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Bye, bye Balkans: Day 10

2016 March 22
by admin

Today we used our “artsy-side” city map and explored some cool neighborhoods, alternative cafes and artist-workshops.   This city seems very alive: graffiti (from signs to murals) buttresses government buildings, and modern shops are surround local peddlers with home-grown flowers.  For lunch we revisited the fantastic Moroccan place and for dinner, had very tender homemade pasta at Pastorant (16 Tzar Asen St, Sofia).  I realize that a disproportionate amount of my reflections concern food, but I feel this is a way that I can really experience a culture.  Beyond nourishing the body, food energizes me to interact with new people, in new environments in new way.  Food is deeply and spiritually fulfilling.

In between meals, we visited the National History museum, with its sometimes spotty coverage of everything from 5000 BC to the present, with the exception of the entire span of Ottoman rule.  The way the museum tells it, Bulgaria is a land inspired by many different cultures, except for the ones that follow Muhammad, which the people toiled under in stalwart resistance.  We also spent a while in front of our laptops at one of the back-to-back cafes along  Sofia’s broad, pedestrian Vitosha boulevard.  This one had neon chairs and techno music, but like all of them, delicious cappuccinos, and like far too few, not very much smoke.

We’ve booked a taxi for 5am tomorrow to bring us to airport where we have about 13 hours of travel ahead. If all goes well, we  will arrive in time for me to dash to the office and James to Columbia.

In sum, this trip has been a great foray into eastern Europe.  No urgent need to return,  but all in all, a positive experience and very accessible place to travel, with welcoming hosts and no shortage of coffee.

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