|gate to the Boyana Church|
|the TINY door to the church|
|one of the ancient graves|
|one of the hairy eared squirrels|
· 1.27 million people live there
· We could see a pollution line on the mountain from the Monastery… people use fires to heat their homes
· The city was founded near natural mineral springs and the city is known for its mineral waterBoyana Church was an interesting sight- the church is one of the best preserved medieval churches I’ve ever seen (probably because entry to the church costs so much!). Inside there are amazing murals that are hundreds of years old, gravestones that looked like they were from Celtic times, and crazy squirrels with long hair on their ears. We enjoyed the scenery and the church, but I think the highlight of this monument was watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree! They were just weird!
|"The Wingtip Photographer"|
|the ice on the stream|
|Benz enjoyed shooting the stream too|
The Dragalevtsi Monastery was like a big apartment building with a church on sight. There were also three large bells that you must be able to hear from Sofia (even though it was miles away). The walk from the car up to the monastery was really nice. It was late fall with a lot of colorful leaves on the ground, but it was cold enough to have ice on a stream that was flowing down the mountain. Josh and Benz decided that this was a great opportunity for pictures, and they spent some time capturing the scenery. In the meantime, Mike and I got to know each other better. We decided that Josh’s photography business (if he ever starts one) should be called “The Wingtip Photographer” because he was slipping and sliding in his dress shoes trying to get the perfect shot. We had lunch after seeing the monastery at a lodge near the parking lot, and it was amazing typical food for Bulgaria (homemade bread, meats, salads, vegetables). It was good! Although the trip to the restroom was interesting… there was a picture (almost cartoonish) in the stall of a hunter squatting to go to the bathroom, and there was hair coming out of his behind! It was just bizarre!! And this was in the ladies room...
|the church at the monastery|
|Sofia at twilight|
|The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral at night|
We ended the day just hanging out in the Presidential Suite with a couple bottles of wine, some cheese, crackers and other snacks we picked up. It was fun to look at pictures from Benz and Mike’s adventure and other cities that were more polluted than Sofia. Overall, it was a great weekend with friends! But I was definitely coughing up gunk for a few days afterwards because of all of the cigarette smoke. I can only imagine how Benz and Mike will feel after their 3 weeks in Eastern Europe!!
My favorite parts of Sofia: the saxophone player at the club and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral