Project 365: Day 344 – Free tours and the Tourism minister

10th June 2015 – Sofia, Bulgaria

If something was free, I should have been the first to take it.

But somehow, going on 2 hour group walks was never my style.

Not today. The free walking tour was finally on my agenda.

And rightfully so. The trivia, and the ministers, were well worth the while.

St. Nedelya church, Sofia, Bulgaria

A place with an awesome his-story – St. Nedelya Church in Sofia, Bulgaria

It has been 5 months in Europe. And I have not taken even one of those free walking tours so far.
Somehow, the concept of going in a group to walk around the city for 2 hours, was a little alien to me all this while. And I had avoided it in all the European cities I have been so far. I preferred to go lone ranger – walking alone. Well, can’t say it was a bad strategy, because I met a whole bunch of people just because I was walking alone. Not sure if being in a group would have got me that mileage.
But not today. I met a girl in my hostel yesterday, who was heading for the daily free walking tour in Sofia. And I was convinced to join. Probably the best decision I took the whole day.
The tour started with Slavyan, our tour guide, giving a lot of trivia about the history of Sofia. For example, one of the 2 lion sculptures outside the palace of Justice (the courthouse) has something very wrong about it. What is it?
What is wrong about this lion?

What is wrong about this lion?

Well, the answer is that the lion has its legs placed anatomically wrong. It should have been opposite legs leaning forward.
The tour continued through Sofia, passing by the St. Nedelya church, which had one of the most interesting stories from Bulgarian communist history. So, apparently the communist party had tried to assassinate King Boris III of Bulgaria in 1925. So, they planted a whole bunch of explosives in the church, and then assassinated another high-ranking official, just so that more bigwigs would gather for this high-profile funeral service. And when the funeral service began with the creme de la creme of the military elite, the communists blasted the church, killing 150 of the very, very important people of Bulgaria.
Well, all except the king, who survived only because he was late for the funeral service.
We continued the walk, passing through some metro stations which had some neat underground relics. And suddenly, a well-dressed lady walked up to Slavyan, and asked him about the tour. He explained what was happening. Then, she turned to us and introduced herself.
Guess who that was? None other than the Tourism minister of Bulgaria, Nikolina Angelkova.
Click here for the previous day’s post. Or you can follow this project from Day 0, by clicking here

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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