This morning we had a private mini-bus take us to Plovdiv which took only about 2-1/2 hours and it was amazing we made it in one piece the way our driver was passing everyone on the narrow roads.
Plovdiv is situated on the Maritsa River and was once the meeting point of two ancient transportation routes. A picturesque town with many parks, gardens, museums and archaeological monuments, its Old Town features many 18th and 19th century Baroque houses dating from the national revival period. These charming homes sit alongside museums, mosques, galleries and Byzantine ruins.
We were quite pleased with our hotel in this city. Apparently, the one we were supposed to stay in is closed for renovations, so we got upgraded to a really nice centrally located hotel. Brad was in his element. Most of the group went on an archaelogical tour of the ruins, but Brad and I opted out. We were ruined out before even seeing the ruins, so we wandered around the main pedestrian mall for awhile. Brad decided to enjoy the hotel and spent a good part of the afternoon relaxing with the A/C until someone barged in yelling something about room service or toilet. He promptly got rid of him. In the meantime, I found a post office that actually sells stamps and found a place where one can make a phone call. However, it took some effort to figure out where to actually mail something as they wouldn't take it inside the post office.
Today was our last day in Bulgaria and we had a free day. Brad took advantage of the quiet, A/C hotel room and spent the morning resting while I went for a wander. We then decided to take a walking tour of the Old City which included the magnificent ancient Roman amphitheatre. Built during the 2nd century BC during the reign of Trajanus, the theatre seats about 6000 people and is the city's main attraction. It was only discovered in 1972 during a landslide. Up the cobblestone streets we saw the site of Nebet Tepe, a former hilltop fortress with excellent views of the city. We also visited the 15th century Dzhumaya Mosque, still in use today. It was another hot day today and very tiring, so we took it easy. After lunch, we wandered around the park and saw an amazing photography display.
We are now waiting to go to the train station where we will take an overnight train to Istanbul, Turkey. It's supposed to leave at 10:00 PM, but it's always late and we may end up waiting in the train station for a few hours. It could be a 14 hour ordeal. We are not looking forward to another sleepless night. Apparently, the border crossings can be very time consuming and we will have to get up in the middle of the night to show our passports, etc.
We had a late dinner and used up the rest of our Bulgarian money. I hope this train trip isn't going to kill us off completely. Brad's already in a coma ... if only we can get through one more day.
It certainly has been an adventure.