James Lee-Milne on Sofia (1979)
Extremely clean cobbled streets which are hosed at night and even during the day by stalwart women wielding heavy hose-pipes. First thing one sees in early morning is these women sweeping up ends. Heavy fines for throwing litter. The buildings are colour-washed, tawny yellows and orange. We watched the jeunesse doree strolling arm-in-arm in front of the hotel, facing the statue of Alexander II which had been allowed to survive. Bulgarians just as well-dressed as the English plebeian young. City full of parks and gardens, densely tree’d and freshly green. Archaic Roman fragments in the under passes, Roman bas-reliefs. Imagine how they would be vandalised in London.
From Deep Romantic Chasm
I got exactly the same impression – the women sweeping the streets clean, the youth out in the parks and the Roman remains unmolested in the underpasses – to my astonishment and chagrin. I don't know if the police are as heavy as they were during the Communist regime, or whether this is a culture more respectful of its public space than we are.