Thursday, 25 July 2013

Oblivious in Bulgaria

In stifling heat, we had a better look around the streets and sights of central Sofia this morning, before adjourning for a very good lunch of delicious salads washed down with grapefruit-flavoured beer (sounds horrible but was amazingly refreshing). This is not a tourism blog so you'll find no snaps of the various churches, mosques, synagogues, monuments, public buildings etc. which caught the eye. A number of the pics seem to have been spoiled but some sort of greasy spot on the camera lens anyway. The bloody blob really stands out on any shot involving an expanse of pale colour, e.g. the sky or a whitewashed wall. But a few more graffiti and street art snaps have come out OK, with the offending mark being lost somewhere in a busy and/or darker-coloured part of the picture. Still can't get over how much wall space and street furniture has been painted on by artists and graffiti writers. In many cases, the wall of an apartment building or shop on an apparently busy street will feature a huge and complex piece that must have taken some time to do. I'm not sure how it is that the graffiti writers, particularly, manage to get away with their stuff in such public locations:

The weeks leading up to coming here were taken up with work-related bullshit of an incredibly aggravating and time-consuming nature. This is my excuse for flying into a new country with absolutely no clue about the political situation here. We were idly wondering about various low-level protests that seemed to be going on here and there around the city and were unable to decipher what was written on the placards and banners being carried about the streets. It seems, then, that predominantly educated and middle-class people have been expressing their discontent with a recently elected but already-unpopular government. Up to yesterday, apparently, weeks of protest had passed pretty peacefully. Trust me to be in town when it finally boiled over, with the Parliament building attacked and a few injuries sustained by protesters. That said, we were blissfully unaware of this, despite staying at a hotel which is very close to all the main government buildings. Full of rich food and too much wine, we had staggered back to the room and were dead to the world while it was all kicking off around the corner. Let's see what else we can manage to miss during this holiday...

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