Souvenirs from Sofia

by luckyperro

Since I’m leaving early tomorrow for Cuba, I’ve got to wrap up the Bulgaria posts!  Guided by Nicole and The New York Times, I found some wonderful souvenirs there.

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Bulgaria is one of the largest producers of Rosa Damascena oil, so I picked up some vials of that.  I also bought some delicious Bulgarian wine, including a couple bottles made from the local Mavrud grapes.  The doll and wooden toy I picked up for Jude, the doll from an amazing shop called Le Petit Salon that only carries items made by Bulgarian artisans.  I got a few other great things there that I’ve already given to others.  It was a beautiful shop and the owner was one of those people who can wear long skirts and art-y things and look really great, not just weird.  I wish I knew how to do that…

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The doll came with a card that the owner helpfully translated for me.  It says his name is Filip and he likes to ride his bicycle and eat bread with lutenitsa (a Bulgarian sort of tomato and onion relish).

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I bought this little nightshirt because it was good quality and pretty cheap, and it reminded me of something.  Later I realized it’s like the one Carla Bruni is wearing on the cover of her No Promises album.  I’m pretty sure if I wear it I will look just like Carla Bruni.  That’s how that works, right?

Shipka

I also picked up a few things at Shipka, which stocks organic beauty products in a converted butchery.  I was disappointed that they had nothing from Bulgaria, but it was truly one of the most well-designed shops and spaces (business card included) that I had ever seen, anywhere.  I also had a great conversation with the owner about the Environmental Working Group and its Cosmetic Database, and she ended up giving me a deal on the one product I did buy, because I didn’t have small bills.  (On a side note, what is with Europeans not being able to deal with large denominations of cash?!  You might as well be carrying gold bars if you try to pay with a 50 euro note elsewhere, and in Bulgaria people sometimes freaked when I tried to give them a 20 leva note.  I mean, why do they even have these denominations if no one wants them?)  I still had a great time exploring the city looking for these little shops and talking to the owners.