Sofia, Bulgaria

We had a great meal in a kitschy but apparently authentic Bulgarian restaurant last night. I had a veal dish, which I rarely order for obvious reasons, so it was a treat to have it in a clay pot prepared in the local style with peppers and onions, very rich, really delicious. Also sampled a Traminer white Bulgarian wine and another red one whose name I forget… lots of local wines here and in Hungary (one of our Budapest hosts, Krista, is a wine writer and had a lot of advice that we had no chance to take advantage of… next time!). After dinner we went to a super modern hole-in-the-wall bar and the bartender was a woman who had lived in the U.S. for six years so spoke perfect English. We chatted with her a bit, and when we queried her on local politics or protests, she looked a bit nonplussed. I don’t think most tourists come here and ask about such things. She eventually told us about her uncle, who had been a dissident spraypainting poet, writing satirical poems on the walls to impress his girlfriend. As our bartender put it, “every other” Bulgarian was an informer, so the police knew it was him, and he was shot by them at the foot of her building, wounding him in ways that took him a very long time to recover from…

The hangover of anti-politics that the failure and fall of “really-existing socialism” left behind is pretty palpable, both here and in Hungary. Not much graffiti here even, just a tiny bit of nazi skinhead swastikas and a Stop Bush stencil … mostly everything is in Cyrillic so we can’t read it at all… here are some shots I grabbed as we walked around today. Nothing particularly revealing, but they do show the charming, crumbly old capital of Sofia in a good light I think…

Here’s an image of a huge statue looming in the center of the city, a statue to Sofia, the goddess of knowledge or wisdom… and behind her shoulder looms the trump card of modern capitalism over any kind of intelligence: a bank!

Here’s a big old communist government building in the distance, but in front of it, gazing at me and the big intersection is a whole phalanx of closed circuit tv cameras…

Around Sofia there are a lot of beautiful old Eastern Orthodox churches. Here’s one that we strolled by, though we didn’t go in…

This part of the world takes full advantage of underground springs and water sources. There’s a huge beautiful old bathhouse here that’s been shuttered for some time.

Across the street is a cluster of open water spigots and on this Sunday morning a lot of folks were coming to get the piping hot water in their own containers… presumably it has some medicinal value..

A tiny, superficial glimpse of Sofia, Bulgaria… we thought it was a lovely place. It is easy to imagine returning here for a more lengthy visit, but hopefully with a translator in tow!

1 comment to Sofia, Bulgaria

  • Hector


    Well here in my country to be more people of many contries like germani,canada,japan,turquia, france, usa,chile,argentina,england,australia,russia.

    The culture is cool, so well tell me how is you change the weather are you right?

    Take care in all OK.

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