Saturday, September 3, 2011

Plovdiv: Bulgaria Day Five

Well, I couldn’t sleep very well and felt sick all night. But I decided, that I was going and would just take medicine.  I woke up and 6 and thought it would be enough time to make it to the bus station by 7, well because I was sick and not moving too fast I missed the bus by about 2-4 minutes. So I got my ticket for the next bus and went and sat in the international bus terminal (next to the local one, but with free wifi) waiting for my bus.

Got on the bus and promptly fell asleep for the whole bus ride. All 1.5 hours.

We arrived at the bus station and I checked to see what time I could catch the last bus back to Sofia at (8 pm, but I decided that 6pm, to have some leeway if needed). Bought some breakfast (because at the hostel the night guy couldn’t open the place where they keep the filled croissants) and began my trek into town.

Plovdiv is hilly. Very hilly. I didn’t know this. And its streets are very confusing and you better have a map handy or be ok with looking lost.  Also the main thing to do is visit the house museums, or old “revival” style houses that now host museums.

When I was at the bottom of the first hill/mountain, I went to take a picture of this little church, only to find that my SD card had never made it back in my camera! I had put in the place holder of my computer and when I glanced, I thought it was the SD card. Luckily I carry my HTC Evo with me to use at wifi hotspots and it has a camera on it. So I was able to take pictures.

I walked up the hill and into the floor of the Roman Stadium. It was so cool to see the area that people sat in and watched things unfold so many years ago. And the city still uses it for performances, like they did the night before. However, to get out I had to climb this:

And let me tell you those steps are steep- like half of my leg or higher steep. But the view from the top was nice:

 Then I tried to find my way downtown (well I was kinda already there, but still). I passed the Larartine house. Named after this French poet that stayed her for 3 days way back when. Yes you read that correctly- 3 days. Lol

I then walked down to the heart of Old Plovdiv and went into the Sveti Sveti Konstantin i Elena (church).

As I was about to go into the church, a slew of black cars with flashing lights and diplomatic flags and police cars drove by. Everyone stopped and looked. Apparently the Bulgarian Prime Minister and the Austiran Consular General were dedicating a new power plant outside of the city. So while I didn’t see them, I saw their cars. Lol

 {ast the church to go check out the Ethnographic Musuem. I only had 30 minutes before it closed for lunch and I didn’t want to limit myself, so I went through the Hissar Kapiya (the best preserved gateway of the 6meter tall fortress walls built during the reign of the Roman emperors Marcus Trajanus and Marcus Aurelius.

I went into the Musuem of the Revial/Geogiadi House that is a “splendid architectural museum” according to the free map at the tourist info center. It showed the history of the ciy with stories and information about a few different periods of time. (all mostly modern) And all of the museums have a student price of 1 leva. I was able to take some pictures inside:

 Then it was next door to the Nedkovich house which showed how the “upper class” lived during olden times. A few snapshots. The lady opened up the house for me and I was the only in it when I went through.

Then I went to the Sveti Nedelya (Nedelya Church) because it had, and I quote the Lonely Planet guide, “a frekin’ dragon slaying mural” inside. And churches are free. You had to cross some construction to get there, but the door was open and no matter what way you wnet in you had to cross this construction, and there were footprints, so I figured why not. So glad I did, it was very well preserved and beautiful! See:

Then it was onwards to the Zlatyu Boyadzhiev museum. Where I ate lunch in the courtyard and rested (which I had kind of been doing all day because I still felt pretty sick and out of it).  According to Wikipedia, he was a famous Bulgarian painter known for his portraits and landscapes. What stuck me is that he was painting during the communist times and his work is so soul searching and about religion- not typical for that time period. Also there was two paintings in a tree stump. Some examples:

Then it was back to the ethnographic museum. So cool. Two stories of clothes and tools of the area around Plovdiv. A must see by the way. On the first floor in the main area Tsocho Peev was having an exhibit.  He is a cartoonist from Bulgaria and his paintings made me laugh. They were really good. There was one with the painting slipping from the frame, only to realize that it was a painting of a painting slipping from the frame and hanging on for dear life. Or this:

After that I wandered towards the Ancient Roam Stadium (the largest roman structure in the Balkans which had a capacity of over 30,000 people, but you can only see 13 steps of it now.) Passing by the Balabanov House and the Hindliyan House and the slew of black cars parked outside some place.

Then I saw the Dzhumaya Mosque, “one of the biggest and oldest mosques of Bulgaria.” And the Stadium. Which is currently under constuction.

 I walked down the main street on my way back to the bus station hoping to catch the 3pm bus.

Which I did. I stayed awake for a bit, but then took a nap. Countryside is the same no matter where you are- trees, fields, a few mountains in the back ground. It actually looked a lot like Southern California in the Hills nears Palm Springs. I woke up about 20-30 minutes before we arrived in Sofia and go to see part of the Vitoshia (a mountain) Nature Park.

Then it was back to the hostel with a yummy Japanese dinner of cucumber rolls, miso soup, and Coca-Cola on the way. More blog updating, and phone talking.

I went to brush my teeth for bed, but the bathrooms were in use. Apparently the other people had eaten some bad fish and threw up. I told Borts (I think) that I had a weak stomach and didn’t feel good and was going to bed. So he said I should drink Coke Light and promptly poured me a glass. So I drank  it and watched Bulgarian TV with him. He is super nice and lets me practice my Macedonian/Bulgarian but is willing to speak in English if I don’t know the Bulgarian word. We watched TV for about an hour as I finished my Coke Light. Surprisingly it worked! Brushed my teeth and went to bed.

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