Vitosha and Verdi

Today I finally do it. I finally beat my record of more than 3 blog posts. It’s been a huge effort, but I think it’s been worth it. Thank you for joining me on this journey of writing down things before I forget them. Here are some things from the last week I hope to not forget:

Firstly, I hiked up Vitosha Mountain, which resides just to the south of Sofia. It’s visible from most of the city, and becomes a snow sport haven in the winter. However now, just at the beginning of summer, it’s more of a hiking destination, and people would mostly do that during the weekends. I decided to avoid as many social interactions as possible and climb it during the week. This meant that the bus which drops you off at a reasonable place to start hiking wasn’t running. Instead, I decided to start at the bottom and make my way up and across through a series of routes I had mishmashed together. This was a ‘remix’ of a few ‘normal routes’ to create a more fun and worthwhile endeavour and this is what led to me doing a solid 9-10 hours of hiking, which was probably too much. It was great, and the mountain was great, and the weather was beautiful, and I saw so much! …but I was pretty much out of action for the next few days. I did love it though. The view of Sofia was spectacular. I would highly recommend it, but do your own research, and know your limits?

The next big adventure was a trip to Plovdiv, the arts capital of Bulgaria. Myself and the other residents caught a train (which takes about 2-3 hours from Sofia) and found ourselves in this brilliant little city. All the main attractions are within walking distance from each other, and sidelined by a huge walking street. It’s another place full of roman ruins, and many many galleries. It was also very very hot. As an English tourist loudly announced to her friend as they walked out of the shade of a park, the heat of the sun was ‘actually unbearable.’ This made the walking distances less reasonable, but still very worthwhile. It was particularly fantastic to see some contemporary art shows, such as one called ‘Digital Ecologies 2018-2019’. It was extensive, and spread over two different galleries. One of the films in the exhibition which was about recording sounds in the ocean was particularly good.

The main highlight of Plovdiv, for me at least, was seeing the opera ‘The Force of Destiny’ by Verdi, performed at Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis.
It was phenomenal; the live orchestra, the performers, the music itself and the ancient amphitheatre itself. It’s been a while since I’ve been so moved and inspired by a live performance. It was also incredibly interesting staging, in terms of the actual set and the usage of the chorus and the dancers. To use a modern phrase, ‘I was shooken.’

It was a nice, but short, and hot trip to Plovdiv. I would love to go again and spend more time there, but maybe in a better climate. Overall it was an incredibly worthwhile endeavour.

Now, we come to the final week before the exhibition. I’ve changed what I’m doing somewhat, and have added some additional pieces to my main artwork. But you’ll find out all about it in the next blog, which will sadly be posted after I have left the World of Co residency. It’s been an incredible month and I can’t wait to reveal what I’ve been working on.

Anyways, all the best, and thanks for reading.

Tim.

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