Friday was our last full day in Bulgaria so we tried to get up and out of the apartment early to wander the streets of Sofia one more time. After breakfast and baths for the kids (Yuli still hates having his hair washed), we headed down the street to a quaint art shop near our apartment that we had been passing daily on our walks. There were several pieces of beautiful pottery in the window and some other items that had caught our eye. However, we did not stay long in the store as the prices were extremely high. We decided to try and hit the underground shopping area near the subway later if we could because the prices on the pottery there were much better.
After leaving the art shop, we headed down Vitosha Boulevard again. Vitosha is a great place to do window shopping because there are so many stores and so many interesting places to see. On a previous day, we had seen a really interesting children's store, but we could not go in that day because they were closing. Now, they were open. We went in and found lots of cute clothes and fun toys for the kids, but I resisted the temptation. Well, almost. They had Ben 10 crocs in Yuli size, and the sandals I had bought at Target were just a little too big on him. How could I not get him a pair? Julia also found a most precious stuffed baby snow leopard. It only seemed appropriate to buy it for her since we had been watching Animal Planet at bedtime all week (It was one of only two English channels on our TV).
We also had lunch while we were out. Julia had to have McDonalds again because she wanted another Kung Fu Panda toy, and Yuli seems to really enjoy the french fries. After lunch, we all decided to head back to the apartment and to put Yuli down for a nap. It was also in the 90s that day with no wind. I know all of you Southerners are saying well it probably felt like home. Yes, it did which is why we wanted the air conditioning in the apartment and a nice cold glass of mineral water that had been chilling in the fridge.
While Yuli was down for his nap, I started packing for our flight home on Saturday. Rob and I also decided to try and wash a couple of loads of clothes. This is an adventure within itself. The apartment has what is called a combo washer and dryer, which is basically a washer and dryer that is one unit. It is about the size of a washing machine that you would find in a stackable washer and dryer here in the states or maybe smaller. All, I know is that it only holds about 4 towels and is supposed to dry the clothes after the wash cycle using heated condensation rather than hot air as in the dryers in the U.S. This combo washer and dryer is usually found in the kitchen in many European apartments, and it takes up the space next to the sink where we would normally put a dishwasher. And, just in case you are wondering, there was no dishwasher in the apartment unless you count me. We also did not have a stove...only a microwave that had a grill feature. This made cooking a frozen vegetarian pizza one night very interesting. At any rate, we got the washing machine going, but we could never figure out the dryer feature so we just used a drying rack and put it out on the little terrace outside the kitchen.
While we were continuing to pack, our translator and driver Petkco called to say that he was about to come by the apartment to bring Yuli's passport, visa and other documents, including the court decree and the Yuli's new birth certificate. After he arrived, he went over each of the documents in our packet. Something interesting that Rob and I found out that day was that Yuli's original birth certificate was destroyed when Bulgaria issued the new birth certificate with mine and Rob's name on it. For some reason, this made me a little sad. Rob and I owe his birth mother so much. She gave us a precious gift, and I did not want her memory to be erased. I also thought about Yuli. Some day, he might want to find her or his sibling, and with the birth certificate being destroyed, this would be difficult.
Petko also gave us a packet of documents that we were to take with us to the United States and which were to remain unopened until they were given to an immigration official at the airport in Newark when we landed. Petko must have told us three times to not let any of the documents out of our sight, especially the immigration packet. He also told us to have the court decree ready when we got to Passport Control at the Sofia Airport because the agent would probably ask for it in addition to Yuli's passport. Rob and I assured him that we understood and then he left after telling us he would be by in the morning to take us to the airport.
By that time, Yuli was up from his nap and hungry as usual. We decided to head down to Pizza Roma for one last hurrah. Rob and I again decided to try something different. Rob got the chicken shaslik, which was large pieces of grilled chicken and vegetables grilled on a skewer. I chose a dish that translated into English was a vegetable satche
After dinner, we said farewell to our two wonderful servers who had been so nice to us all week and then headed back down Vitosha to exchange our Bulgarian Lev back to USD. Most of the exchange places stay open all night, but all of the shops close up at 8:00 p.m. So, after we exchanged our money, we headed back to the apartment to finish packing and get a certain little four year old in the bed. We were all going to have a big day on Saturday, especially Yuli.