Visiting Bulgaria was postponed for many years but when it happened I thought “I can live here”. My first impression was of a very pleasant surprise, I loved the very modern Sofia airport (I took an administrative part in it between 1993 and 1997). The Metro was amazingly clean, modern and effective.
When I arrived at the centre of Sofia I was amazed with how beautiful the Mosque at night was. I absolutely loved the Turkish architecture and the park near it. Seeing a Mosque, a Synagogue an Orthodox Church and a Catholic Church just a few meters from each other made me realize that a peaceful coexistence is possible. Orthodox Churches and Mosques are my favorites because there I find peace and I am out of this World. It ‘s a disappointment that we always have to pay to enter a Synagogue. I admire Jews and their history but I just can’t accept this obligation to pay to visit God’s House. That is also the reason I don’t pay when Catholics ask money to enter some of their churches. While there I met Jews from the US and Israel but I only could have a nice conversation with a Jewish couple from France. They also have a hard time accepting that they need to pay to visit a Synagogue everywhere they go. In Sofia there is also a Russian Orthodox Church. I loved the outside but I was disappointed with the interior. The Catholic Cathedral was cold, as most Catholic Churches are.
I just loved Bulgarian coffee, I never drank so much coffee in my life as in Sofia. Their coffee is only comparable to the portuguese, the lithuanian, latvian and the turkish. A bit further than the Mosque we find the fountains with hot mineral water. That is a daily ritual for locals and it became mine also. In the morning and in the evening I would fill in my bottle and drink that delicious mineral water. Their food is also delicious and very well presented. I loved their market and their residencial areas (oh those childhood memories from Portugal).
Finally, I loved their parks, gardens and the colors that mother nature had to give us. So beautiful! Their public fountains were a pleasure to the eyes and music to the soul. So many families with children spending a nice time together, I just sat there loving them with my eyes and heart.
I always try to establish contact with the locals but this time it just didn’t work because I didn’t meet anyone that could speak enough English to establish a conversation. I met two Bulgarians that spoke fluent Portuguese, a very rude and brutal man and a lady that works in Brazil. My flight companion was a Bulgarian lady working in Belgium and we had a very interesting conversation.
And that coffee…
Will I ever go back? I really don’t know.