Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Last Supper

In Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman attests to being an excellent driver. Well, I’m an excellent traveller; I’m really good at travelling, but indescribably bad at being somewhere for any length of time. Let me describe my day (See what I did there?)

I set out to discover the Sofia Museum of Socialist Art. This was a tip from the astonishingly good value and well-recommended free tour yesterday whose guide explained that this was effectively code for The Communist Museum and it was where many artefacts from the communist regime had ended up. Statues of Lenin and Dimitrov and the fabled ruby (glass) star from the top of one of central Sofia’s three Soviet-era monoliths. Also –and this was the intrigue for me – they play old propaganda newsreels which, said the guide, gave a real flavour of what those days were like.

Naturally, Bulgarians mostly want to forget that period of their history, so the museum is hidden away, far out of town in a dingy suburb and almost impossible to find unless you are armed with the knowledge that it is housed in the gated, guarded compound of the imposing Ministry for Anti-Discrimination. Local people had never heard of it and it took the assistance of a helpful student with internet access to track it down. It is open six days a week... Monday it was closed. Hey ho, at least I got to ride the new Metro and indulge my trademark excellent traveller technique of walking aimlessly around all day long.

Many more miles were trudged before I finally called it a day and slogged it back to the hotel, discovering on the the way a Georg Washington Street – I bet not a lot of people know that! As you read this uninspiring blog entry I am making my way back to Blighty, but there was one thing I had yet to do yesterday before packing and that was to indulge myself in an expensive blow-out in a pricey restaurant. So, in a departure from my usual partly political broadcast, I bring you what amounts to an extended version of one of Twitter’s favourite hashtags: #tweetyertea. This, because I am a discerning sexist pig, is one for the ladies.

Around the corner from my hotel is situated Хаджидраганов the House of Hadjidragonov, an ‘olde tavern’ style restaurant dishing up a huge range of jujjed-up peasant fare from its hefty, wooden-bound menus. I chose Хлебница (Hlebnetica) followed by Воеводска Сукавица (Voevodska Sukavitza) and just in case the portions turned out light, a Шопска (Shopska) salad on the side. (The portions were anything but light.) Also, to refresh the palate, a Kamenitza lager followed by a nice Merlot from the Thracian Valley region to wash it all down. Ready? Here come the photos:

Table for one
Table for one

Хлебница (Hlebnetica)
Soup in a bread bowl - a meal in itself

Воеводска Сукавица (Voevodska Sukavitza)
A frankly shameful amount of meat.
A plait of pork, chicken and beef.

Nearly empty platter
The best I could manage!

And that, my Twittery readers, will have to keep you going until tomorrow when normal service will, probably, be resumed. Oh and did I say pricey? The whole lot –and there was easily enough for two - came to under 60 Leva, which at the current exchange rate is about £25, the most expensive meal I had on the whole trip by a factor of at least four. I tell you, I’m an excellent traveller.

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