Ellis and I didn’t really know what to do about New Year’s Eve. We’re not the drinking/partying type, so we decided to forgo the get-together with Ellis’s co-workers. We heard that there was a concert in the middle of the city, but weren’t sure that we were up to wandering around for a few hours outside late at night amongst a large crowd of people. So, we decided to stay in, and just go out closer to midnight, and see what was happening.
The weather on Dec. 31 was unseasonably warm. After the cold spell and snow of 2 weeks ago, we were amazed to see that the temperature hit 17 C during the day (even though the websites all showed 17, with a promised high of 12C…..). This wasn’t exactly how we pictured New Year’s in Bulgaria (although I, for one, was pleased that there was no snow!). We left work and saw a beautiful, full moon rising on the clear sky.
Once the evening started, and it was dark, we started hearing sounds of small explosions all around. Some sounded as if they were in the far distance, others, as if they were almost in our back yard. Occasionally, the sky would light up, and we would see some fireworks between the trees. It sounded like a cross between a really loud thunder storm, and a war zone. The partying had begun!
Around 23:15, we went out and walked over to the National Palace of Culture, NDK. We thought that we would find a lot of people wandering around, but I guess that most of them were either out of the city for the holidays, at private parties/clubs or in the center of the city for the celebrations. Even at this hour, it was a mild 8 C outside, quite a difference from the -16 of 2 weeks ago!
We reached the plaza of NDK at 23:45, and sat down to wait. Most of the people who were around were setting off firecrackers or colorful flares. The noise was amazing. From all around, there was the sound of explosions.
At midnight, the sky lit up – from every direction that we looked, there were fireworks exploding in the sky – above us, in front, behind, and up on the mountain in the distance. We didn’t know where to look first – and just kept turning around in a circle, with our heads tilted back and enjoying the show. There was a layer of smoke in the air from all of the fireworks. They kept coming, even when we thought that it would finish. We finally walked home, to the sounds of explosions all around us, although by 00:30, it was calming down.
We enjoyed a glass of wine, and toasted to the New Year. May this be a year of peace and prosperity, to new beginnings, health and happiness for all.