We lovediv Plovdiv

Plovdiv is the second-biggest city in Bulgaria and, even though we have been coming here for fifteen years, we had never been to Plovdiv. It takes about two hours to drive there from Sofia. The road is pleasantly scenic and there are a lot fewer dupki than usual.

Blogger and our guide, Pavel
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a fan of the free Sofia walking tour. Well, the Plovdiv-based version is equally good. We met Pavel, our loquacious and very knowledgeable guide, outside the city hall, next to the rather splendid fountain. The tour took about two hours and it covered the central parts of the city: the main square, the street that follows the layout of the Roman stadium, the Kapana district and the Old Town. On the way, we heard some of the many stories about Milo’s statue and yes, we did whisper in his ear and rub his knee.

As for architecture, there are plenty of charming and elegant buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but Plovdiv has the added advantage of some lovely merchants’ houses from the 18th and 19th century.
Street Art in the Kapana

Although in some ways Plovdiv is quite similar to Sofia, in reality it has a much more laid-back feel to it. Plovdiv’s pedestrianized streets have a more relaxed and casual feel to them than Sofia’s Vitosha Bulevard. The Kapana is a delightful maze of artisans’ workshops and small houses. I am NOT a fan of graffiti and I have complained about it on this blog, but the Kapana’s beautiful wall paintings are really good Art, not just some more moronic spray can vandalism.
As for Roman remains, Plovdiv’s are a lot more impressive than Sofia’s. Only a tantalizing fragment of the stadium has been excavated, but the Roman theatre is magnificent and well-preserved.

The Central Restaurant was where we had our well-earned lunch: five courses of Bulgarian food, with an arty nouvelle cuisine emphasis. The little Shopska salads were served in filo pastry baskets and the tame lutenitsa was more like passata. There were some small examples of skara, well grilled, and baklava with a rose-flavoured centre, all served with grace and aplomb for 29 leva per head.

I am going to add some foodie photos, just in case we have some Chinese blog readers. (Everyone knows that Chinese people LOVE photos of food.)

An interesting twist to an old favourite - Shopska salad in a filo pastry basket
Three different dips, with toast, served in an arty sort of way

Various meaty things ("skara" is the general term for barbecue).
And the diet starts tomorrow!


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