Friday, 24 January 2014

A January day in Sofia

January 20th was another winter day in Sofia.

You would have been excused, however, if you had been here and had thought that, instead of Sofia, it was a winter day in Athens or the south of Spain: wunderground says it was the warmest January 20th in the recorded history of January 20ths, with the thermometer reaching a max of 18°C. Every Sofian we've talked to has expressed his or her surpise at this unusual weather. I did not sign up for this, Bulgaria! The first days we were here, thick fog and all, were much closer to what I imagined you to be like. If I wanted a warm winter I'd have stayed in Athens! I'm only joking of course but I have to make sure it's clear because of Poe's Law.

Vicente: "I would have never expected I'd be eating ice cream in January. In Bulgaria."
After our Bulgarian class for the day and checking in at the library, we had a free afternoon and decided to take advantage of it by visiting the art galleries in the city centre. It was a Monday, so I'll let you guess what happened... All was far from lost, however. For a start, the ArtHall of Telefonna Palata was open and luckily there was an exhibition of famous photographer Harry Benson.

The exhibition had officially ended but the Balkan tradition of having a relaxed attitude
towards deadlines turned out well for us - this time!

Jack Nicholson portraits
Pop glamour
Since we couldn't actually get in the galleries, we fooled around the pieces they had outside. Here we are outside the Gradska Galeriya.

The nice afternoon at the galleries became a nice afternoon on Vitosha Blvd where we took the picture at the top of this post. We bought the ice-cream there (you should definitely try the zachar flavour with the chocolate cake and jam - not sure about the name, must check!) and went down it to reach the plaza of the NDK, the National Palace of Culture. We didn't expect such a large complex to be there and were certainly taken by surprise by the monuments and the open space. This monument in particular, pictured below, made a distinct impression on us, but we have no idea what it is yet or why (and whether?) construction on it was halted.

Boryana has told us that we can expect snow the following days but after all these sunny ones I find that rather hard to believe. Still, even if they are unnatural and de facto prove that climate change is already a reality, such sunny and warm days are the perfect opportunity to explore this city that keeps piling up the surprises.

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