When I decided to start this adventure and come to Bulgaria, and after researching a little about the country, it was clear that one of the first cities I wanted to visit was Plovdiv.

Declared in 2019 European Capital of Culture, it is the second most populous city in Bulgaria and one of the oldest in Europe. It stands out, among other things, for its Roman remains (the Ancient Theater and the Roman Stadium) and for its old town. And, of course, for its numerous art galleries.

So, taking advantage of the first days off from Bulgaria, thanks to the celebration of their national holiday on the 3rd of March, I took the opportunity to make a trip to Plovdiv with my friend and also volunteer Rúben. We decided to go on Sunday afternoon, spend the night there, and tour the city on Monday morning, to return to Kazanlak in the afternoon.

We arrived in Plovdiv after two hours by bus from Kazanlak. It was a very pleasant trip where I could enjoy the landscape: Bulgarian villages, vast fields, and snowy mountains. As it was dark when we arrived (we are still in winter and here the day begins to get dark at half past six), we decided it was a good time to have a beer in one of the art pubs that the city has, another of its attractions, linked to that artistic and bohemian atmosphere that is breathed in some of its corners.

So we left our bags at the hostel, very well located and very cheap (like almost everything here), and went to the “Art Club Nylon”. There we unfortunately realized that being a more tourist city than, for example, Kazanlak, beer is something that is not so cheap. After having a good time at the bar listening to good music and admiring its decoration, we went in search of a typical restaurant for dinner. Google Maps took us to the “Dayana Restaurant” and there we enjoyed a good “ovcharska salata” (pastor’s salad, with tomato, cucumber, roasted peppers, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, ham taquitos and, of course, “sírene” cheese) and a plate of “lozovi sarmi” (grape leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat) with yogurt sauce.

To end the day, we went to have the last drink at “Rock Bar Download”, a place in the center that offers live music and where it’s possible to play the Playstation. As an anecdote, they were putting a football match between Barça and Real Madrid and there were several Bulgarians focused on the “classic.”

The next day we wanted to do a tour through the main points of interest in the city, so we started having coffee and a pancake near the hostel and decided to get lost a little through the streets. Thus we discover some interesting places such as the “Danov Hill” park, at the top of which is the “Clock Tower” and a viewpoint from which you can see the entire city. Afterwards, we approached the Roman Theater, passing through the Church of the Holy Mother of God, and strolled through the alleys of the old town, admiring the architecture of the old houses and, of course, all the cats that live in the streets. 

We finish our tour eating in a restaurant specialized in soups (another important part of the Bulgarian cuisine), the “Supa Bar”. As we still had a couple of hours to catch the bus back to Kazanlak, and taking advantage of the sunny day, we decided to sit in a park to read a little and rest the food. Finally, we took the bus at 4 in the afternoon and so our 24-hour visit to the European Capital of Culture ended.

Marta Valverde.

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