Plodding around Plovdiv

(Emily) The Bulgaria border was a breeze – no mention of insurance and didn’t have to pay for a vignette (road tax) as motorcycles are exempt, bonus! The fantastic scenery we’d enjoyed in Macedonia continued and it was all very green and mountainous. As usual, we were being chased by storm clouds (or rather they were enveloping us from all sides) so we pressed on for quite some time, anxious to escape… inevitably, we didn’t and got caught in a really heavy shower; lovely. At least the roads  were reasonably good so you could get a pace on and dry out in the wind, but the winding routes they took round the mountains meant that progress was slow and the ominous black clouds were ever at our heels. Having been anxious for some food since lunchtime (me and hunger don’t mix well – think of the whinge ‘are we there yet?’; poor James got ‘can we eat yet?’ for a good few hours), we finally stopped for our sandwiches at 4pm and it was the quickest I ever ingested a meal (and I’m a fast eater anyway, right?) as James was convinced we were about to get caught again. Fun and games.

Anyway, we got to Plovdiv in pretty good time due to our ‘must not stop, must not get wet’ mantra and set about finding the hostel for which we had a flyer. Despite the ‘map’ on the leaflet, I think we must have been riding around for a good hour and asked at least 6 passers-by before we reached our destination; I was so hot and sweaty and desperate to get there that I tackled the ridiculously uneven cobbles of the steep road up to the hostel without hardly thinking about it. Progress! It was a cute place with a great view of the city and we got a little cubby hole room under the eaves (think Brambly Hedge, Lizzie). That night we ate out with Charlotte, a lovely lone traveller from the UK who been all over the place and had some good tales to tell. Felt a bit bad in the morning when we realised the time-zone had gone another hour ahead without us realising, and we had made Charlotte wait until about 10pm ‘til we were ready to go to the restaurant!!!

We stayed in Plovdiv for three nights in the end, not wanting to leave in the still unsettled weather – it absolutely peed it down every afternoon/evening, invariably just at the time we wanted to head out for something to eat! The old town is a pretty place to mooch around, and has a surprising amount of Roman ruins including an amazing amphitheatre, but on the whole there’s not a great deal going on – the most entertaining past-time is ‘people watching’ and clocking the quite frankly hideouso outfits sported by many of the women!! Imagine you want to wear exactly what Carrie does in SATC, without realising it’s not really practical or real, yet need to buy your stuff on a Primark budget. That said, mocking as we were, the abundance of heels and lycra on show made me feel decidedly dowdy!! Our prolonged stay meant we could get a load of laundry done and update the blog for Albania, and with free breakfast at the hostel and cheap eats everywhere, there were worse places to be! There were quite a few travellers passing through and we ate out with Forest and Alex, both from the US, one evening. A very pretty and friendly German girl named Rebekka, who we got chatting with, kindly invited us to crash at her place (in Burgas on the Black Sea coast) if we were passing through that way; she was working in Bulgaria for a year and was having a little mini-break in Plovdiv with her equally friendly and pretty friend, Aura. On our last evening, we were much entertained by Priscilla, an Irish lady in her late 60s who has been living in Sardinia for the last 50 years and goes backpacking whenever she can – coolio!  Many people travelling from the opposite direction to us were recommending Veliko Tarnovo in the north-east as a good place to visit so, rather than plough on to Turkey straight from Plovdiv,  we decided to make the detour – am growing to like this lack of planning!!

4 Responses to “Plodding around Plovdiv”

  1. Littlewood mi says:

    Good chatting with you on Skype yesterday…you both look so well! Shame we can’t join you guys in Istanbul, would’ve been lovely. Enjoy the rest of you time there and keep the photos coming!!

    Take care.
    Lots of love
    Jo and Ben xxxx

  2. Jess says:

    Brambley hedge??! Ideal xxx

  3. Angi says:

    Hey you two! I love your website, reading about your adventures makes me want to learn to drive a motorbike right away :) I hope you’re having a blast in Istanbul. Any more stick fights??

  4. Lizzie says:

    I want to stay in Brambley Hedge with u guys! Miss u both soooo much xx

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