Tuesday, May 9, 2017

249. Farewell to Sofia ...

I don't know why time has to fly past so fast when one is traveling - but already my four weeks allotted to Sofia are up and it's time for me to move on to a new country, a new city, a new home, a new language, new culture, new currency and so on and so on ...

This city-stay in Sofia has been one of the most pleasurably in the eight months I have been wandering around Europe. This city has a real charm, it's very clean and bright ( especially in its Spring colours ... ) and easy to get about in, and the Sofianites are so friendly and hospitable - even the stay dogs and cats are charming.

So before I push off into the blue skies, here are just a few snippets of Sofia ...


 My apartment is on the top floor at the back of the brick building ...


... another Airbnb success - my 25th over two years ...


... with a great loft bedroom and work space
with snow peaked Mount Vitosha in the distance ...

The city boasts many fine municipal, civic and commercial buildings ...

The very grand Sofia National Art Gallery - Square 500 annex
 
 
Sofia Opera and Ballet House
where I saw a great production of Verdi's opera Attila ...

Turkey Embassy ...

President's Office and other government departments ...

National Theatre ...

The Palace of Justice ...

 
Vitosha Boulevard - lined with cafes and up-market shops ...

residential building ...

Tsentralni Hall - shopping complex ...

... crowded with many delicious food outlets ...

former Communist Party House 
with government offices on either side ...

After eight months of winter-bare trees throughout Europe
it is so nice to now have the Spring growth coming through ...


... and after being dry for the winter, 
the city fountains are now coming alive ...

Central Mineral Bath - now the Sofia Historical Museum

National Theatre ...

Art Precinct ...

... now that's my favourite "do-upper" ...

Trams, Trolley buses and Metro made
getting about very easy and inexpensive ...

Unfortunately the city has its fair share of 
McDs and other fast food oulets and Coke billboards ...

 Hot Springs - free pure water as Mother Nature intended ...
... not too sure about putting hot spring water into plastic bottles -
but many locals prefer this to the tap water ...

Another residential building ...

Sofia has many beautiful Bulgarian Orthodox churches

... The gold topped Cathedral of Saint Alexandar Nevski ...

Temple of Saint Paraskeva ...

Church of Saint George Rotunda ...
the oldest building in Sofia
built by the Romans in the 4th century ...

Russian Church of Saint Nikolay Mirlikiiski ...

Church of Saint Sedmochislenitsi ...

Temple of Saint Vmchk. Georgi Pobedonosets ...

 Great Synagogue of Sofia ...


Banya Bashi Mosque ...
the only mosque in Sofia ...

Throughout the city there would be hundreds of sculptures ...
from busts of the civic leaders, revolutionaries, poets etc ...
but most are cast in black steel and copper and impossible to photograph ...


 

 

and in the centre of the city is the gold headed 
statue of Saint Sofia ...

The statue of Saint Sofia was erected in 2000 and stands in a spot once occupied by a statue of Lenin. Standing 8 metres in height, the copper and bronze statue by the sculptor Georgi Chapkanov, stands on a 16 metre high pedestal, she is adorned with the symbols of power (crown), fame (wreath) and wisdom (owl), the crown is also a reference to the Goddess of Fate – Tyche - inspired by the old emblem of Sofia.

I found many examples of street art 
( to be blogged at another date - when I return to Sofia ...
and below is my favourite piece of graffiti - 
what would Sigmund think of the situation in the US today ... 



and my favourite sign in a local park ...


... and this extraordinary homo-erotic bit of
gym promotion in a high school yard ... !!! ...


Unfortunately I haven't been able to visit all the sights I had listed in my bucket - but who knows -  I may have to return for a second stay sometime soon ... in the meantime - the apartment is clean, my bags are packed, the keys handed back to my host and my god Zeus and his chariot and sturdy steads have taken me to the airport ...


where my Wizz jet is calling me to board and will soon wizz me off to some new exciting adventure ...



 stay tuned ...