📸 — Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Homesickness has a strange way of kicking you in the gut when you don’t need the stress. But Olivier has been struggling moving from place to place and feeling the need to be home in his own bed.

We had 3 weeks of this limbo time before we are on a schedule again to visit friends and family in the Netherlands and some planned road trips. However, that isn’t until the end of September.

So we decided a last minute trip to Plovdiv, Europe’s Culture Capital of 2019 to spend a few days and figure out where we go next and to relax… we need a bit of a break.

So we didn’t actually see that much in Plovdiv but did binge watch a lot Netflix (we watched the entire series of “The Staircase!”). But from our days out and about, here are some of the things that stood out and things we learned.

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This is how McDonald’s is spelt using the Cyrillic alphabet!
Walking around town through the newly planted gardens.
A large man made lake, with a HUGE hole in the middle.
There were very big signs that said don’t drink the water, don’t swim in the water, don’t touch the water, and don’t put stuff in the water.
All around town, we’ve found dozens and dozens of coffee machines. I guess people don’t ever want to be more than a block away from a coffee!
Walking through the park, Oli is eye’ing the other chess players.
The Old Town is situated on one of the 7 hills in Plovdiv.
On the left, you see a sheet with a photo and some text. This is very common in Plovdiv. They are obituaries for people who passed away.
The church’s bells started ringing :D
This area of town is called Kapana or “the trap” in Turkish. It was a terrible area of town that was mainly used as a parking lot, and had no businesses or traffic, but 6 years ago, they turned it into a social hot spot, and it now is filled with hipster shops, restaurants, cafés and galleries. The city owned most of the real estate, and essentially gave one-year leases for free, in exchange for the guarantee that the “renter” would create an artistic project inside. Pretty cool what a few years can do!
The Monkey House — a place of coffee, craft beer and hangouts.

We had heard that there was a beer festival on one of the hills so went on a walk to go and find it. The city is filled with communist-era structures and art that is run down which makes it very interesting to walk through and see what has been abandoned.

Nevermind the swastika.
We got to the festival, and there was a bus, and beer and people. We waited for the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band to start playing, but they never showed
Sun set was pretty cool though.
Everyone has grapes here, Maeghan is certain they all make their own wine.
Decided to try out a walking tour of the Old Town.
When you can’t afford columns, you go for drawn-on columns.

Plovdiv is the 2019 Culture Capital of Europe which means they are one of two cities the European Union selects to host a variety of concerts, festivals and events to boost tourism and help an up and coming city develop. But man, what this meant for us was that almost every street you walked on was falling apart or being reconstructed. We will forever remember this place as the land of renovation.

Worse than a Montreal summer.

This is a city that is around 7,000 -8,000 years old… its seen the Romans, its seen medieval conquerors, and its now living it’s modern day life. Further, each of these empires built their life on top of the previous one… so Plovdiv will probably never have a metro system because it is covered in buried ruins!

The crazy part is… they keep finding these ruins from ancient times… and leave them out on the street, or on the side… and people just.. hang out on them, or vandalize them.. It was really curious to see the remains of these times just left behind.

This is a street.
Oh also, there is ALOT of cats. And most are very friendly!
Traditional local salad, veggies, some meat and cheese. You are suppose to order a salad when ever you go to a restaurant and always have a salad if you are drinking. They have amazing produce here, so being vegetarian for the week was not that hard!
They found the remains of a coliseum in the main part of the city, they haven’t been able to dig it up because it goes under a ton of big buildings on the main street. Believe it or not, they only found this thing in the 60s’, before then, nobody had any idea this was here.
So they unveiled the rounded part of the ruins and you can still go into some basements of some stores and see full benches where people used to watch Gladiators fight!
A model of the ruins — it fits 25,000 people and takes up almost all of the downtown main strip!
Back to the trap.
Cappuccino love. Questionable milk art.
Meat, meat and fries.
We think Plovdiv will be a totally different place next year. The city has almost 100% booked accommodations (hotels) already for next summer
Oli got his 6th haircut of the trip. This one, he said was a fancy one. $20 Lev
Our last stop was to the small hill of the old town for a city wide view and sunset during our walking tour.
Hey you
The remains of a roman theatre they found under a bunch of houses has been turned into an active concert hall that sits 3,000 people.

Next, we get on a long bus ride to Istanbul!

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫