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Worldtrip a 45 year old's adventures around the world-which include everything from sitting in random McDonalds using his notebook, hanging with 22 year olds, and other immature stuff.

Straight to Sofia-Broken, Left-Behind , Booked and Overcharged

BULGARIA | Friday, 25 September 2015 | Views [329]

Last night, I slept in a hotel, even though I didn't want to.


But let's start with yesterday morning. A full 50%  of the guests staying at the hostel left before breakfast  (one other person), so I had breakfast in the hostel in Lake Ohrid with the owner. I learned her husband died about a year ago, and she had didn't earn very much money. I also complemented her on her English-which she said actually used to be better, but she had some type of shock from penicillin which permanently harmed her, and she slurred her words.


Anyway, I left about 10:30 am or so to make the 11:45 bus back to Skopje, where I planned on spending the night. On my way back to the station, I ran into the girl from the past hostel in Skopje (the girl who was crying)-she made up with her friend.  They had just arrived in Ohrid, (they stayed an extra day in Skopje), and he was waiting for her at the bus station because she was finding at ATM.


I met him at the bus station, talked to him for a while, and she joined us-and then I caught the 11:45 bus-once again, a 3 hour ride back to Skopje (in the same vehicle-I  am pretty sure-an old beat-up Mercedes mini-bus). A relatively uneventful ride, 


When I got to to Skopje around 2:30-I decided to see what time the buses left to Sofia for the next day. I learned that there  was a 7:30 am, an 8:30 am and a 3:00 pm bus-so I would either have to get up really early to catch the bus, or stay in Skopje until 3:00 pm. I also learned that there was a 3:00 pm bus yesterday as well I could still catch.  Being that I wasn't too keen on staying in Skopje another night (I thought I saw what there was to see), and I felt up to a 5 hour bus ride-I decided to just go to Sofia that day. My only concern was that I didn't have any  accommodations booked for Sofia, and I always like to have something planned. (when I saw the bus had a WIFI sticker on the door, I felt a little more at ease). So I got on the bus and went away. I learned that the while WIFI wasn't working yet-it would operate as soon as we entered Bulgaria, but as I found out later, the WIFI didn't work for the entire journey.


The bus ride was fine. I was sitting in the forward-most passenger seat, and other then watching the bus driver(this time a large bus), drive the manual-transmission beast while juggling his cellphone in one hand (and going up and down curvy roads), the first part of the ride was fine. 


After a one hour stop at border control (where exiting Macedonia, the police collect the passports, stamp them, and after about 20 minutes a volunteer from the bus gives the passports back-and after everyone has their passport, the bus goes forward about 20 feet, and the process starts again with a Bulgarian Police officer collecting the passports),  the bus made in to Sofia Bulgaria at around 10:00 pm (with a one hour time change).   I ran into a girl who I was at the hostel with for one night in Ohrid, who was also on the bus.


Now, there was one place I wanted to stay at in Sofia-called Hostel-Mostel. 

(1) I read about Hostel-Mostel somewhere

(2) My friends from the hostel in Skopje who I ran into stayed at Hostel-Mostel, and recommended it.

(3) I found a Sofia city map in the hostel in Ohrid from Hostel-Mostel.  

(4) The girl who I ran into was booked at-yes-you guessed it.


So myself and the girl decided to share a cab to Hostel-Mostel-but first we went into the adjoining train station to find an ATM and withdraw some Bulgarian currency. As I took out money, my cell phone, which survived the hike from Canyon Matka. dropped from my shirt pocket and fell to the floor and shattered.


The girl wanted to stop for something to eat from a shop-so while waiting I sat on the floor and checked my notebook computer to ensure there was room at Hostel-Mostel  (remember, I had no reservations, and the WIFI on the bus wasn't working-but there was WIFI at the station). 


The last three hostels  I stayed at we're practically empty-at the hostel in Skopje-at most three beds we're taken in the 6 person room I stayed at.  At Ohrid, only 2 people we're at the hostel. 
So I was taken-aback to say the least, when I saw that Hostel-Mostel was completely booked.


So me and the girl parted ways, and at 10:00 pm, I checked my computer to find other accommodations.  Other hostels had room-but not with 24-hour check in. Check in was only until 7 pm at the ones I saw.  So I reluctantly went to Hotels.com to find a hotel. 


I didn't want to stay in a hotel. Not only did I not want to spend the money-but I wanted to be around other  fun-loving people.   I wanted to be around pub-crawls, people getting smashed, etc. 20 something-year olds.  Not stay in a hotel room alone. But that is what was available.


So I found a cab which took me to the Hotel Downtown-which was a relatively inexpensive $66 per night (still about 9  times the cost of a hostel)-on the way to  the hotel- I realized I left my jacket at the train station (Which I bought 3 days earlier-when I asked the driver to turn back he basically didn't seem to understand what I said). I checked in to the hotel. As I booked the room on Hotels.com, the lady at the front desk collected my credit-card. I questioned this, as I paid for the room in advance. She told me that she would have to charge my card, as I haven't yet paid.  She later realized it was her mistake-but not before disclosing someone paid around $43.00  for the same room, and she was confusing that reservation with mine.

Tags: bulgaria, sofia

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