Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sofia from the 16th floor

The office of the project that oversees my work in Sofia is on the 16th floor of the NDK Building, adjacent to the National Cultural Center, at the south end of Bulgaria Plaza, both of which serve as the anchor for the south end of the city center. I often work there on weekends and after hours, taking advantage of their broadband internet access.



When I was here in late January and early February, the pollution of winter, significantly worsened by the extremely cold weather, made photos like this impossible. With the arrival of spring and fresh breezes from the slopes of Mt. Vitosha, the beauty and variety of the city can be much better appreciated. The large, u-shaped white building in the second photo from the top is the Hilton Hotel. Note the still snow-capped Mt. Vitosha looming over the city in the bottom photo.


These scenes of a bustling city contrast sharply with the locked-down feeling of just over a week ago when the NATO Foreign Ministers gathered for a two-day meeting in Sofia.

Where can you go in the world these days without stumbling over a McDonalds? Sofia is no exception. I've counted at least five franchises just in my brief walkabouts. Note the Cyrllic script version of the famous name just to the left of the more familiar version.


After darkness fell, I was startled by a number of sudden and unexpected explosions. I jumped to the window and was able to catch the end of a fairly outstanding fireworks display.


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