There was one main reason I came to Plovdiv, and that was because I was told to. I was told by an old friend of mine to visit his hometown and even better was that he would be there at the same time as my visit.
After travelling from Sofia I found my hostel, checked in and promptly laid down in my bed. A couple of hours later I got a message from my friend notifying me that he was available if I wanted to meet up and of course I was not going to pass up that chance. I got showered and we met outside my hostel.
I’ve had walking tours before but never like his, he took me around the old town and pointed out particular monuments, instead of giving the standard history lecture he told me personal stories about these places and so this made the city ultimately more interesting for me. We wandered through the old town and back into the main square and it was just off here that we sat down for some traditional food in a small tavern. I described to him the food I had tried in Sofia and to his disgust, this was all vegetarian. Thus, he ensured I tried some real delicacies. The first real course, excluding the salad starter, was a dish I had been looking forward to; Pig’s Ears. They were an immediate hit with me; they were chewy, fatty, sometimes crunchy, little treats. I described them as pork crackling gone wrong. The second course wasn’t as enjoyable, they seemed like an awful cross between calamari and chicken wings; the fishy taste and texture of calamari but the bony awkwardness of wings. Overall, I wouldn’t say I was a massive fan of Frog’s Legs. The third course was a surprise for me. I wasn’t allowed to know what it was until I tried one, I took the plunge and bit into one. It tasted like unknown grilled meat, almost as if a sausage had been left on a BBQ too long. There was no distinctive flavour to it so I took another to guess the product. As it turns out, it was a dish known as Parson’s Nose; the rear end of a chicken. Even after finding out the origin of this, I wasn’t turned away and I continued to munch through. A good few hours later, and a lot of catching up, we called it a night and I headed back to my hostel.
The next morning I participated in a second walking tour of Plovdiv, this time it was the standard style fare. They took us around all the same places as I’d been before but this time I got to hear about the actual history of the monuments which were nowhere near as good as the previous stories I’d been told. The tour took us through the New Town, up to the remains of the old stadium and into the old town. We finished the tour at the amphitheatre and I headed back into the centre to get some grub before wandering back to the hostel.
As the Monday rolled by I decided to take a leisurely walk around Plovdiv, exploring a little of the city for myself. Somehow I ended up in the residential side where there are no touristic sights but just houses and local markets. I was able to find myself again and strolled through the old marketplace which is now an art district. As the day went on, I got more and more listless and ended up retiring around 5pm. I then took time to make a few phone calls back home; I hung out with others in the hostel and even climbed up to the roof of the hostel just in time to catch the sunset.
Hikers Hostel is where I called home during my time in Plovdiv. It’s the highest recommended hostel online and it’s planted right in the middle of the old town. The staff is incredibly friendly and always willing to offer whatever help they can. The facilities are reasonable and there is a good atmosphere with the other residents. If I came back to Plovdiv, I would definitely stay here again.