The Roving Route
The Adventures of the Roving Route #3
Entering Plovdiv is like stepping back in time. As we mentioned in our last email, Plovdiv is the oldest European city with over 8,000 years of continuous habitation. We checked out the archaeological museum to learn a bit more about the city's history. While it was small, they were still able to pack in thousands of years of artifacts into an interesting space. From human statues dating to before 5000 BC to an impressive set of 24K golden chalices from 400 BC to a gigantic floor mosaic of a menorah from ancient Bulgaria's only synagogue, it was interesting to watch the rise and fall of civilizations within the city.
Plovdiv is a city that is split into two, the modern and the old. The modern is filled with restaurants and art, whereas, the old has small streets, traditional arts and crafts stores and history. Mind you, the modern is built on top of the old, so you may be walking down the street with a Roman stadium literally below your feet. You can even walk into a mall and down a flight of stairs and come face to face with the almost 2,000-year-old stadium complete with marble spectator stands fit to hold 30,000 people.
Leaving the old city in our rear view, we took a train to Burgas along the coast of Bulgaria to dip our feet in the Black Sea, a first for both of us.
Burgas was a cute city however our most memorable moment started when we saw banners around town in Cyrillic mentioning something going on the next day. After a bit of research, we found photos of the townspeople walking with ginormous signs of Cyrillic letters. That’s all we needed to know to know that it would be a very cultural day. Before we came to Bulgaria we read up on two brothers that helped to create what is now known as the Cyrillic alphabet and is used by more than 300 million people around the world. The area that is now Bulgaria was the first to adopt the new controversial alphabet in about 900 AD giving them an immense source of pride and propelling them onto the world stage. May 24th has been celebrated for over 150 years in Bulgaria as a day to celebrate the two brothers' legacy and the country's culture. We woke up on the 24th to a full out downpour and questioned if people would still be partaking in the parade. We waited till the very last minute to leave the house and once we turned the corner to the main walking street we knew this was something the town was not afraid to get a bit wet to celebrate. Sadly, we assume because of the rain the letters were nowhere to be found however about a hundred different signs with Cyrillic sayings were carried around town. We had a blast watching people singing and smiling as they paraded down the street to celebrate the two brothers and the language that they helped to create.
With the famous Black Sea coast, we decided to take advantage of off-season resort pricing and made our way to the town of Sunny Beach for a few days. Who knew that Bulgaria has all-inclusives! Last night, the entertainment staff even put on a Bollywood show!
We continue to relax in Sunny Beach. Our goals? Refueling on the all-inclusive food and drinks before we head our way to Bulgaria’s original capital of Veliko Tarnovo. Our resort is also right beside the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nessebar; a small island off the coast filled with medieval streets and churches so we will make sure to take advantage of that between drinks.