I have never considered visiting Bulgaria until I met Tsveta.
She told me much for Bulgaria and its history and culture as I knew nothing.
On our first visit to Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv (now European city of culture for 2019), on driving in, I saw what I had half expected to see which were old tower blocks like East Berlin a remnant of the time Bulgaria spent under communism but when arrived at the city centre my eyes opened.
Plovdiv was once Roman Trimontium and before that Philippopolis, and the evidence of Roman times is everywhere. Amphitheatre still used for plays, Roman Stadium , Mosaics, walls, Odeon and forum are everywhere and well maintained. Coffee shops and restaurants adorn the city streets and the City centre park and trees provide a cool respite from the summer sunshine – gorgeous. The old town with its ancient shops and buildings and cobbled streets is very picturesque. Turns out Plovdiv is the oldest town in Europe with evidence of occupation going back 6000 years – who knew
The food is amazing and not expensive even in the top restaurants. I would highly recommend their fast food chain “Happy”. Blows anything I have seen in UK and USA and rest of Europe away.
Tsveta spoke much about her home village of Sopot in the heart of the Balkan mountains, a region known as the Valley of Roses or Bulgarian Rose Valley. Here they grow the queen of roses known as Rosa Damascena. The petals are steam distilled to extract the Rose oil. The climatic and soil and location of this valley in the Balkan mountains is the main source of all Rose Oil used in cosmetics and perfumery. 85% of all Rose Oil is from here and widely recognised as the finest quality of all.
Sopot was the birth place of one of Bulgaria’s most famous writers, Ivan Vasov and his home is a museum. In the village It is also a world centre of Paragliding from the peaks of the Stara Planina or Old Mountain. A chair lift takes the para gliders and also walkers high into the mountains.
And all around are the rose fields!