So firstly the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet is apart from a few exceptions is different from the western one. Fortunately most signs have the western translation on which is very useful. I think after a couple of weeks i should be able to read the alphabet to a useful level. some western words have been Phonetically translated i.e. Parking=паркинг it’s a bit like working out a code. for example пиво=Pivo which in most eastern European languages is Beer. so with some patience and a smattering of other European languages (Thank you is Mersi like the French Merci) i think we will survive.
Sofia, from what i have seen so far seems to be a city torn in two. It is a mix and match of decaying Communist era social housing, self built shacks and western shopping mall’s, trendy bars, banks and apartment blocks. there doesn’t seem to be any particular organization to these so you can walk from “The Mall of Sofia” to a housing estate that would make the most hardened resident of Manchester’s Moss side think twice at first glance. However on having an UN-scheduled stroll around the grotty bits looking for a community center apart from a few mangy guard dogs barking from behind rusty gates all appeared to be pretty calm. unlike London where i am always aware of the mindless vandalism and car crime there appears to be a respect for other peoples property. i didn’t see any of the apparently abandoned vehicles (i suspect most of them are abandoned because of rising petrol prices as it is around £1.30/L) with so much as a thick layer of dust and a couple of flat tyres. if you left a car like that in a London housing estate car park for a month without using it i think it would probably be smashed to pieces long before the tyres had a chance to deflate. I think only time will tell what it is actually like to live here as a native.