Getting to Know Her Country
Well, rest and sunshine can make anything seem better. We decided to venture out to find the free walking tour that the city offers and to spread our wings.
First things first…how do we get to the city center?
Let’s start walking and walking and walking. Yes, we did a lot of walking all day Friday. What a beautiful city! We stopped to exchange some money and eventually found the lion statue that marked the beginning of our tour. The city of Sofia has such a wonderfully preserved history and such an old history. Five different periods of history are preserved in their city. We walked on a Roman built road. In America we can go back to Christopher Columbus and the Native Americans, but not here. America is just a baby when it comes to history.
After walking around and learning about a country and a city for two hours we were a bit hungry and wanted to get off our feet. We decided to check out one of the restaurants near the beautiful Russian church. I also needed to get out of the city smell. I was getting pretty sick to my stomach and I’m sure a bit green in the face. The food was amazing and the fresh baked Ciabatta bread…YUM! Mom commented on the fact that the waiters seemed absent. Instead of stopping by to check on us every so often, they waited for us to call them over. Very European we found out.
On our way back to the hotel we decided to do a bit of souvenir shopping. I wanted to make sure I got some rose oil and some homemade brown Bulgarian pottery. I was able to find a beautiful white hankie with a small tube of rose oil and a brown pottery tea cup painted with a blue glaze. We also bought some chocolate.
Talk about great tasting chocolate!
One thing about traveling in a foreign country, at least for us, was the lack of hunger. I’m not sure if it was because we were both missing our husbands or our home, but we did a lot of snacking. Breakfast was included in our stay, so we did go down each morning. And each morning we had the same choices. The selection of food was mainly savory and some sweet. What was nice to see was fresh fruit and veggies to choose from.
On Saturday, after all that walking we did, we decided to have a “day in” and relax and recover from “culture shock.” Mom had taught herself to crochet and I had some arm knitting to do. With traditional Christmas music playing in the background we enjoyed each others company. I also decided to try my hand at hand washing our dirty laundry. It was a success, but at the time I didn’t know if it would all dry before we left on Monday morning. My hands can only wring wet fabric so hard.
I had a lot of time to think, I do that a lot I guess, and I was talking with my mom about changing our return flight to leave a day earlier. We both want it, because we both are missing our husbands and our homes. If we change our flight we have to pay a change fee, so we really needed to think about it before deciding. I wanted to get home to help Adam recover and mom was missing dad, so we decided to change our flight.
On Sunday we decided to attend mass. We found Saint Joseph’s Cathedral and chose to have mass in Latin instead of Bulgarian or Polish. It was very nice of them to have the mass readings preprinted in many different languages so that you could follow along with as they were read, however, we didn’t find these until after mass. Oops! The church was beautiful inside and the kneelers were solid wood without padding on them and the pews were at a 90 degree angle.
No slouching there.
During the sermon, in Latin, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander and began thinking of meeting our daughter in less than 24 hours. I also wondered if we were going to bring her to this same church on our pick-up trip.
After mass we found our way under the city in search of some lunch. We found slices of pizza and decided to try the local version. It wasn’t bad, but I’ve had better. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a small “mom & pop” market and bought some “junk food” and other treats that reminded us of home. The food tasted so much better than back home. There aren’t as many preservatives and dyes like we have in America and the “junk food” and sweets aren’t addicting. You can really just eat one and be satisfied.
If I could’ve I would’ve packed a whole suitcase full and brought it home with me.
Another day of walking and spending time in a historically rich city means another day closer to meeting our daughter. Will she like me? Will she even come to me? What sights and sounds will be there with us in the social workers office? What do we do? My emotions were mixed. Happy, sad, excited, worried, nervous, and so on, but I just knew that tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.