A Plovdiv Photo Day

Less writing, more showing in this post.

Carolin is from Germany. She works in Bulgaria temporarily and gets to travel on weekends. In high school, she was an exchange student in Minnesota. She has road-tripped through more of the United States than I probably ever will. Last night, when asked her favorite part, she told CA boy and I “Minnesota is the place to be.” We cracked up, but it was so sincere.

She had asked me if I wanted to go to the Bachovo Monastery 30km outside Plovdiv. Apparently it’s the second largest monastery in Bulgaria. We grabbed bus tickets, water and bananas and were on the road by 11a.m. The bus ride was full of great conversation. She taught me quirks of the syrillic alphabet. She told me her travel plans, about her boyfriend of two years and how she hasn’t seen him since February. “It will be nice when I see him next summer.”

No kidding.

The monastery was gorgeous. There was one room everyone entered to light candles, and candles were everywhere. Overhead, two massive beams of light, bright as movie projectors at the theater, came through the roof. The trip was worth it.

Monastery photo I wasn’t supposed to take #1…


Unreal (but real) grapes…


We saw an open gate and a trail, so we went on a hike…


Twenty minutes later, we were here…


Walked further down the path, found this beautiful little church…



Ate this crepe for lunch… It cost 3 lev…


We took the bus halfway back to Plovdiv, requesting a stop at Assen’s Fortress. We were dropped off in Assenovgrad, the town it’s located in. Pretty easy to find a fortress in a town, right? Wrong. No one knew the word “fortress” and “castle” didn’t do the trick. We ask everyone – this is the only thing this town is known for… Please.

We get directions, finally. It’s 2km away. Just in case we wanted to hike after our hike, which we do. And about one kilometer later, we find a sign for “Assen’s Fortress” pointing up hill. 2km away.

So up we go Coffee Road.


Except Coffee Road is going to kill me, being 2km of incline on very, very overused legs, pathetic as 5km max of walking happens to be. We flag down a car going uphill. The woman happens the speak Dutch, and Carolin chats the whole way up. The driver apologizes to me with “My English is not very good.” As though I know a single word of Dutch! All I know is suddenly a young man’s voice is coming through the speakers… The driver had called her son to tell him to take us out tonight. We got his number, though we never did end up meeting.

The fortress… Add it to the list of awesome things I’ve climbed this trip.






I had no idea Plovdiv would be as incredible as it is. Carolin and I went to the Night of Museums and Art tonight, with thousands of Bulgarians and people from all over the world. Essentially, every museum, gallery and church was open tonight to the public for free. Plovdiv is known as the cultural center of Bulgaria, and there were well over sixty places to be tonight. We probably saw a quarter of them before realizing just how exhausting the day had been.

Such a fantastic day.



2 thoughts on “A Plovdiv Photo Day

  1. Janae, just getting caught up on some blogs….sorry for the tardy comment. I love the pix of the monastery!! Too cool. Those sandals are really getting their use!! Maybe the premise of your book should be a story about $2 sandals that traveled the world.

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