Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Back from Bulgaria

What could be better - coming to live in London as a lowly working traveller, and finding a job where they pay you to travel and put you up in a five star hotel. I'm living the working traveller dream! I just got back from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which although wasn't my first choice travel destination, definitely has given me five days which I will never forget! (and completely charged to the company I work for.....I get a little twinge of glee every time I think about it :)

I arrived in Bulgaria on Thursday - a little disgruntled at the appearance of Sofia, the biggest town in Bulgaria. Although snow-capped mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the town, at first glance everything looks, well, shabby. We got on a bus where I promptly fell asleep and missed all the scenery on the way to Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria (apparently a couple of million people) and my home for the next four days. We were put up at the Novotel in Plovdiv - five stars, and absolute bliss (so not really a backpackers experience I suppose!). We were sharing a floor with the Cypriot David Cup tennis team - and the cute guy with the hair who played in the Australian Open final this year against Federer. Check out some of the photos of the hotel - it was so nice! (I should be focusing on the town here, but I still can't get over how nice this hotel was...)
Anyways, we were there to work (unfortunately) at a student recruitment fair, but I still got to see a lot of the city. Although most of the city is quite desolate, crowded and poor, the middle of the city is really nice and there is an Old Town which is apparently about six and a half thousand years old with an old Roman ampitheatre and ancient ruins. The weather was beautiful and warm for most of the time, which was a nice change from London's grey skies. I'm no great travel writer - so i found this article about Sofia and Plovdiv from a writer who will say it all better than me!: "How I lost my heart to Sofia"

I wish i had longer to explore the hidden, secret passages around town but we really only had time to graze the surface. We had a few great nights out with some crazy Bulgarian dancers and at a tourist restaurant where they supply you with free packets of cigarettes all night (?), and I had a blast meeting people from all over the world who were also at the education fair. It was really my first Eastern European experience and I really would like to explore more of that part of the world (although, I don't think I'll be able to do it in five-star style again - damn!)I also realised when I was away, that for the first time I was referring to London as 'home'. Not to say I've forgotten my Aussie roots, but it's nice when you start to feel like you actually belong somewhere again rather than in some kind of weird traveller limbo.

Stay tuned for Plovdiv photos....

Oh, and if you ever come across it, stay away from Bulgarian wine at ALL costs!

Pru xxxx

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