From The Man in Seat 61. . .How to travel by train from London to Sofia and Bulgaria
Day 4, travel from Bucharest to Sofia by daytime train, leaving Bucharest Nord at 12:30 and arriving Veliko Tarnovo at 19:16 and Sofia central station at 22:00. . . .There is no catering as this is just one Romanian Railways through carriage with 2nd class seating only in 6-seater compartments, so bring your own supplies of food, water, and beer or wine. However, it’s a scenic and interesting trip, so enjoy the ride. Expect an arrival an hour or so late.
The train to Sofia is about as far away as you can get from the Eurostar we took out of London just a few days ago. There is no air conditioning so we move from our assigned seats to a cabin with a window that can open. There are few other passengers and we have the cabin to ourselves. We will spend 10 hours on this train to travel 400 kilometers (roughly 250 miles) on tickets that cost a total of $41.00. A 16 mile cab ride from our house in Baltimore to the airport costs more.
The northern part of Bulgaria is beautiful. There are enormous fields of farmland under cultivation, probaly stretching hundreds of square miles. Soon the geography changes and we are riding above the Yantra River valley. We descend and follow it into Veliko Tarnova. As the sun begins to set we pass by and then under amazing rock formations that rise on both sides of the tracks.
It is nearly 10:00 PM and our train trip is just about over. It has gone according to plan and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
As we pull into Sofia, I recall that when I was in high school I thought I would spend a summer travelling through Europe on a Eurail Pass after finishing college. Law school and the Army got in the way and it never happened. Until now.
Sometimes in life you are given a second chance. When you are you should take it.