“Plovdiv is to Bulgaria what Krakow is to Poland: It’s the historic capital and the most enjoyable city (even though the capital city — Sofia or Warsaw — is much bigger and more consequential). Plovdiv has ankle-breaker cobbles, a fun little foodie/hipster zone, and a great paseo vibe on its long pedestrian boulevard. Like cities are doing across Europe, it has artfully incorporated its archaeological sites into its modern, people-friendly layout. The layers are fun to ponder: Under the happy 2016 ambience is a stern Communist shell; an Ottoman-era mosque; and finally a racecourse where, 2,000 years ago, chariots careened around this corner. Whenever I’m here, I find myself wondering why most Americans don’t give Bulgaria a second thought. Sure, it’s got the alphabet and the religion and the Slavic blood of “Mother Russia.” But the dreams and the aspirations are facing West — a reason to encourage us to travel East.”
Rick Steves is visiting my back yard (Nesebar and the coast) sometime this week (if you don’t know who he is please stop reading this blog and get off the Internet ASAP). The chances are very slim but I will try to meet up with him sometime on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Just to be clear, he is the person…on the whole planet earth….out of all the people living today in the world that I want to meet the most of all time, PERIOD!! Wish me luck.