August 12, 2014

Back to Bulgaria (metaphorically speaking)

It's time to write more about Dunava's trip to Bulgaria.

Upon leaving Kyustendil and the "Silver Buckle" festival, we took the long drive to Pazardzhik. We stayed in the lovely Hotel Primavera, a small but seemingly new pensione in the town center. I was so tired from the previous days that I stayed in the hotel and did not attend either the afternoon workshop with our hosts, Ensemble Pazardzhik, or dinner with the rest of the group. The rest did me a world of good, because the next day we could choose either a half-day trip to nearby Plovdiv or the same amount of time on our own. Several of us chose Plovdiv, even though it was difficult to get back on the bus again. Thankfully our driver N is a man of excellent good humor.

Sundial on mosque, Plovdiv

Restored Roman vomitory, Plovdiv
Plovdiv is divided, like Jerusalem, into a very old city and a new city. The highlights of the old city are the many restored ruins, which feature a complete Roman amphitheater still used for performances. Our small group explored the tourist part of the old city. New shops, cafes, and restaurants abound. Except for the public toilets, where a squat toilet and Western-style toilet sit privately side by side. To use either one, you have to "pay" the lady outside 50 stotinki, which regretfully doesn't make the toilets any cleaner.

Restored Roman amphitreatre, Plovdiv
We climbed up the cobblestone streets and looked in almost every antique shop to assist J in her hunt for antique jewelry and R for her search for authentic clothing. At the top of the hill we stopped for a light lunch overlooking the amphitheater.

Upon our return to Pazardzhik, I joined everyone for the afternoon workshop, during which I tried to pick up the four songs they had begun the day prior. We enjoyed a yummy dinner in an outdoor restaurant. Unfortunately, what felt like every mosquito in Bulgaria joined us and nibbled on D and I for their dinner. After too many bites to count, I headed back to the hotel.

On the way I saw a most beautiful cocker spaniel, enjoyed yet another conversation in French with M, his maman, and picked up a few more mosquito bites.

M and her English cocker spaniel David, Pazardzhik

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