Tangled yarns from London's passers-through

001 : Yana Nikolova at the square in front of the Central Baths
Born in 1987 in Bulgaria. Yana Nikolova currently works as journalist in Darik radio Why Sofia? Because every Bulgarian has to live in Sofia at some stage of his life. She digs the following Sofia bits: the friends, culture life, the Boris garden in the summer, the churches, Independence Square at night. She is, however, a bit miffed by mostly by the frowning, unfriendly people, the psychopaths, the public transport, the dirt, the concrete block of flats. For more info on Yana Nikolova you should send an email.

image: Chris P.

“The swarthy street sweeper idly takes a drag on her cheap cigarette.”

“The stretch of the crank.” That’s what I call the 100-meter long stretch between the TSUM and the Central Baths, or, to put it more pragmatically — between Serdika underground station and the station of the mythical tram N. 22. I hate and I love this place. I hate it as, in my opinion, it is that part of the capital where one can meet more mentally deceased people per square meter than anywhere else. I love it … for the same reason. I like to observe the inhabitants of that tiny piece of land in the centre of Sofia. I like the meek mad man in a purple suit, who always listens to a song that can be heard due belting from his scratchy retro transistor set. “It is raining roses …” — I can hear this suspicious, sugary refrain in spite of the buzzing noise …

I like also the swarthy street sweeper, who idly takes a drag on her cheep cigarette during yet another long break between two short sweeps.

I like Ginka as well. Or Binka. Or may be Dochka. [1] I do not know the name of the woman, who sells refreshments but I am sure it sounds like that. She always shouts, not so convincing: “Hot sesame rings, pleeeease!” I like her because Ginka, Binka or Dochka, or whatever her name is, is the singular inhabitant of the stretch who could be possibly called “normal”. I like her and I hate her. For the same reason.

Squeal. The standard “squeak”. The tram drags its rusty trunk totter to me with a lazy movement. I get on. I wave goodbye in my imagination to my weird, new-old friends through the window, dirty due to the numerous touches, millions of flies and dozens of thoughtful looks. I know I am going to see them again tomorrow. Here, between TSUM and the Central Baths, between Serdika underground station and the tram N. 22 station. Between two melancholic, crazy smiles in a tired, long day.

The tram moves off. A weird man, rocking back and forth to an imagined rhythm who sits next to me introduces himself: “Nice to meet you, I’m Stirlitz!” Then he begins to reveal to me the secrets of the world conspiracy.

referenced works

  1. The Central Mineral Bathhouse is a symbolic building in downtown Sofia, in the “Oborishte” District. It has been designed by the Austrian architect Friedrich Grunager and his Bulgarian colleague Petko Momchilov in the beginning of the 20th century on the spot of an old Turkish bathhouse that has been demolished. It was build in the Secession style along with traditional Bulgarian, Byzantium and allover Eastern Orthodox ornamental elements. The building’s East wing had suffered damages during the World War II bombings of Sofia, but the building has been repaired. The Bathhouse functioned as such till 1986 when it was closed due to its deteriorating condition. The Central Sofia Mosque is “Basha” is located on the same square, just in front of the Central Bathhouse. The Central Department Store (CDS) is located in the close vicinity of the Bathhouse

location information

  • Name: the square in front of the Central Baths
  • Address: The stretch between Serdika underground station and tram N.22 station
  • Time of story: Morning
  • Latitude: 42.708741
  • Longitude: 23.328781
  • Map: Google Maps


008His speed was growing ferociously.— Tereza Zaharieva

007Mommy, buy a baby for me.— Svetlin Davidov

006The library club united us.— Pavel Hadjiev

005A biting, cold wind starts blowing and temperatures drops.— Nadia Hamdan


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