0 - Brenda; 15 - Gastroenteritis

Trip Start Jun 19, 2011
Trip End Jul 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Light Sofia
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Bulgaria  ,
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The title for today's blog was supposed to be something like "Brenda's Solo Travels through Sofia" or, "How Brenda and Dennis Spent their 6th Anniversary on Midsummer's Eve"....but my GI tract had other plans in store for me today! Dennis went to the virology lab this morning and presented his work to the Bulgarian scientists, while I stayed in bed all day. I will spare you the details on the sickness but I suspect that I picked up a bug during that nasty Air France flight that had me bent over a trashcan for about 5 hours of hell.

Dennis' talk went well, and he was given a tour of the facilities. It is interesting that Bulgaria just reported their first case in 2 years of CCHFV (Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus - the virus Dennis studies at UTMB-Galveston). Is this a bad omen? Hope not!

Dennis returned to the hotel at around 2pm. He ran to the store to purchase me some of his mother's stomach remedy ingredients: warm coke, pretzels (not for eating but for stirring the coke to remove the carbonation while also adding salt to the coke), and then some Zwieback (basically, large-sized melba toasts). After another nap, we decided to take a walk toward the city center. It was risky, as I was still feeling light-headed and so on. By this time it was already 8:30pm, so all of the churches, markets, etc. were already closed, but it was nice to get some fresh air.

I love the vibrancy of this city! Although it is a Tuesday night, there were several stages around the downtown area presenting live music that drew decent-sized crowds of people. One of the bands played some Arabian-style music, and people were dancing. We continued walking along the cobble-stoned streets. The most fascinating thing for me is to walk along a street that is filled with so many different architectural structures from different historic time periods: there are several buildings obviously that are reminiscent of the Eastern block era - many of of which are very run down or abandoned - but there are cathedrals and churches, for example, that date as far back as the 4th century! We found a sunken church just behind the newer Presidency building that was built by the Emperor Justinian (Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire) around 390 AD, with many of its layers of frescoes still visible. There was a small service going on (only 2 people and 1 priest); Dennis and I watched in silence from the doorway. We also walked past the Church of St. Nicholas ("The Miracle Maker"). There are also a number of monuments and statues around the city that were built to express their gratitude to the Russians for their efforts against the Ottoman Turks and WWII, just to name a few.

We decided to eat at a sushi restaurant for supper. I know what you are thinking. But don't worry - I just ate a bowl of plain white rice and drank bottled water.

Tomorrow we are taking a day trip from Sofia to see the Bulgarian countryside. Nikolay will be accompanying us as we drive to Plovdiv and beyond. Hope my stomach holds up!!
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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