Most Serbians seem to regard trains as a slow, inconvenient, second-rate way to travel – but I honestly don’t see why. The bus I took from Belgrade to Jagodina was over an hour late, making the train to Sofia far more punctual – and pleasant!
Unlike the rolling oven I recently took through Ukraine, the windows on this train opened all the way – providing a nice breeze and a great opportunity to hang my head outside and watch the world go by.
Although it would’ve been quicker to fly to Vietnam from Belgrade, I decided to book my ticket from Sofia for two reasons:
Firstly, Sofia has a Thai embassy. I figured I could save myself a bit of headache by securing a visa there in advance.
(After working my way through Vietnam with Peder, I planned to once again return to Bangkok to see all my friends and play a bit of catchup. But due to its popularity, securing long-term Thai visas in neighboring countries is known for being a hassle.)
Secondly – and more importantly – leaving from Sofia would give me the opportunity to spend a few days in a brand new country.
My arrival in Bulgaria would officially mark two months on the road, yet it would be my first “new country” for many months to come. Ukraine, Serbia, and Sweden had all been repeats, as would be Vietnam and Thailand. But not Bulgaria!
47th foreign country, here I come 🙂
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on October 2nd, 2011.