It’s a nice sunny fall day at the south-eastern edge of Doktorska Gradina. Wealthy “Park Bar” customers, located at the intersection Ul. San Stefano and Ul. Shipka, have parked their 911 convertibles and brand new S-Class limousines in the no-standing zone, just in front of that place. Why would they obey to any parking rules? Everybody might be equal when it comes to laws and rules, but they are a lot more equal.
Maybe is has to do with the many embassies and ambassador residencies in this area: The small park Doktorska Gradina, which is visible to those show-offs at the café as well, close to the heart of Sofia, is definitely the most groomed one in the entire city. The grass almost looks like it was located around Buckingham Palace, a nice fountain was installed two years ago.
There are two and a half playgrounds in this small park. They would not have been installed, if this was Mladost or Lyulin. On one of them, which is reserved for toddlers, their parents and grandparents speak lots of languages. In native English, French and German, the mothers present here all say the same: “No, do not throw the sand” or “Do you want to sit in the swing?”.
The next playground is for bigger kids, age 6 and up. Both of them feature modern rubber floors, which prevent injuries, when kids fall. Both of them are being repaired on a regular basis. That would not probably happen in other areas of Sofia either.
Then there is half a playground left: A wooden hut with toys fixed to its walls. This one is not that popular among kids anymore, since the sticks for built-in percussion instruments disappeared. Maybe the direct neighbours had enough of all the drumming.
This nice park serves everyone. There are those who celebrate bench parties with 2 liter plastic bottles of Kamenitsa beer. Then there are couples holding hands and kissing. Elderly ladies sit on the many benches too, chatting about their children and the old times.
There are three types of fathers at this park: Type A: Those who are carrying their kids from playground to playground, making sure they are having fun. Type B: Those daddies who are staring at their smart phones, but who do look up from time to time, telling their kids how good they are on the slides. Type C: Those fathers, who stare at their cell phones without interruption, not giving a damn.
Lots of kids use the lawns to play football to. And there are students from the neighbouring music academy, carrying musical instruments, while taking a deserved break from all of the music. To the guy who was sweating while carrying his double bass: You should have picked the flute.
Oh, and there are 1,700 year old stones. In this oldest city in Europe, dating back 7,000 years, this is a pretty usual sight.
Nice playgrounds, a fountain, impressive stones, lots of benches and an international atmosphere. A nice park.
By Imanuel Marcus.
All photos by Lea and Imanuel Marcus.