Day 20: MCF

Today was a bit of a day.  I call it a fuck-around.  Pa calls it a MCF – Mongolian Cluster Fuck.  No photos.

When we book our trips, we’ve gotten into the habit of using booking.com.  Sometimes we stay in B&Bs.  Sometimes it’s boutique hotels.  Sometimes it’s apartments.  During this trip we all three decided to no longer stay in apartments, because boutique hotels just offer more services.  Our last stop on this trip in Sofia, is an apartment.

This morning we went down for our last delicious breakfast in Plovdiv, went to our room and packed, then were met by our driver Angel for the drive from Plovdiv to Sofia.  Angel is a sweet and enthusiastic man – picture a Bulgarian John Oliver with lots of questions about life in Canada and very proud of his country.  The drive was actually very beautiful – misty mountains along both sides of the highway.  We pulled into Sofia, a big, sprawling city and found our apartment and phoned the owners to advise that we were there and to let us in.  The owners then informed us that they had been trying to get ahold of us, but the apartment had just suffered some sort of catastrophic water mishap and we would not be able to stay there.  We had booked in January.

We then got on the phone to booking.com to tell them that the apartment was cancelling us and we had no place to stay, so they sent us an email with another apartment with a higher rating and not too far from our original apartment.  We use Angel’s wifi to check.  We agree.

Angel drives us to the new place, a little shabby looking, across from a Mr. Pizza.  We phone these people to advise that we have booked and arrived.  No answer.  Angel tries phoning – no luck.  We finally get ahold of someone who says that our confirmation pin number is the code to the door of this apartment.  We try unsuccessfully.  We try again – the door opens, but it’s opened by the cleaner, who tells us that we can have the place at 1500hrs.  It’s currently 1400hrs.  She says we can leave our luggage and get a coffee, but we have no code for the door and no internet to contact someone.  We finally get an email from booking.com telling us the door code.  Angel has to leave because he has more work to do.  We thank him profusely and he’s on his way.  The cleaner knows no English.  We try and get a wifi network and password.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Finally, success.  Cleaner leaves.  By this time it’s about 1500hrs.  There is a strong smell of air freshener.  This place doesn’t have breakfast included or an airport shuttle like the place we originally booked.  We’re all starving and at each other’s throats.  We go across to Mr. Pizza and eat.  We walk around the neighbourhood to get some fresh air – all is not lost, there is a Lindt store nearby.  We go to the adorable cafe across the street and get a treat and a coffee, and it’s delightful.  Things are looking up.  We return to apartment, it’s now about 1800hrs.  Ma discovers there is no hair dryer – this is a problem.  Ma and Pa walk to a drug store and buy a compact hair dryer – “Powerful drying with a pleasant sound”.  We turn on the TV and start to relax for our busy day tomorrow, the comforting glow of Mr. Pizza keeping watch over us.

We will no longer stay in apartments.

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