Sofia's Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of largest Orthodox churches in Christendom, takes on golden tones when it's floodlit at night. (photo: Cameron Hewitt) It once towered over Sofia from a pillar in the city center, but now this statue of Lenin is a relic in a museum sculpture garden. (photo: Rick Steves) I have an affinity for Bulgaria — so overlooked and underappreciated…and yet so charming, in a Slavic way. In my student days I spent lots of time exploring Bulgaria and its capital city Sofia: playing chess in the park, watching paranoid people huddled on street corners talking sports (and wishing they could talk politics), seeing locals dutifully lining up to visit waxy figures in public mausoleums.
Recently I returned to Sofia, and found those same parks where people still gather, and the old guys still play chess. But, today the country is free and, step-by-step, building a new prosperity.
Because of its strategic position just north of Greece and Turkey, Bulga..