Sofia (Bulgarian: София) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria, lying in the west of the country.
- Inspectors on the busses may ask for a ticket for bigger baggages (your backpack will be considered like that). If you don't have ticket for baggage they most probably will fine you and expect for cash payment at the moment, threatening you with a fine of 200lev (100E) at the border. Of course it is not true and you can let them write down your name without paying any money.
- Ticket costs 1 lev (0.50 EUR)
- You can easily find tickets to use on the buses and trams if you look in the bins next to the bus stop. The tickets get validated by hole punching and it's really easy to find tickets with the same holes that the bus you will take. Just stamp a normal piece of paper and compare the holes on it with the ones on tickets which you find.
Blackriding is also doable as controllers are not SO frequent. They do happen though.
Sofia has lots of very nice parks where it's not really hard wild camp. Borisova gradina, near the stadium (metro stop kliment ohridski SU or Stadion vasil levski) is the most central one, and could be visited by any kind of people at night, bad episods also did happen. Zapaden Park (western part of city, metro stop Vardar or Zapaden Park) is so much bigger and less transited, really perfect for camping, not so many dogs around either. If you are searching for a host on the spot or just have a social time with locals go to the bar in the arthostel and chat around.
food in Bulgaria is generally quite cheap, you can find cheap restaurants around where you can eat a plate for 1-2 lev (1€) and good meals for 4-5 lev. From Trashwiki: "Bulgaria seems to be incredibly difficult to dive due to the sheer amount of competition coming from the homeless and gypsies. Tourist resorts, as ever, may provide things but it would appear to be hit and miss. One time a diver was waiting outside an apartment building in Sofia. In one hour, for a regular skip, he counted five divers. None of them walked away with anything, but two had bicycles with baskets full of previously collected waste. Sources seem to show that even bakeries take away everything. "
There are several very good spot to busk in Sofia. Any exit of the underground stops in the city centre (NDK, Serdika, Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, Stadion Vasil Levski) are very good as also the main pedestrian, commercial streets, Vitosha bd and Graf Ignatiev st. In summer time and during the weekends parks (Ndk, Borisova Gradina) are also a very good alternative when there is good weather. Some spot are particularly sensitive to police interventions so try to avoid them unless you really need it, like inside the underground (where you need an extra special permission) except Kliment Ohridski stop where (next to McDo and bookshop) is one of the most profitable place, especailly in the early morning (up to 40lev/h); or bd Vitosha (in the non pedestrian part) where the locals living there easily complain and call police. Don't play between 2 and 4 pm since is the "resting time" and is implicit for bulgarian not to disturb "public calm". Perfect to rest between lunch break (12 - 2pm) and after work session (4.30 - 7 pm)
Law - Police
Officially, you need a permit to sell any kind of merchandise in the streets, and music or street spectacles are of course considered as something you are selling to people since you get money from it. Though it is almost impossible to get the permission since there are so many request and the municipality doesn't issue any until the old ones expire, therefore most of people, busk, juggle sell flowers or whatsoever without any kind of authorisation and just disappear when authorities arrive. Depending on the spots almost nobody cares about it and you can play without. Police may come to annoy and stop you but since they don't speak english and don't love to mess with foreigner they'll probably let you go easily.
Fede waited more than 2 months busking "illegally", insisting at the local offices and hoping to get a permit, then discovered that almost none (really few) of the other local busker had it and gave up his hope on the law. Though found it a really good job and way of living as he could sustain himself in the city for more than 2 months with a wage so much higher than the average bulgarian, affording rent, bills, good food, etc