Czar Boris lll of Bulgaria was a very interesting figure until he was poisoned in 1943 and later his goverment and potential successors were assassinated and murdered. He was a former soldier, a railway engineer, a pilot and a physician and felt equally at home in Britain's Balmoral Castle as in Hitler's Wolf's Lair..
He eventually agreed to join the Axis Powers but refused to commit his troops to battle. He told Hitler that his army would be defeated and he proved correct. Hitler told him of the loss of 1 million men..and that was even before Stalingrad. A Marxist-Leninist government abolished the monarchy in 1945 and lasted for 45 years until The Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed. The Communist government did make sweeping agrarian reforms and Bulgaria became The Silicon Valley of the Balcons.
Now we have a free democratic government and membership of The European Union. Today I strolled down the main tree lined boulevard Tsar Osvoboditel past awesome churches such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and The Russian Church, plus the Soviet Army Memorial, The National Assembly, The Presidency, Museums, Art galleries and McDonalds.
I took the Metro from the airport to my hotel downtown and at the hub station Serdika, where the blue and red lines meet. There are a number of ancient stone finds when the contruction took place, and a few are in glass cases for all passengers to view,
The night before I had arrived at the airport at midnight on a Ryan Air 3 1/2 hour from John Lennon Airport in Liverpool with its Yellow Submarine outside. Despite 3 phone calls and a text message from the UK and a couple of phone calls on arrival nobody responded at my nearby hotel. Despite a free 24 hour shuttle bus I couldnt get hold of the Ibis and took a taxi. The breakfast was stone cold, eggs, baked beans, sausages and more and then the water was cut off in mid morning for repairs. I changed to the Best Western downtown which is the lap of luxury with Karl Lagerfeld towels and 'amenities'.
I am here for Russia FIFA World Cup qualification match Bulgaria vs Sweden at Vasil Levsky National Stadium on Thursday evening. In the 1994 World Cup in USA Bulgaria achieved 4th place after eliminating reigning world champions Germany and Stoichkov winning the top goalscoring prize.