It was a rather… lively morning here, with one person working on the main roof’s house, another person working on the guest house siding, and Max mowing the lawn. It was a transcriptionist’s nightmare and it got worse as literally all my outlets were commandeered for power tool purposes. With my deadline not being till quite late tonight, I gave up and decided to head to Yablanitsa.
I’d planned to go to town today, thinking Max could drive me in on his way to Sofia, and so I was all packed and dressed to head out. I decided to just get there under my own steam rather than beg a lift from one of the guys here and have to wait for someone to be available. I gave Max a heads up that I was leaving and off I went, hoping I’d be able to get a lift from someone in the village since, really, it was too hot to walk the 12KM to town and back.
Well, I had no sooner made it to the bottom of my street that Jenny pulled up! She said she was heading to Botevgrad, a town about 30 minutes away, to run errands and if I just wanted groceries, she could drop me at Kaufland, whatever that was, and pick me up an hour later. Well, I was all for an adventure!
Kaufland, as it turned out is a huge “proper” grocery store, the likes of which I haven’t seen since I got here. So many treasures! Jenny went in to show me how to weigh my produce and then told me she’d meet me out front in about an hour, so around 12:30.
For the produce, you have to take it to what looks like a self-checkout counter, with an electronic scale and a touch screen. I had to begin by selecting “start,” spelled just like that (Bulgarian start is старт, so same as English). I then had to pick what I was weighing. The names were in Cyrillic, but there were also pictures. The word for sweet potatoes at the bin and the word for them at the machine was different, so I was glad for the picture! Soon as I picked my item, the machine spit out a sticker to put on my bag. Jenny also pointed out that some things are priced per unit rather than by weight. Limes are per unit, but lemons are per weight.
I took my time exploring the store and was thrilled to find yellow mustard, powdered milk, and almond milk, as well as sharp cheddar and Red Leicester, which I like even better than cheddar, but which is hard for me to find in my part of Canada. I was able to get a head of lettuce to go with the balsamic vinaigrette I had at home, so I decided to expand my culinary horizons and grabbed a jar of kalamata olives to put in a salad! I splurged on four “fancy” beers, including Leffe, that are prohibitively expensive back home, but only about 1.50CAD a bottle here. Since I knew I’d be home in short order, I got a little bit of meat and stocked up on paper towels and toilet paper.
Kaufland’s prices are a bit more than at the other stores I’ve been to, but the selection made up for that! I still can’t believe I got all those groceries for just 100BGN, not with all the dairy and beer I picked up. The grapefruit and avocado were a bit pricy and comparable to Canadian prices, but everything else was a bargain for me.
Checkout could have been a disaster, however, because there was a problem with my Visa! I understood “Your card said unauthorised.” I had no idea if it was a problem at my end (security hold) or if I’d put in the wrong pin or if she’d made a mistake. Thankfully, I had 120BGN in cash on me! I’m annoyed that I’m pretty much out of cash now (although 20BGN will go a long way here since I’ve stocked so much food), but relieved that I was able to pay!
I’ve noticed that at most grocery stores in my part of Bulgaria, you’re expected to put your items back in your cart and bag them away from the till. So I did that today since I had so much stuff, managing to get everything but the paper goods divided between two plastic bags and my backpack. BTW, grocery bags here are super high quality, but you have to pay for them. I had only brought one bag with me since I only normally ever buy as much as I can fit in my backpack of heavy stuff and whatever will fit in a plastic bag of light stuff. So I bought one of Kaufland’s bags.
I then went out to wait for Jenny and… guess who was coming into the store? Talk about timing today. Holy smokes!
She drove me straight home then as she had stuff to do there and didn’t want to dawdle. I was glad for that since I had things to put in the fridge. I came in and put together a really yummy salad for a late lunch.
I don’t know what I would have done with myself today with all that commotion and am glad that being independent and flexible paid off!