It wasn’t the last nail in the coffin but I’m confident it was one of the longest and toughest. Remember the warm Italian embrace I left behind to tend to my other big love? Well, two loves, actually. They conspired together to steal me away from an emerging one. Maybe they were jealous, or they suspected that they’d eventually be taken over completely. Shame, because I genuinely believe we could all live together in harmony. Whatever it was, I returned to Turin only to realize the embrace went colder. Not initially, but slowly and surely. I must have had done some other shit men are oblivious about and women can’t forgive. However, a coffin has a limited space for nails.
Unknown to me at the time, I was sitting comfy and probably with a wide grin on my face or just spacing out in our Enterprise. At this point I have acknowledge the manifestation of a “perfect” host, which, I suppose, is every traveler’s ideal. We do tend to meet them occasionally – depending on how well the Gods of traversing space and time are pleased with your sacrifices. Anyway, what would then be a first class, premium, alpha and the omega host(s)? I’m sure everyone has it’s own version but this here is an attempt at a general description. First of all they’re super nice and all-around great people in like, a such a genuine way that you are softly forced into a reevaluation of your own “goodness” – without making you uncomfortable. I’d actually stop right here myself but wait, there is sooo much more. Secondly, you have things in common and you’re able to talk to them until eternity if so desired. Thirdly, they cook for you. And I don’t mean just something – they Cook for you. It’s delicious and traditional and you’ll have great fun while eating. And if they don’t cook for you, they tell you where to get the good food if you wanna make a meal for yourself. And if you don’t , they’ll point out the good restaurants. Fourthly, they offer you up a whole house. And when you can’t get to the house because The Captain is too busy messing about with some Nordic goddess which he met at that wonderful party your hosts invited you to, they stretch out their couch.
I know, it’s been perfect a while ago but hey, there’s more. They take you to see places in the city as well as some of the major monuments. And when all is said and done and tried and debated and tasted and and and – they tell you about this next great place you should visit.
And after all this amazing blessings from the Gods of traversing space and time (personally I’m not including the rain – the Gods of traversing space and time know better) we found ourselves on our way to Plovdiv. I only had a vague idea of why we were going there but our perfect hosts recommended it. I believe the words “fascinating old city center” were used. Good enough for me. Before that, a full day was spent in Burgas, the second largest seaside city in Bulgaria. The options were a skatepark, cruising the city or cruising the bike paths on the beach.
We arrived to Povdiv at night, in the rain and a confused GPS. We had to take the old fashioned route – asking some people who just walked out of the dark alley with grim faces. Haha, just kidding, locals. We asked them where the Gramophone hostel was and though it wasn’t far away it was either too complicated to explain or the guy went in that direction anyway – he decided to walk us to the place. It had a bar in the first floor which I think should always be checked if humanly possible but I didn’t because I’m lame. So there.
The rooms were decent with a surprise balcony in the bathroom. A balcony in the bathroom? How…how…hm, well now, I’m pretty sure it is for this kind of situations this particular word was invented – how queer! But in a way fun as you can have a top view on the street while brushing your teeth. Makes it easier to scout for potential coffee/breakfast locations.
It really wasn’t fair to the city itself that we only stayed for two days. Especially because we were blessed with that elusive planet – the Sun. The Gods must have been pleased with us as things were running quite smoothly. Except for the towel I forgot at the hostel.
It wasn’t fair to this city that we only stayed for two nights as it’s such a lovely concentration of houses, parks, one way cobblestone streets winding up the hill where we were lucky to find a bed as there was something happening that should have filled everything to the brim but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. A concert of somebody important… Slash? Someone from Dire straits? Anywho, we got the beds in a hostel in the old, genuinely magical part of Plovdiv (can’t you just feel the Divine Intervention acting here :P) Riding was of course out of the question in this part so me and the Maestro decided to scout around for potentials, while the Captain decided to lay back at the hostel and do the laundry. Which, apparently, gave him plenty of time to explore the immediate hostel surroundings of foot. Which is, excluding a bike that only the Maestro possessed, pretty much the best way to explore the city as, the pavement is, well, unpredictable, at best. Smooth asphalt streets intermingle with rough tarmac and cobblestone, making a skate ride frustrating. Lucky for me, we found a brand new bike path which took us directly to the monument which the BMX maestro wanted to check out.
Whatever you wanna say about the communist regime, this people really knew how to build impressive monuments. Which the Maestro couldn’t ride as he got a flat tire. As I was scratching my head thinking what to do, he already thought of a tire mechanic he thought he saw on the way. He did and as he was busy with that, I was entertained by a drunken old lady who made her dwelling out what I think it used to be a kiosk or a guard post or something like that. I heard the music coming from somewhere and when I looked behind, there she was, dancing to some Bulgarian tune blasting from a small portable radio like there was no one watching. Ah, the joys of life! The tire was fixed but our enthusiasm kinda veined, so back to the base it was, having a good look at the city.
After we returned to the hostel, the Captain and I decided to head out for some grub. My mind was fixed on something quick and sweet – pancakes. He wanted a proper meal so we wandered around purposely to find a location which would satisfy both our tastes. The search took us into a more arty, hip quarter called Kapana. The former bazar is now an area where the old streets meet with fresh bars, clubs, galleries, craft studios, graffiti and whatnot. What it didn’t seem to have was pancakes but I was so hungry I just wanted food. Which took ages to arrive. I don’t know what was going on but we waited for over 40 min for a simple rice dish. The fuck? If I could go back, my money would be on the smiling, happy looking sandwich makers across the street. In the, what felt like an eternity we spent there, they could’ve probably made sandwiches for all of us for the next couple of days. Ah well, you live you learn.
And so it was, that our time in Plovdiv came to an end. The clothes were clean and dry, the itinerary for the coming day set. The Gods seemed pleased as we packed it all up in the spaceship in the morning and set sail to the final part of the Funky Balkan expedition.