what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Downside of Sofia Charms?

I’ve talked several times on the blog about the charm of central Sofia – with its parks and buskers with their retro music; narrow streets, small shops and atmosphere, the owners on the doorstep with a coffe and cigarette talking with friends. Of course the downside of such charm is that those who run the tiny vegetable, dressmakers, tricotage (thread) shops and various types of galleries barely make a living. How many of them are rented, I wonder, and therefore vulnerable to landlord rental hikes and commercial redevelopment? And I wonder how many of those who engage in this sort of soulless redevelopment realise what they are destroying. Is there nothing which can counter this Mammon? Do the city authorities realise what an asset they have? If so, are they doing anything about it? The lady mayor is certainly a huge improvement on her predecessor who, I was told yesterday, used to charge significant sums for those who wanted an audience with him to discuss their problems.

In the Yavorov District on Tuesday – a leafy and lively area near the University and just across from the great park which extends from the Eagle bridge and the football stadium for more than a kilometre east along the Express way which starts the run to the Thracian Valley, Plovdiv and Burgas. Looked at an elegant old flat which had housed the middle managers of the railways in the 30s in an area otherwise known as a residential one for the military at the beginning of the last century. And ventured into a small basement antique shop which was a real alladin’s cave of old Bulgarian and Russian stuff. The prize haul was a set of the small, shaped bottles in which rakia used to be drunk.

They seem to be 1950s or early 1960s – with wry humour stamped on to the glass. I haven’t discussed rakia yet in the blog (apart from the blog about the recent visit to Teteven). First time I tasted rakia in 2002, when I sped through the country on the way to the Turkish Aegean, I found it inspid. But I have now had a chance to taste various brands – and compare it with various Romanian palinka – and have become an afficiando. Here is a write up of one brand which won a few years back a silver medal in the International Review of Spirits Award -
Golden salmon colour. Vanilla and toasted nut aromas. nice oily texture. Dryish, vanilla bean oily nut flavors. Finishes with a lightly sweet powdered sugar and pepper fade. A nice texture and finish but could use more on the mid-palate
Finally – a great blogposts about traditional sheep farming by someone who spent a couple of months with the shepherds and cheese makers in the Carpathians.

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