We officially have a “Sofia system”, meaning, we know where and how to have the most amount of fun in Bulgaria’s capital in the shortest amount of time. First, we try and arrive late in the afternoon on a Friday to pay the least amount of parking at our special secure spot (it costs a bank breaking $4 a day to park here, a travesty) close to everything (weekends are free). Our parking spot is close to the outdoor market, next to a metro station, near two supermarkets, easily walkable to the center and right in front of the world’s best pizza by the slice hut. After a few sips of champagne and one or two slices of heavenly pizza we grab our camera and head towards the action.
The outdoor market gets really busy on the weekends, locals come and buy fresh produce in preparation for their end of week parties with family and friends. Below is a long line up for a potato vendor. Though all the stalls sell potatoes, this one was especially popular this day.
Not everyone likes getting their picture taken at work.
Typical fall vegetables. I love the green tomatoes, people pickle them in vinegar and serve them with homemade booze called rakia (rakia is the national drink and tastes like jet fuel, we avoid it at all cost).
At the end of the outdoor market a lady sells the most succulent French fries. The potatoes are sweet, almost vanilla flavored and I’m pretty sure they are fried in goose fat. OMG! Seriously, these are the best fries in the world.
Next, I like shopping in the only Chinese store (that I know of) in Bulgaria. This trip I picked up a tub of Chinese style miso, spicy dried chilies with toasted sesame, a plum sauce and shrimp crackers. It’s really a challenge buying strange ingredients when the labels are written in Chinese and Bulgarian but I don’t mind coming home with a few surprises.
A young Bulgarian girl who really wanted us to take her picture.
Sofia is a strange place, such beauty mixed in with sadness. You can see impressively ornate Austro-Hungarian buildings and parliaments beside derelict abandoned homes, brand new flagship Mercedes zooming by old men begging for change, 6 foot tall supermodels dripping in jewelry walking past children with no shoes. None of it makes sense.
Another house used to live here.
Next on our tour, sushi and drunken walking…