On Saturday, I had a nice day at a beautiful monastery near Botevgrad with my Bulgarian language class. The monastery had its own livestock as well as apple, pear & plum trees, which a few of us (including myself) helped ourselves to. We also took a hike on an extremely steep dirt path up the mountain to the Monastery’s well of Holy Water. Now, I’m not completely scared of heights, I’m just scared when I think I could actually fall. So this little stroll up the mountain was semi-traumatizing, as I was wearing sandals and walking up a steep side-winding dirt path that had no major traction available to walkers. I slipped a few times, but I survived . . . well obviously.
After a full day of sightseeing I got back to Sofia with enough time to pack and call a cab to move my stuff to my new apartment. I’ve been quite fortunate, since a fellow Fulbrighter has been allowing me to stay at his apartment the past few weeks, while I have been searching for an apartment. I was excited to move to my own place, but I had gotten very comfortable where I was staying the past 2 weeks. I arrived at my new place to find that most of the kitchenware needed to be cleaned badly – I had no sponge or soap & the dishwasher directions were in Bulgarian & German only. I was told I’d have wireless internet already installed, but not only was there no wifi – there is no internet period. The new bedding I was provided with the apartment didn’t seem to even fit the bed. I was basically given what appeared to be two bed sets. The first had – one comforter, sheet & 2 pillow cases which looked like children’s bedding and felt like sandpaper (def not 100% cotton). The 2nd was a duvet cover with some odd pattern of animal print, black, red and roses with LOVE written on it and one animal print sheet, but it didn’t feel like sandpaper (Still not cotton though). So I ended up taking the comforter and stuffing it into the duvet cover took the animal print sheet and covered as much of the mattress as a could and used the sandpaper pillowcases to go with the pillows I had. I spent most of my night unpacking and throwing away the previous owners junk before I attempted to sleep in my new bed — Moving sucks!
So I was obviously not in the best of moods on Saturday evening when the weather in Sofia pulled a complete 180. I was woken up at 5am Sunday morning to loud thunder and pouring rain. This was the first drop of rain I’d seen since arriving in Bulgaria (Its been 80s/90s & sunny) and while the cool down was definitely welcome, I would have rathered it not wake me up in the early hours of the morning when I was already having a difficult first night’s sleep.
Sunday I decided to voyage out despite the weather since I needed to find some basic things for my apartment, like soap, bedding and food. So I grabbed my umbrella and explored the streets near my apartment that lead into the ideal center (downtown) of Sofia. As it turns out in Sofia nothing is open on Sundays – but I kept walking in hopes of finding what I needed. As I was walking down Alexander Don Dushkov Street a stray cat began to follow me and when I sat down to take a look at my map it jumped up walked behind me (almost making me jump) and then sat beside me and rubbed up against my hand. It continued to follow me for another 15 minutes or so until I walked into a wifi cafe. When I was ordering I noticed it sitting outside the door waiting for me, but when someone exited it got scared & ran away.
In my 2 weeks here in Sofia I’ve noticed a lot of stray cats & dogs that roam the city. Its interesting, because I grew up watching movies like “Lady & the Tramp” and playing with Pound Puppies that it just makes sense to me that they would have similar services here. But it appears that there is no public entity to look after or watch/capture strays. Most I would say are not dangerous, but there have been cases of rabies and a female jogger was attacked by a pack of stray dogs the week before I arrived. More so, I’m concerned because many of them go hungry and have no shelter.
One hour into my search for an open store it began to rain and ultimately down pour as I walked back to my apartment – it was on this walk that I noticed that every stray dog I passed looked like the saddest things I have ever seen. Drenched in the pouring rain, laying on the sidewalk staring with big dopey eyes as the cars pass by. Hopefully things will get better for us all . . .
P.S. Sorry this post was so depressing – I promise you my next one will be much happier or at least humorous ;p Ohhh and my apartment is actually quite nice – I’ll brag all about that to you later too ;)