Bucharest to Sofia by Car
Before Sofia, I could honestly say I was not excited to go there. As a matter of fact, I was merely using it as a transit route towards Skopje, Macedonia, and thought it’d be rude not to cross off another European capital along the way. So it was to be.
Most excitingly, entering Bulgaria was part of my first BlaBlaCar experience – a ride-sharing app that allows you to split the costs of a journey based on your destination from your current location. And, despite my driver being 2 hours late (to be fair, he got clobbered by the Bucharest traffic on a truly depressing day, weather-wise), he was actually a super cool local Bulgarian dude, who had been in Brasov visiting his Romanian girlfriend for the weekend and heading home.
There was also a couple of Yanks joining us on the journey. If you’ve traveled at all across Europe, no doubt you’ll have had the pleasure of meeting Americans in abundance. In my opinion, they are usually super-cool but annoying, never knowing when to shut the fuck up over the course of a 5 hour, draining cross-border journey. Despite this, I love them.
Crossing the border is fine with an EU passport, but if not, you may give the border control in Bulgaria something to try to act tough about. So it was to be with our American friends, although they got their passports back after a quick 20 minute delay (quick by border control standards, that is).
What surprised me the most in Eastern Europe is the poor infrastructure in regards to roads. They’re bumpy, dimly-lit in dangerous areas and full of pot holes. You can really see the prevalent difference between countries like Romania and Bulgaria compared to Western Europe, in this regard.
But apart from the crappy roads, we made it to Sofia in one piece, which is fantastic for me because I forgot to purchase travel insurance beforehand.
Take home message: crossing into Bulgaria via road is the best option from Romania, preferably with BlaBlaCar as the train takes far too long, and coaches are also a horrific, over-stretched journey. Choose a rogue driver, make sure you’re insured and buckle up.