Flying into Sofia was beautiful.  I was in a great mood because I had finally gotten an hour of sleep on the plane, and when I awoke to the pilot’s announcement that we were landing, the view out my window was of green fields surrounded by a ring of moutains.  The most imposing Mountain was still snow capped.  We successfully made our way out of the tiny airport and found bus 84, which the travel guide promised would take us into the city.  Unfortunately the driver didn’t announce any stops and the bus stop signs we managed to glimpse were in cyrillic.  As we drove along, I was a bit dismayed by how rundown everything was.  Prior to the trip Steve had predicted a dull, depressing city,  but former-soviet-satellite had struck me as potentially fascinating, unique, maybe cute in its otherness.  Driving through the outskirts, though, it seemed resoundly drab and entirely cement.  Luckily, once we got to city center (which we did find successfully), things were more lively.  Our hotel room does indeed overlook a collapsing concrete building-or maybe it’s in construction, hard to tell, but the streets are vibrant and full of day to day hustle and bustle.  I especially enjoyed the street market filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, just baked bread, and sweets galore.  And the food is delicious!  Our dinner was dish after dish of tasty roasted peppers, buffallo cheese, trout in vine leaves, and on and on.  One of my predictions did not disappoint–the women are dressed as though the 80s hadn’t ended: turquoise and hot pink outfits, crimped hair, poofy bangs, t shirts with palm trees and the like.  All in all I am delighted by the city, but it’s quite small and we’ve pretty much walked through the sights by noon.  Tomorrow we head to Rila Monastery in the mountains.  

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