I was in Bulgaria last summer with my friend. Our holiday was a combination of going out and doing a few cultural things. We were staying in Sunny Beach and when I saw in our guide that Varna, another coastal town in Bulgaria, had a beautiful cathedral. So I dragged my friend along on a 2-hour bus trip to Varna!
The tickets were really cheap. A roundtrip to Varna was only 12 euros per person. I had read in our guide that it wasn’t strange if busses arrived 30 minutes late, so we sat down at the bus station and waited paitiently.
After 50 minutes, finally a bus arrived that said “Варна.” The tricky thing was of course that we couldn’t read bulgarian and the fact that the letters were different made it even harder. But with my very limited knowledge of greek letters, I knew that the last 4 letters were pronounced as “arna.” So that had to be our bus!
Before we got in, I asked the bus driver: “Is this the bus to Varna?” and I showed him our bus tickets. He didn’t even look at us and just gestured us to get inside, so we did. We sat in the back of the bus and prepared ourselves for a 2-hour bus ride. We left the city and drove into the mountains. After twenty minutes, we were in a deserted area with no cities or houses in sight. The view was beautiful.
This was when the woman who was checking the tickets came by. I confidently showed her our tickets. That’s when she said, in an irritated tone: “wrong bus!” and looked at us angrily. We were confused. “What do you mean ‘wrong bus’?” we asked her. She raised her voice and repeated: “Wrong bus! Wrong ticket!” I pointed at the ticket and tried to explain: “On the ticket it says Sunny Beach – Varna, and this bus goes to Varna, right?” She shook her head and just said “wrong bus, get out at Obzor” and walked away before we could say anything else.
We were panicking at this moment. None of us had any idea what Obzor was or what we did wrong. Was she just going to drop us off in this deserted area, 30 minutes driving away from the last city? Were we going the wrong way? Where were we going to end up? At the next stop she came to get us and we had to come with her. Obzor appeared to be a small coastal village. The woman brought us to some sort of waiting room at the tiny bus station and started talking in Bulgarian to the woman behind the ticket counter. She then explained us in better English that our tickets were for the bus at 12:00 and we took the bus of 12:45. The bus of 12:00 was delayed by one hour and the bus of 12:45 was delayed by five minutes.So we had to wait for ten minutes to get on the next bus to Varna, which was supposed to leave Sunny Beach at 12:00.
Relieved that we finally got an explanation after a long time of worrying, but still hoping that the right bus would come to take us, we sat down and waited again. Luckily our bus came quickly and took us to Varna to see the beautiful cathedral.
The Varna Cathedral is the second largest cathedral in Bulgaria. The domes are gilded and reflect the sunlight beautifully. The inside of the cathedral is also special to see; there are a lot of beautiful christian icons and the walls are covered with murals. On the ceiling in the dome is a large painting of Christ and the altar is also wonderful. We walked around for a while and I took lots of pictures.
I personally thought it was worth it all, but from now on, I’ll always double-check if I’m taking the right bus!