One problem- they were all closed for remodeling! Well, the museums that is. The churches were open.
I started my day leisurely, waking up around 8-9am, eating breakfast and then leaving to go explore. I wandered past the Alexander Church
Then tried to go to the ethnographic museum and National Art Gallery, but they were closed for restoration. So onwards to the City Art Gallery.
They were closed for remodeling (putting up a new show). So on ward to the other churches in the center: Sveta Nedelya Church and Church of St Petka of the Saddlers.
Sveta Nedelya Church was beautiful and lovely both inside and outside. St. Petka- only beautiful on the outside. They tried to extort money from me, but ALL churches are free in Bulgaria- they only charge tourists. St. Petka is a small room about the size of my hostel room here, with some open tombs (no bodies) and very little light.
Ibought some souviners on my way to the next stop: I decided to check out the National Palace fo Culture. It’s on a bunch of maps as huge and on a bunch of postcards. About after an hour of wandering and an interesting postal experience I arrived. Only to find that it is a conference center, but it has free wifi. So I sat there for about 30-45 minutes using their wifi and eating a granola bar.
Then I decided to try to go to the Polytechnic museum. But I couldn’t find it. I apparently literally just walked right past it because I was so exhausted and tired and worried about breaking an ankle on their streets.
So I gave up and decided, well, I’m close to the bus station, why don’t I go look at it to find where I will catch the bus to Skopje on Monday.
Finally SUCCESS! I found the carrier, where to buy the ticket, and when they leave, how long it takes, etc., etc.!!! It will leave at 7am local time on Monday. So I plan on catching a taxi (well, calling a taxi to come pick me up) at 6am and then getting the ticket and waiting. Hopefully I get a whole 2 seat row to myself. Bus seats are really small and I have long legs.
Then I caught a tram downtown to try to find one of these two restaurants that our Free Sofia Tour guide had pointed out only to find that they weren’t there where he pointed them out. At least not that I could find.
But I found the farmer’s market and bought some fruit and veggies to make sandwiches, since I realized I hadn’t been eating correctly. (like basically no lunch except for granola bars. :/ )
Then wandered past a book market, trying to find my way back home. Well, I had apparently taken a wrong turn and ended up downtown.
So since I was hungry, I decided to go to Happy, a bar/restaurant downtown. I figured I was going to go anyway and might as well do it the day I needed some happy.
Bad mistake. Horrible mistake. Worst $10 I have ever spent on food. When I arrived I was seated. 10 minutes later the first waitress walked up to me and brought me a menu and silverware and took my drink order. 10 minutes later she came back to take my food order (note- you need to close your menu to place and order, the waiter/waitress won’t come back to you until you do). I ordered rice and veggies and some fried cheese. I got the fried cheese within 10 minutes. Ate a few, saving room for the rice and veggies.
And waited. And waited. And waited. 30 minutes later I figured they weren’t serving me the rest of the food and I was no longer that hungry- just fed up and wanting to go home. SO I wrapped up my left of cheese things, put them in a bag and waited for a waitress to come over. She asked if I wanted my check or dessert, and I told her check. When she brought it to me, it had the rice and veggies on it- so I asked her to take them off since I had never been served them. (however, the guy behind me who had also ordered the exact same rice and veggies was served within 10 minutes of having his order taken). That took 10 more minutes. Finally I paid and left, wandering back to the hostel.
Funny postal story: I walked in and asked for 5 stamps to America. I knew she understood me (I know that much Macedonian!/Bulgarian) But she gave me “one” stamp to America. In the form of seven 0.05 leva stamps, one 0.65 leva stamp and one 0.40 leva stamp to add up to one 1.40 stamp. I didn’t try to explain that I wanted 4 more, I just smiled and took the stamps, laughing in my head.
Also, when I was walking home someone stopped me to ask directions in Bulgarian, and I had to admit I didn’t understand. But the stopped me, I guess I had passed the “look” test that day.
Now gang, I don’t want this to just tell you all the happy stuff and none of the bad stuff, because that is just not life.
I was tired, sore and homesick.
I’ve never really been homesick before I gather. I just wanted to be home. I would have rather been home in my small town than in Sofia this day. And I love traveling, but I missed my fiancé, mom, and pets. So I cried and called my fiancé to talk for a bit.
And uploaded photos and wrote for the blog a bit. I also was able to talk to another Fulbrighter in Moldova about the experience.
It was tough, guys. I was sad. I was crying, it wasn’t pretty. I just watch TV and finally tried to go to sleep because I wanted to go to Plovdiv tomorrow, hoping that it would be nice to get out of the city for a day.
But I couldn’t sleep. About 1.5 hours later, I put on my “sleeping/calming music” and finally fell asleep.