Thursday 20 August: Bulgaria's cultured second city, Plovdiv, with ancient Thracian and Roman remains as well as Revival-period architecture, house museums and great art galleries in cobbled old hilltop town.
Roman amphitheatre, now a city icon, is remarkable as it was only rediscovered after a freak landslip in 1972. The municipal Cıty Art Gallery shows the typical broad confident Autumnal brushstrokes of a master, Vladimir Dimitrov. Not one of his . . . 'The Mad Woman' reminded me of an ex-gırlfriend. Philipopolis, opposite, encourages photography and both the furnishings and temporary exhibits reflect the quality of the paintings. Vladimir Dimitrov's works prevail but, amongst others, Dimitar Kazakov's Figure Composition and Mihail Lyutov's Railway Station have traveller appeal. Below, the contemporary gallery has modern depictions of old religious themes and the outdoor Red Pony Gallery, up the hill, also sells artworks.
Spotted a cellar own-brew bar from the street wıth real lager but it lacked atmosphere, Naylona bar packed with atmosphere but lacked decent beer. Plovdiv Guesthouse in the heart of the old town, just 18 lv (9 euro) for B&B. Click Plovdiv for photograph art show. Train northeast to Veliko Tarnavo.