Our visit to Sofia didn’t turn out quite the way we planned. This morning after push starting the bike, we met up with Jeff Smith from Smitty Gone Ride About outside the Palace of Justice with plans of taking the Free Walking Tour of Sofia. We arrived early for the tour but pretty soon the sidewalk was packed with over 60 people waiting for the tour. We couldn’t believe the size of the crowd. We haven’t seen that many tourists since Paris walking tours. Even though there were two guides we thought we might try again tomorrow and hopefully the numbers would be a little less.
With our plans changed we decided to use the city map and have a wander around the city. Sofia is a beautiful city with lots of buildings from the 19th century onwards which reflect a real European influence. We didn’t get very far before we were covered in sweat and looking for a place to get out of the sun. We haven’t faced this sort of humidity for so long it caught us off guard. It took us a while to find a bar which didn’t look like they’d charge an arm and a leg just for drink, but we settled on a cafe with a marquee. Our drinks had just arrived when the skies opened up and the rain started hammering down. It was coming down in almost biblical proportions so we decided to settle in and wait it out. Well there was no let up in the rain and we watched as across the street the crowd on the Free Walking Tour huddled in doorways as the rain hammered down. Sometimes it’s all about timing.
With the rain hammering down there was nothing to do but sit and wait it out. It gave us a chance to find out about all about Smitty’s adventures.
After a few hours the rain suddenly stopped and the sun came back out. It was the cue for us to look for a restaurant before we settled in for the day. It wasn’t a simple task with many of the bars just selling coffee and drinks.
The skies opened up again with firstly rain and then hail so we settled into a panini bar to wait it out again. It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, as it’s not very often we get to spend the day chatting. It was a great stress reliever.
Waiting for the rain to ease we heard all about Smitty’s plan to ride across Russia over the next three months to complete his circumnavigation of the world on his Kawasaki KLR 650. We even got to check it out all loaded up at his hostel. As he carries camping gear and spares it was a lot more loaded up than our bike.
Suddenly we realised that if we didn’t get going we would be late back our couch surf. Looking out the window of the hostel I realised that I’d probably be push starting the bike in the dark if it didn’t start. It was a great day doing bugger all and we spent way too long chatting with Smitty.
As expected the battery was flat so I had to push start the bike. As usual when you’re pushing a bike there’s always an audience and it always won’t start first go. I pushed it all the way down the street and on the fourth jump it started. My word was I happy and exhausted when it fired. Getting the 230 kg bike up to speed on the flat ground was better than any gym workout.
When we arrived back at the apartment I parked the bike pack up on the pavement where at least I’d get a small run up tomorrow when I have to push start it.
Back at the couchsurf we chatted late into the night. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we can check out Sofia, properly.