Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Sofia Sofia, Bulgaria, Sunday, 29 June 2014 8:20pm

My body still isn't quite sure what time it is, but it's slowly figuring it out. I slept in a little later and skipped the hotel breakfast in order to hunt down the wily banitsa. The consensus about this pastry is that it's best to have someone's grandmother make it for you in their home, but, since that wasn't an option for us, our waiter at dinner last night clued us in to a little place on a side street. He told us he'd be opening the restaurant this morning and could show us where it was if we stopped by. It was lucky he was there, because we would probably not have found it otherwise. No building number, no sign, nothing in the shop but an oven and some pastry cases.

It was delicious. Salty cheese, spinach, spinach, or apples inside of phyllo dough. Better than any spanikopita I can remember, and a perfect apple danish.

Afterwards, we met up with the Free Sofia Walking tour, where our guide Dima showed us around the major sights of Sofia, gave us candies for being willing to guess at the answers to questions about the history of Sofia, and answered our questions about the graffiti swastikas, protest marches, and bank runs that we've seen or heard about.

After failing to find Sofia's only microbrewery (some Internet sources now tell me that it's closed, and I recognize the place where the signs are in the pictures, and there are definitely no signs there now), Mo and I headed over to the Archaeology museum.

There are some moderately interesting Roman artifacts, and quite a collection of bronze-age tools, but the highlight of the museum for me was a room of Thracian items in finely worked gold and silver.

None of the others were interested, so I went by myself to the National Museum of Fine Arts (housed in a former palace). The Bulgarian section was surprisingly small, but there were two interesting temporary exhibitions: a collection of Rodin's models and sketches, including one for The Thinker, and many of the works of Aleksandar Mutafov, a Bulgarian painter who, later in his career, devoted himself to seascapes. There were some great formal geometric compositions enlivened by the dynamism of the waves.