05 Dec Sofia survival guide
Writing about bars and fun activities is sexy, but we would like to touch on more serious topics in this post. We hope you won’t need the information below, but we will feel more comfortable if it’s available to you. Here you will find a guide with useful information for foreigners in case of unexpected emergency situations in Sofia.
First things first: when it really goes sideways, call 112. You shouldn’t wait till the situation looks like it came out of a Guy Ritchie movie, but use the European Emergency Number Association with reason. The operators will answer your calls in Bulgarian, as well as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Romanian, Turkish or Russian. Trained professionals treat every call with the utmost respect. But there is a giant elephant in the room when it comes to medical help. It’s well-known that there are not enough ambulances to provide reliable service. Often you have to wait for the emergency response the better part of an hour after you made the call. If you are able to take а cab, our advice is to ask the operator for directions to the hospital that they recommend. You will get there a lot faster.
It’s time for our first lesson in Bulgarian. Type “денонощни аптеки София” in the Google search bar. On the top of the page, you will get the most recently updated list of 24-hour pharmacies in Sofia. Virtually all pharmacists that work in those speak English. They are also well-educated and can guide you on the spot if you have the flu or other general health question. This will save you a trip to the doctor’s office.
If you absolutely need medical help, we strongly advise you to go to a private clinic. Public hospitals prove to be a confusing experience even for foreigners with good command of Bulgarian. We don’t want to go into details regarding all the shortcomings of the national health care. Let’s just say that our health insurance service was created by popular demand and leave it there.
According to the international City Slickers rulebook (accumulated knowledge passed on through generations of slickers), one should have at least two dentists on speed dial at any time. We don’t care how tough you think you are. We’ve seen plenty of grown mеn lose sleep and even cry from a toothache. So, this is our battle-tested one-two dentist combo. Both clinics work extended hours, take emergency cases on short notice and speak fluent English.
One last thing we want to share with you is a quote by Charles R. Swindoll. It always helps us through tough times: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” So, make sure you always wear your pink glasses.