Sofia: a nice rediscovery. The Sustainable European Tour, day 4.

565 km, this is the distance between Istanbul and Sofia. The Bosforo Express will bring me, just for one day, back in the European Union. Departure time: 21:30, Arrival Time: ? Undefined. After all these are still the Balkans. The ticket, that I bought in the morning (no online ticketing), is saying 4 people sleeping compartment. Price? Only 120 Turkish Lira, 28€ at change, not bad. The quality of the trip/train was a surprise, for that price I couldn’t have asked better. My 3 travel companions for the night are all young backpackers: One from Switzerland, he’s traveling from 6 weeks and now he’s coming back in Europe from Armenia; The German guy is doing is third Interrail and he is trying to reach Italy; The Turkish guy, the less experienced one, is at his first time in this kind of trains. We discussed a lot, the topic? Travels, of course. The only negative aspect of the trip were the 3 hours of stop at the border for passports control. The train arrived in Sofia in the morning (around 10:30). Once there, I directly went to buy the ticket for the next destination. Then, I left my only, always more heavy, travel companion and I reached the city centre. I already have been in Sofia, for 10 days, during the summer of 2014. For this reason, I had still a bit of familiarity with the streets. But, this time something was different, I was no more facing the dirty and poor organised city I visited 3 years ago. I saw a cleaner, more organized and modern city. Before to leave to next destination, I spent my afternoon in the centre, that is year after year hosting always more tourists. At 18 o’clock, the bus was waiting for me. Next destination? Skopje, Macedonia. I almost forgot, the air pollution level reported on my CleanSpace tag was low-medium. That’s good, but it can be due to the fact that the city is almost empty during summer.

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