Ruth: Plovdiv won the competition for the European Capital of Culture for 2019 and as a result much activity is in process fixing sidewalks and making last minute repairs to the centre of town.  Like Istanbul or Rome the layers of history are deep here. Plovdiv even brags that it is older than Rome, with continuous settlement reaching back 8,000 years. 

It always warms my heart to see people working on sidewalks. Bulgaria wins my nomination as the country with the worst sidewalks in the world. It rivals all the developing countries we have visited. A sprained ankle must by an annual event for most Bulgarians. 
We are spending our days off of our bikes exploring the old town and it’s beautifully restored house museums. Today we visited a 19th century Armenian trader’s house that had its own hamman (Turkish bath)!! When not exploring, napping or eating, we are playing our new favourite game: trying to get a smile or kind word out of our hotel owners. It is a challenging game but I did manage to win a brief, “Have a nice afternoon,” from our world weary hostess. 

Layers of history: a Roman stadium and an Ottoman mosque

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