to Plovdiv, rent a car and off into the mountains!

Being vegetarian/vegan I might miss you some cultural experience with food, but I managed still to try some local meals without meat, as only it was more difficult to stay vegan (and yes, after a return to Sweden I faced my allergy reaction, :) , but the Bulgarian food with cheese was worth it!). From this way of traveling I personally find it more interesting to look for the new modern ways of presenting traditional food, so, it is like a travel mission which keeps us awake and curious.In my opinion I maybe spend little bit more on my expenses with food awareness, but then we don't party hard, don't spend money on nights out on plenty of "cheap" eastern European alcohol, so that extra cash goes into well eaten food than fast food pizza on the street

Nop, no museums to suggest, or some special touristy attractions, not really any cafeterias as only Budapest is the hipster cafe town, but perhaps if I would do more research before traveling I could find nice cortado than explaining to a barista what it is. We usually are the follow the flow and if we find wifi then I ask google for some vegetarian places in town if a local couldn't help out. Nothing is better than accidentally running into on a wrong turn street cafe or restaurant! :)

Photos. As you might see, my city photos are NOT inspiring. I am not a city photographer, I don't feel cities as much as my friend Polly is good at it(check link here on her insta). I might have collected stories from these cities than photos, but even though each my bad photo gives me a certain memory of words we said around that capture or what happened after/before. There are some moments of discussing the huge difference with Sweden and Hungary, then confusion of arriving too early to Belgrad and being let out at outskirts of town and trying to use broken Russian to ask for help how to get into city, and finding a 24h open hostel which let us to stay from 6am until 12:30pm, meeting our airbnb-guests in Belgrad who works in tourism industry and introduced us with very nice restaurants/creative hipsterish underground bars and so, and drinking a smelly healing water in Sofia... We missed visiting Tesla museum, but in general all the city experience was enough to be ready to leave and go into rural Bulgaria.

Where I would suggest to go? Well, to all of them! Want more coffee culture - Budapest! Want more nightlife - Belgrad! Want to have relaxing time - Sofia! Plovdiv - I don't know, but it seemed to be some art mecca, so, maybe there are some good reasons to visit! :) 


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