Plovdiv first night and morning

Good morning from Plovdiv!

With my new $7 SIM card in my phone, I now have 6GB of mobile data for the rest of my trip. Is that a bargain or what?

When I first arrived my airbnb hostess was not available so I hung out nearby on the main pedestrian street and grabbed a delicious gelato combo of coffee and dark chocolate with hot pepper and candied orange peel chunks. YUM! And such fun people watching.

I was comfy in my airbnb right in the heart of the art/cafe district called Kapana. The pocket park next door is home to skateboarding teens during the day, and at night it seems to host a late night (4am!) party, but fortunately the apartment is pretty soundproof with the windows closed, and has adequate air conditioning. The temperature us up to 90 degrees Farenheit these days. The building itself is really lovely and the inside is modern, clean, and well equipped.

I am thrilled to be in such a walkable area, with old buildings and cobblestone streats. There is a large area of pedestrian-only streets including the place I am staying. I walked for several hours last night checking out the district. The Dzhumaya mosque and one of two Roman amphitheatres are just a few blocks away. I had a delicious dinner right around the corner at a very popular restaurant called Pavash. I ordered grilled baby eggplant with carrot and a delicious glaze and pesto, and chicken livers with sauce and whole wheat bread. Dessert was dreamy creamy cheesecake on a chocolate crumb crust with strawberry. I sat at an outside table watching folks pass by. Mostly Bulgarians but many other nationalities. Since they were full, a nice woman came and sat with me while waiting for a friend to arrive. She is half-Bulgarian, half-Armenian and has been spending several years each in Colombia, The Netherlands, Istambul, etc. working as a sort of cosmetologist. It was nice to have a companion to talk with since I was feeling a bit lonely knowing I will be mostly solo traveling now that the Rose Valley workshop is over.

Afterwards walked some more and met an Italian couple, had a nice chat in Italian, turns out they live near Lake Como which is one of our favorite places in northern Italy.

I am on the lookout for ab embroidered Bulgarian folk shirt for myself, and I found two stores that carry them, but they were chintze and way overpriced.

Parking is an issue in Plovdiv – the main tourist areas are mostly off limits to non-resident parking (green zone) or have severe restrictions ($1.50/hr with many places max 2 hours, except for paid lots which sometimes fill up). I drove around a bit and found long term free street parking in the “Center” district about 5 minutes walk south of the “Old Town”, 15 minutes walk from my apartment.

I am about to head out for some sort of light breakfast followed by a free walking tour in English that was recommended.

I posted a number of pictures from yesterday on my photo album