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  1. #1

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    Sofia, Bulgaria in March

    Hello all,

    I'm attending a conference in Sofia in March. I think my shooting time will be limited to early morning and early evening.

    My plan is to take either the Konica Auto S3 or the little Olympus 35RC loaded with probably Neopan 400 or 1600. I'll probably be limited to walking the streets near the hotel as my time is limited. Is Sofia like Bucharest? I find the latter very stressful when alone.

    I'm keen to hear anyone's experiences of Sofia and any general tips.

    Thanks

    Steve.

  2. #2

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    If you have a day or two free before or after the conference, it's worth spending a bit of time in Plovdiv which is less than 100 miles away. The old part of the town, with it's Ottoman buildings and narrow cobbled lanes, is quite beautiful and very photogenic. I had my first solo exhibition at a photo festival there in the 90s and have a very soft spot for the place.

  3. #3
    naeroscatu's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,
    I just came back from Bucharest and I agree that it is a very stressful place. Mind you I was born there but left 15 years ago and returned several times for short vacations. I was in Sofia long time ago, mid 80's and due to proximity found many resemblances with Bucharest. I assume both cities evolved pretty much the same way which is slow.
    Beside the ads there is very little color so I recommend use of B&W film. ISO 400 should do just fine at this time of the year. Personally I love old buildings and there is plenty of that in Sofia and Bucharest, people are also very interesting. Enjoy your stay and show us some pictures when you come back.
    Mihai Costea

    "There's more to the picture
    Than meets the eye." - Neil Young

    Galleries:My PN & My APUG

  4. #4

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    Mike - I'll look into Plovdiv although it sounds like a destination to visit on a holiday, not a rushed conference.

    Naeroscatu - My wife's Romanian, from Maramureş County. I much prefer the feel of Northern Romania to the South, although Brăila seemed nice to me. It's a pity I'm going to be so pressed for time in Sofia, I suspect my short photo time will be spent walking around brutalist architecture on the outskirts.

  5. #5
    naeroscatu's Avatar
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    Steve, Maramures is one of the few magic places in Romania that I've never been able to explore (shame on me...). I still hope to go there one day.
    Mihai Costea

    "There's more to the picture
    Than meets the eye." - Neil Young

    Galleries:My PN & My APUG

  6. #6

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    naeroscatu - you may like this: http://www.corandus.org/category/rumanien/

    I found the photographer via flickr, he shoots LF.

  7. #7
    gnedkov's Avatar
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    Hi there
    I live in Sofia all my life and I can confess the city was never that stressful and ugly as it is in the past 5-6 year
    I suppose you are going to stay in hotel in the city center which is good for you. You can see some interesting stuff to shoot buildings mainly. People here do not react very friendly when you point a camera towards them.
    Nevertheless stick to the city center and you'll have no problems. Most of the streets are crowded with foreigners so you'll even find somebody to have a drink or two. We have decent bars and nightclubs.
    You don't have to worry about your equipment no one here would steal a film camera they do not realize the value of these things but take care of your other belongings.
    Stay away from any offer for paid love. I hope I'm not offending you with this line but I know lots of guys from UK and Germany robbed this way so I had to mention it.
    If you like to shoot buildings - the Cathedral Alexander Nevski and the near by church of Saint Sofia are a must. Bargain like a devil with the antique merchants nearby. Take a walk on the Ruski blvd - also near by and the surrounding places. I can recommend you also some bars and places that you can feel secure and easy without bothering of being a foreigner in our more or less strange country.

    PM me if you need any additional info.

    Regards and wishing you a great stay

    George Nedkov

  8. #8

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    Hello George and welcome to APUG!

    It was actually just over one year ago I visited Sofia and as predicted, my time was very short and spent walking around the area by the hotel. It was snowing and quite cold the whole time. Some colleagues stayed longer than me and they visited the city centre and said parts were beautiful, unfortunately I only saw brutalist architecture.
    Steve.

  9. #9
    gnedkov's Avatar
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    Hahaha I'm really sorry I missed the date of your post and even more sorry that you had no time to enjoy your visit in Bulgaria.
    If you have another visit and 2+ days of stay make an arrangement that you'll be hosted in the city centre and you'll have better time for sure.
    The other parts of the city are unfortunately too damaged from both the socialsm and the brutal recent greed.

    Wish you all best
    George

  10. #10

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    I've been to Sophia twice. The people are very friendly, the food good. The city center is interesting and the market place is interesting place to people shoot and find "treasures". If you shoot color you'll find there is much subtlety in the architecture, strangely I didn't realize that until afterward...If time permits, Plovdif is a delight as is the surrounding landscape. As always, much depends on your interests; what you find photographic. The Bulgarian people were a delight.



 

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