Showing posts from February, 2009

Jodie at the Ladies' Market, shortly before the gypsy pickpocket struck


More from Sofia

Here I am, I've been here over a week, and we keep on having lots of new experiences!

Firstly, we had our first lesson in Bulgarian this week. We found a private teacher who will come to the house once or twice a week, as we want. We started reviewing the alphabet, and the different letters and sounds - and both of us are already reading words, and some of them we can even understand (like fillet, Sheraton Sofia Hotel etc!!) We have our second lesson tomorrow evening.

Yesterday I prepared our first Shabbat meal, and even figured out how to use the oven. We invited one of Ellis's co-workers to join us (he lives in the apt upstairs) so that was very nice. We even bought matches this week, so we were able to light candles!

Today we woke up to a nice,sunny day. The snow is melting,and it's warming up (around 5 C),so it was very pleasant out. We decided to take a taxi to the center of the city. This was my first trip there, although Ellis had been there already twice before I came…

Impressions from Sofia #1

Today I’ve been in Sofia for 1 week. I arrived late at night on Feb 18. The next morning I woke to SNOW. This was my first impression of Sofia. The first few days that I was here, it snowed most of the time, with occasional breaks, but it was cold, snowy and stormy. The freshly fallen snow is beautiful to look at, but difficult to walk in – you really have to pick up each foot, one at a time and be careful that you don’t fall.

Some places shovel the sidewalk in front of their building, others don’t. On the narrow street near our apt. it is easier to walk in the street, as the cars help melt the snow. One block away is a major street, which leads to the nearby mall. We’ve discovered that everyone walks on the tram tracks along this street – again, the tram melts the snow, and it’s much easier to walk there. You have plenty of time to see the tram coming, and there is enough room to move over to the side and get out of the way. Unfortunately, once the snow starts to melt, it’s pretty dis…

The day Jodie learned how to identify Bulgarian spices

Jodie remembered to bring our Bulgarian phrase book to the supermarket after our meeting with Jordan at Coffee Heaven. We were looking for matches (found!) and spices, as all the labels have been in Bulgarian.

Well, unbelievably if you turn the little bottles slightly, you will discover the English information on the side. Even so, we were not really searching for "Spice for Pizza" and "Barbecue Spice", so I may just sneak some known products in from Israel on my next trip back.

The day Ellis dragged Jodie off into the snow to see Picasso

I think Jodie was quite upset when she woke up on the second day of our two-day weekend to discover that once again it was snowing outside. And this, after the sun had made an appearance yesterday and the Bulgarian winter didn't prove to be all that bad.

By noon it had calmed down a bit, and I urged Jodie to come out with me to catch a taxi. We went to the National Gallery of Foreign Art and saw their Picasso exhibition. Other paintings at the gallery were quite unremarkable. We went across the street to see the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Cathedral, the main Sofia landmark, which looked different to me on my second visit with its golden domes half covered with snow.

A walk up the street brought us to a very nice restaurant where we enjoyed soup and a main course (lasagna for me and stuffed potatoes for Jodie). As we have discovered in our occasional meals on the town, service is not uniform in that Jodie had already been served her main course before my minestrone soup finally arrive…

Yuzhen Park in Winter


The Snow!


Jodie's First Day

I was about 1 hour late in arriving, and we got home and went to bed around 12:30. It took me a long time to fall asleep. Ellis woke me up around 8 this morning and told me that he had a surprise for me - when I could finally open my eyes, he opened the curtains- it was all white and snowing! This is the first snow like this that Ellis has seen since he's been here also. It's been snowing lightly all day, and it's stuck, but not too heavy - but everything is white! The cold really isn't too bad, and inside it's nice and warm.

We took a taxi to work - from what I could see just from our route, there wasn't anything very pretty, but right near our apartment there is a huge park -we didn't go through it, but I heard that it's supposed to beautiful in the spring.

Ellis brought me to my new office -they really weren't expecting me until tomorrow or Monday, so I still didn't have a computer etc. The woman I'm going to be working with, Monica, was re…

The day Ellis found an English newpaper

I am not so sure Bulgarians read.

In my wanderings up and down the cobblestone streets of Sofia, I have found countless pharmacies, hair salons and banks. There are sport lottery shops and flower shops, but unbelievably no book stores.

Yes, Bulgarians read. There are many news stands and free papers are given out to the commuters at tram stops. But do they read books?

In three weeks I have seen a total of one book store, in the center of the city not far from the tourist stops and government offices. In that shop I bought an English-Bulgarian phrase book, but to find it among the cyrillic titles, I needed the saleswoman's help.

Last night, I went over to the news stand near the supermarket in the shopping mall. Very visible on the racks were the latest issues of National Geographic and Playboy - in their Bulgarian editions. But there was nothing in any other foreign language.

Wait, half hidden behind a Bulgarian version of Vogue, there it was. A napkin-thin copy of the International He…

Scenes from Sofia

The Statue of Sofia
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathederal

The Russian Church Sveta Nedalya Church

The walk to work and Mt. Vitosha