Today mom and I went down to the city centre in Sofia to see what there was so to see. I had been down the day previous so I had had some idea of how easy it was to get lost and find what you were looking for. The biggest problem is that there is no standard translation from Cyrillic to Roman lettering. Despite me having three maps, when you tried to discover where you where no two maps or road signs called a street by the same name.
The other problem I discovered is crossing the street. There are several problems with this. First cars don’t stop for pedestrians – it isn’t the law – not at crosswalks or street lights even. Secondly, often the way to cross is hidden. It took me a long time to figure out that the crossing is under the street and what I thought was underground subway was actually underground open malls, used to cross under the street. Third, and the major problem, was there were no ramps to get up and down the curbs. This would mean for mom that we had to get her off the scooter, she would have to walk up the step, and then I would have to lift the scooter onto the street/sidewalk.
Yesterday at my most desperate, I stood lost on a corner, and ready to give up when I turned around and discovered I was standing in front of a Starbucks! I was so relieved to go in and realized that a Caramel Machiatto in Sofia is just the same as one in Halifax.
|I think the quote on the cup says it all "Stories are Gifts"|
Knowing how rough it was to navigate around the roads Mom and I decided to go to a museum that was wheelchair accessible. We took a taxi downtown and then once we got into the museum we learnt that the wheelchair lift inside the 3 floor museum was broken. All we could see was the first floor. I laughed at how similar the musem was to the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, where I work. There was a photography exhibit similar to our current temporary exhibit and a geology gallery - nearly identical to ours. We didn't get to see the other two floors of the museum so I might have to go back another day.
We tried to drive/walk around and see some of the buildings. Between the cobblestone, broken sidewalks and curbs this was very difficult for mom. Sofia is not a wheelchair city. It is however a photographer's city so here are a few pictures of downtown Sofia. Enjoy!
|This building was like a Wentworth Pottery piece. Amazing!|
|St. Nikolai Church.|
|Again St. Nikolai Church. A very small but amazing church.|
|Open market - this one was selling icons.|
|Another part of the open market. Most of this was selling antiques, such as fur cossack hats.|
|Details on a building. So amazing.|
|Building which had the above detailing on it.|
|Alexander Nevski Church. Bulgaria's biggest church. It was built in 1912. The inside of this church was impressive for the size but the murals have all since faded. You aren't allowed to photograph inside any of the churchs.|
|The outside details were amazing!|
Sadly I can't tell you more about these buildings as I don't know what most of them where, other than beautiful! They are truely unlike anything we have in Canada.
We're now in the hotel which is really nice. I'll put some pictures up tomorrow of the hotel. We're hoping to go to the mall tomorrow, which will hopefully be more wheelchair accessible.