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EXPERIENCE SOFIA:

Allexander Shpatov

web

In the catacombs under St. Sophia; in an attic with a view of St. Nevski; with pink tomatoes from the Women’s Market; draft Stolichno in Krivoto during the winter; Ariana cans in front of the National Theater when it’s warmer; аnd definitely go inside when the season starts again in October; go up the boulder rivers on Vitosha; climb its highest peak Cherni Vrah (also hit Mt Kamen Del and the Boyana Waterfall); go down the Roman stairs at Arena di Serdica; take the metro all the way from Youth I to Obelya and back; sit in an hour-long Tsarigradsko traffic jam, in a Friday rush to the seaside; Sofia Film Fest at the House of Cinema; drink from the hot water springs by the Baths; see Levski - CSKA live; play ball in Sportna Sofia; night skiing on the slopes of Laleto; wakeboarding after work in Kazichene; share a first kiss on the Lily Pond in Borissova Gradina - then a follow-up in the lift to Aleko or a classic selfie on the Lover’s Bridge; munch sunflower seeds on a bench; wander the empty streets when everyone has left for the holidays; block the Eagle’s Bridge at least once or protest in front of Parliament; Opera in the Park; Sofia Breathes Fest; a tour of the wreath of monasteries around Sofia (my top five: Klisurski over Bankya, Seslavski, Lozenski below Mt Poluvrak, the monastery in Ravno Pole, and of course - the Dragalevski Monastery); push a stroller around South Park; picnic on the lawn of the Vrana Palace; party down in Malinova Dolina; meet someone at the Priest; chill by the Soviet Army Monument; roam Shishman St.; see Vitosha from Vitosha Blvd; Friday night at Bar Friday; smoke up at Mt Kopitoto; enjoy the view from the rooftop of the Architecture University; run away from ticket inspectors on the tram, or - for that matter - from stray dogs in Lyulin; make an emergency visit to Pirogov Hospital in the middle of the night; take a cab for a Big Mac at the NDK 24/7 drive-in and eat it in the car while debating capitalism and the Bulgaria Blvd traffic jams; take a tram - for shopping at Ilientsi or just for a ride through the woods of the Orthodox Seminary; take a walk to Pliska all the way through the alleyways of Borisova Gradina; take a marshrutka van to NBU; take Bus 280 on a safari through Students’ Town; buy bouquets of snowdrops from the old ladies on Grafa; lay flowers at the Vassil Levski Monument; hear the new year’s fireworks in between the panel apartment blocks of Zona B-5 - and the seagulls over the former Communist Party Headquarters; catch the five o’clock bells at St. Sedmochislenitsi, when the clouds of doves fly away; catch a concert in Hall 1 of NDK; a club party in Mixtape; the buskers in the Sofia University metro station; the bagpiper behind Parliament; visit the Bells of the World Park; or head further down to Lake Pancharevo; jump over the Perlovska River - or the ruins behind the Rotunda; get lost in a remote panel block complex; sit next to the Slaveykov brothers; or on a bench in the Crystal Garden; buy a book from Nisim or Bulgarski Knizhitsi; scarf down a midnight pizza at UGO; chug draft boza from Pchela; try a döner from Mimas; princess toasts from Rakovska; soup-in-a-breadbowl from Divaka;

Have a home here (not an apartment); make friends (not acquaintances); fall in love (this alone is more than enough, actually);

Anything else?

 

 

© Allexander Shpatov
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© E-magazine LiterNet, 20.05.2015, № 5 (186)