Published: September 9th 2007September 9th 2007
Legend has it Sinan designed it, but study clearly says he did not . . . so why are we still talking about it? Jennifer's first visit to a mosque!
We're in an internet cafe now trying to sort out banking information since we charged more than we thought we would to the credit card (the LP Guide said all train tickets would be cash and so far only RILA has been), USAA loves international travellers!
Our Last Day in Sofia
We had an extended dinner at Happy Bar and Grill our favorite place in Sofia where we were taken care of by a most horrible server and then went to the bar where we were taken care of by Victor who was wonderful though he would not sell Jennifer the poster of the monkey eating a banana on the toilet (you'll have to ask her about that one) - she thought he was so cute (the monkey). Victor was an okay guy, but was not willing to come back home in our backpack as was offered as a possibility by some blog readers (sorry, no names). I had some Rakia which was very good but nothing like the Turkish Raki, and more like the Macedonia Rykia which is essentially an eau de vie - ca arrache!
Today we got into all of those churches we weren't able
What style! What pizzaz!
Oh yeah, do you know where that's been?
to get into yesterday and Jennifer went into her first mosque ever and wore a nice clean green head cover as prescribed by the attendant who contrary to the guide saying admission was free charged us infidels 4 lev plus approriated a 1 lev donation since he had no change (thanks!). The mosque was interesting and the guy was actually very friendly and we were able to snap away tons of photos despite its being a working mosque whereas none of the churches allowed the same.
We got our train tickets which was quite an upsetting experience since our dear same lady as yesterday informed us there were no more sleeper cabins and so we will be sharing a couchette compartment with four other people. We asked her about her confirmation yesterday that we could go the Central Ticket Office and she ignored any potential for recollecting who we were (give me a break like you could forget us), and said that of course it was closed, the last few days have been some cryptic national holiday, even she chuckled at this. So we don't plan on sleeping too much tonight plus crossing the Serbian border is supposed to
Couple more Gumbas under a Dome
Inside the mosque, though we make light of our pose, we were respectful our entire time in there.
be quite the experience.
Further Musings on Bulgaria's Culinary Prowess . . .
For lunch we had the famous Bulgarian pizzas from a streetside vendor called Oops! for about 2 bucks for two large slices. We haven't said oops! so far so looks like we did well on that haphazard selection! The pizza was good in its own way, kind of like the pizzas you would order from a restaurant that does not normally serve pizzas so they have that flatbread with ingredients on top flavor which is good in its own way.
We went to the far south of the center in Yuzhen Park where there is a decrepit old commie monument and then the NDK Palace of Culture where there was techno music blaring from some sort of stage with an excited mob of Bulgarians surrounding it. So we decided we had to get in this mix and went in and turns out it was a set of bleachers surrounding a sand volleyball pit with Bulgarian hunks a la Baywatch playing . . . sand volleyball. They wouldn't get in Jen's backpack either, but don't worry ladies, they weren't really hunks. We
The largest such Jewish temple in all of Europe. We could not go inside since it is closed on Sundays.
left that cacaphony and went inside the Palace of Culture which seems to be a large exposition and convention space which is totally throwback early 1980s design, huge blockhaus as desolate as a convention center. The gardens and fountains in front of the place, though poorly maintained were nice and we sat there and watched the Sofians walking by enjoying the sun which flirted with us all day . . . hot . . . cold . . . hot . . . cold - make up your mind sun!
There are more photos below