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Showing posts from October, 2009

Taxi driver takes a rest

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Sofia in Autumn

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If you don't look quickly, you might miss it, but Sofia does have a colorful Autumn for a short period. The leaves on the trees turn color before falling down and blowing with the October winds and rains.



The Sofia Marathon

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The 27th annual Sofia Marathon was run today, and I had a chance to catch the runners passing under the pedestrian bridge near NDK (National Palace of Culture). The 26-kilometer race attracted more than 120 participants, but there were many more runners circling back up Bulgaria Boulevard for the shorter 8.5km and 3.5km routes.



Concert: Lika Ashkenazi and Dulce Canto

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Two concerts in two nights, and the kind of music we heard couldn't have been more different.

We went to the Jewish Community Center to hear Bulgarian Jewish singer Lika Ashkenazi and the Dulce Canto vocal group performing Jewish songs. There were a lot of speeches and presentations of bouquets of flowers, as the concert was celebrating the release of Lika's 5th CD, Shalom Aleyhem, pictured below.


The music was all familiar, and it didn't matter if it was in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino or Bulgarian. Lika and the group represent the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria "Shalom" at many song festivals both in Bulgaria and abroad. The Dulce Canto vocal group started in 2004.One of the highlights of the program was a duet between Lika and our friend Shlomo Amitai, who taught the group the song Yehi Ratzon, which is on the CD.When the performance ended, the audience, an older group and one that was a bit more behaved than the ZZTop crowd, was invited for snacks at the back …

Concert: ZZTop Rocks in Sofia

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We didn't know when we bought the tickets two months in advance that the concert of ZZTop, the legendary rock group from Texas, would take place outdoors at Sofia's Akademik Stadium on a freezing October night. But, at least it wasn't raining.

We met Jodie's co-worker Dennis and his family and went through the frisking of security guards at the stadium entrance, only to somehow lose Dennis's wife and son for quite some time. Inside the stadium we took our seats and covered our ears at the loud noise from the warm-up band on the stage.

The crowd was a mix of older Bulgarians and younger ones, but hardly any teenagers. It wasn't clear if the thousands who had braved the 5 Degrees Celsius were true ZZTop fans, or just people who wanted an excuse to hear American rock music.

We wondered how Bulgarians could drink so much cold beer on such a cold night. Jodie borrowed my gloves, but what disturbed her more than the weather was the smoking. Even though we were outdoors,…

Exhibition on a Bridge

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Under the slogan "View Past, View Future", Sofia Architecture Week was marked by a poster exhibition on the pedestrian bridge leading to the NDK, the National Center of Culture. We walked across the bridge and noted the posters, some showing remarkable buildings in Sofia from the late 1800s, and others very modern constructions.


It was quite interesting to see the posters set against the background of the modern, and not always beautiful buildings of the city.


The poster below shows the Europe Tower, and behind it you can see the Sofia Hilton Hotel.


I particularly like this last shot, showing in the poster a tram from the 1880s and on the street below, a modern Sofia tram.

The End of Crime as We Know It

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The cable TV package that we have is supposed to provide us with the optimal selection of English channels that are available here in Bulgaria – which, aren’t very many. Most of the channels are either Bulgarian shows, or English shows which have been dubbed, instead of with subtitles (a VERY annoying practice!) The other problem that we have, is that there are only 3 channels that we can actually find an on-line schedule for, so that we can know in advance whether or not there’s anything worth watching. After that, it’s a matter of flipping through the channels at certain set hours when the programs change, and taking pot-luck.

One of the few channels that we’ve enjoyed watching (for lack of anything better to see) has been FOX CRIME. A few weeks ago, just before we left for Israel, I noticed that we were no longer receiving this channel – there was a notice saying that we were not authorized to watch this. Since this has happened in the past, I figured I’d deal with it when we got ba…

Back in Bulgaria, in time for Winter

We've just returned from an extended vacation in Israel, where it is still quite warm. But back here in Sofia, the cold winter weather has arrived. This morning when I walked to work it was 16 degrees Celsius, but by day's end it was down to 6 degrees, and during the night it will dip close to freezing. Did I mention that the skies are grey and that it's been raining?