The Covered Market
Sofia's Covered Market is one of my favourite places. Irena and I have been going there for years. In fact, I think that we even visited the Covered Market before we bought our house in Kalotina. That must fourteen or maybe fifteen years ago, when we first visited Bulgaria.
The Covered Market is a great place, located slap bang in the middle of Sofia, conveniently next to its own car park and the Serdica II MTR station. It is also just round the corner from the Ladies' Market, so Irena and I often arrange to meet each other there.
There are lots of interesting little shops selling yummy foodie things like olives, as well as a branch of our bank in Bulgaria, FiBank. I like the little place that sells the funny leather bags and the handicrafts place. The things on sale are mostly carved out of walnut, and it was there that I bought our chess and backgammon set. There is also a great cafe, Tosca, and many other places, like the key cutter who made some spare keys for our new apartment.
Imagine my horror when I discovered that the toilets at the Covered Market are no longer free! From now on, it will cost you 60 stotinki to use the facilities. Well, that is about 30 pence, in British money. That is hardly "spending a penny"! For years, the toilets have been bez platna, but those days are gone and a sour-faced lady now sits outside the loos and you cannot get in there to do your business without paying up. In fact, she is such a grumpy cow that she called a security guard when she saw me taking photos of her overpriced pissoir.
When Irena and I were in Shenzhen, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of free WCs. In Lianhuacun Park, for example, there were any number of them and all of the MTR stations see to have at least one. There were other non-payment facilities dotted around the city, such as the ones along the road from the Hanting Hotel. Well done, Shenzhen! Yah boo to Sofia!
Lots of foreigners visit the Covered Market and somehow I do not think that they will be all that impressed when they find that they must pay to use the facilities. As for the traders and shopkeepers who work in the Coverted Market each day, did anyone bother to ask them for their wishes and their opinions? Therefore this blog post is the beginning of the campaign to have a free loo in the Covered Market. Urination without taxation! Pee for free!