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This post is about a day spent exploring Plovdiv. I see some Roman ruins, a mosque, some Soviet ugliness, and then I decide to get wasted.

Plovdiv turned out to be the prettiest town with the ugliest name: Plovdiv. I didn’t know how it sounded to a Bulgarian speaker, but to me the name evoked images of mountains of greasy, steamy, tasty plov. Spoiler alert: I never got any plov in Plovdiv.

the dude’s dad

To think that Plovdiv used to have such a cool name! People used to call it Philippopolis because the guy who founded it was Philip the II of Macedonia, father of none other than Alexander the Great – the guy whose river the Caboose and I had crossed some 6000km earlier. Why anyone would want to change the name from Philippopolis to Plovdiv was beyond me. Was it too late to change it back?

way back

Plovdiv turned out to have several historical layers: there was the Soviet time with its massive, hideous murals portraying strong men doing righteous things. There was the old town with its restored facades. They made me feel as if I was in Central Europe. There was the Ottoman legacy, represented by the Friday Mosque. I saw Byzantine fortifications, Roman theaters, and hills that had witnessed human settlement in a time when history hadn’t even begun yet.

I was staying in a hostel, and they didn’t have a washing machine. So I walked around town looking for a place to do my laundry, and I stopped here and there, exploring Plovdiv aka Philippopolis aka the prettiest town with the ugliest name.

what I did

I went to the Forum Of Philippopolis, a collection of structures that were build as the center of the Roman town in the 1st century. I went to the Stadium Of Philippopolis, which was built a bit later and could house up to 30,000 people at the time. Now it was mostly underground. I went to the Friday Mosque, which was built in the 15th century, about the same time as the mosques of Edirne that I had liked so much.

In the late afternoon I went up the Nebet Hill with my camera, a bottle of vodka, some bread, and a jar of tahin pekmez that I had carried here from Turkey.

and what I did then

Then I drank my way through the old town, until at some point I was drinking with Raya, the owner of Raya’s Bar, and I was telling two German guys whom I had just met that I thought Climate Change was a great thing because it meant that we would get a beach in Bad Nenndorf.

They didn’t think it was funny.


Soviet-looking mural in downtown Plovdiv:

soviet-looking mural in downtown Plovdiv

Japanese statue in a park:

Japanese statue in a park in Plovdiv

Forum Of Philippopolis:

Forum Of Philippopolis

Soviet-looking Central Post Office:

soviet-looking central post office of Plovdiv

Facades of Old Plovdiv:

facades of Old Plovdiv

Mural in Old Plovdiv:

mural in Old Plovdiv

Bar Street:

Bar Street in Plovdiv

Steps and seats of the Stadium Of Philippopolis:

steps and seats of the Stadium Of Philippopolis

Stadium Of Philippopolis:

Stadium Of Philippopolis

Stadium Of Philippopolis with the Friday Mosque in the background:

Stadium Of Philippopolis with the Friday Mosque in the background

Entering the Friday Mosque:

Inside the Friday Mosque of Plovdiv

Inside the Friday Mosque:

Inside the Friday Mosque of Plovdiv

Sunset on Nebet Hill:

Sunset on Nebet Hill

I dropped my bread on the ground and a Greek tourist said: “you’re not going to eat that, are you?” And guess what I did:

bread with Tahin Pekmez on Nebet Hill

Flirt Vodka in Plovdiv:

Flirt Vodka in Plovdiv

Serious drinking with Raya in Raya’s Bar:

Serious drinking with Raya in Raya's Bar

The Bar Street at night:

Plovdiv Bar Street at night


Love sign in Plovdiv Bar Street

Happy drinking with Raya in Raya’s Bar:

happy drinking with Raya in Raya's Bar

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