So Burgas train station renovations are now complete, and we were excited to finally go on our first railway journey. We plumped for Plovdiv and it was fab! Yes it was slow, stopped everywhere and took five hours, but we were in first class with a compartment to ourselves. It meant we could have a little snooze, then a sandwich, recline the seats, gawp out of the window, take loads of pics and wave at everybody. (Which I duly did.)
Plovdiv (or PLOVEDIV as it has been newly branded) let me tell you, HAS CHANGED BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION.
It won (earned?) fancypants 2019 European City Of Culture status last year, and has really upped its game since we last saw it. Art cafes! Interesting museums! (- which are open, and even have their lights on.) Bunting! Young people! Fountains with light displays! Creative art projects! Thoughtful urban design! Fresh ideas! IMAGINE! (Go on, try.)
Our hotel was ideally situated a stone’s through from the station – and pretty massive. The receptionist was so busy trying to put out the cigarette fire that she’d accidentally set in the bin outside, that she forgot to tell us the way to our room. A pair of burly security men were despatched to find out exactly who was trying to break into ‘Atelier 1’ on the 7th floor. Time to roll out the bumbling English fool act. (Nailed it.)
We saw Roman ruins, listened to a balalaika concert, walked around the cobbled street of the Kapana (The Trap), did a beer tasting (yes!), nearly got run over by Plovdiv Marathon runners, tried an Indian restaurant, wandered through the old Tobacco quarter which is ripe for development, nearly drowned in torrential rain and had a wonderful Italian meal.
OK so we had to catch the train at 6.25am Saturday and didn’t get back home til late Sunday, and there WAS that perilous trip to the loo when Jeremy discovered that somebody had left the railway carriage door open (yes that was the track roaring past at a-lot-of mph), but it didn’t matter as it was ALL AN ADVENTURE!