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Friday, 08 July 2016

Antiquities in Plovdiv, Bulgaria - Page 2

Written by Richard Taylor
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It’s a lovely peaceful walk among the high walls (although that Spanish tour group was on the loud side) and is punctuated with galleries and kashta – traditional homes – and museums.  Behind the Ethnographic Museum, the Church of St. Constantine and Elena dates back sixteen centuries and near the church were the bits and pieces of Eumolpias, the remaining ruins of the original Thracian settlement from 5000 BC.  



Having discovered the secret location of the Old City, I descended smugly to ground and took in modern Plovdiv over a leisurely couple of days. By the next morning I was strolling a fine piece of green called Loven Park, which had ponds and statues and a café where a fiddler played sweet tones to the couples.   Splitting the park was the Greven Canal, a sedate waterway occasionally enlivened by boat races.  Beyond the trees was the boisterous life of Plovdiv’s great pedestrian mall.  At the lip of the avenue, kids were sipping at one of the many iconic fountains.  The spring waters feeding them are apparently very healthy stuff, so I took a gulp.


It doesn’t affect my carnivorous ways but I’ve tended to find Eastern Europe a bare cupboard for vegetarians.  In Plovdiv they can sustain themselves with soups and potatoes and eggs, Bulgaria’s famous yogurt of course and delicious, disgusting great slabs of fried cheese.  Pizza is wildly popular (there were pizzerias all over the mall) with plenty of selections sans meat.  Salads are highly prized as well.  The traditional type is shopska – onions and tomatoes and cucumbers and cheese, which preceded the rest of my lunch of two spicy meat patties, fried cheese, a kebab and two glasses of black current juice.  I’m no oenophile, so the local plonk was lost on me but Bulgarian wines are highly regarded.


The day grew warmer so I asked the ice cream vendor for one scoop of Melon and a scoop of Snickers but my face turned Sour Lemon when he kept shaking his head and I thought, “You got a problem with my ice cream choices buddy?”  Then the recall:  It’s Plovdiv.  It’s reversed.  It’s that national eccentricity.  I walked off with my ice cream contritely.  Of course one never knows for sure.  Melon and Snickers.  Was that a loser combination?  Too glaringly touristy?  Red Cabbage ice cream would be the authentic way to go.  Fried cheese sherbet.  Heck, a double pepperoni slushy would do.


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