Monday, 20 August 2007

Off the Map Again

I thought that being unable to find maps of Belgrade when in Budapest was weird. Well, the same happens in Belgrade: nearly impossible to find a map of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, even though Serbia and Bulgaria share a border. You can easily find guide books and maps to go to the other end of the world or to war zones like Sudan but you can't find a map of the capital city of a neighbour country. I eventually succeeded in finding what I think was the one map in town after visiting half a dozen book stores.

When I questioned this state of affairs in Budapest, I was told by a friend that nobody ever went to Belgrade. Having now been there, I can confirm that Hungarians are very misguided: Belgrade is definitely worth visiting! So is it the same problem here about Sofia? Nobody ever goes there? And if yes, are Serbians misguided about their neighbour? I shall discover that tomorrow. Or is this attitude just the remnants of old conflicts between those countries that share a complex history?

Also, just for the record, Google Maps doesn't fare any better in providing a map of Sofia than it does in providing one of Belgrade: you just get a big grey blob labelled София.

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