22.10.2008 - 24.10.2008 19 °C
YAY HOLIDAY! I am on vacation for the next two weeks and am so excited to get our of the institute. I am planning on taking the train through Eastern Europe. To start my vacation off I traveled the farthest distance and have begun seeing Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. It was a long full 22 hours of travel by train to get here but I got to sleep most of the way, starting my short time here rested.
The first thing I saw in Bulgaria was the Rila Monastery. It is a 10th Century Monastery that was a safe haven for Bulgarian culture during the Soviet occupation. It was tucked away in the hills of Bulgaria and it was nice to get some fresh air. All the leaves were yellow and red and it was a peaceful backdrop for this gorgeous haven.
After the day in the hills I did a little walking around the city to find a park and some good shopping. I was planning on having some Bulgarian food, but as I walked to the restaurant that was recommended there was a dog on a spit in the window, I had a Gyros instead.
The people of Sofia were starting to warm up to me and I really enjoyed the architecture of the city. Most of the older buildings were stripped with bricks. The churches were stunning as always, but the main church in the city was magnificent. Orthodox churches are so different.
They are always covered head to toe in fresco or mosaics. They always have a beautiful iron chandelier in the middle but never any seats. I love how sturdy and strong they look as well, as if they could with stand anything. People come in and they do the cross on their bodies so different the Catholics. It is a lot bigger and deliberate, I really like it is seems more intentional then mandatory. In the church there are 4 pictures standing in the middle of the room and the worshipers come and kiss them and pray to them (I am assuming) then they take their candles they just bought (I am sure this is the churches way of staying in the black) and light several candles. Because of most of the smoke it is very hard to see in the building but it gives it a old feeling.
I really enjoyed Sofia and I was sad to leave and at the same time excited to see some other Eastern European cities, so I continued on the train to Belgrade.