After our brief but busy visit we were transferring to Plovdiv today which in turn meant a reasonably early taxis from the hotel. The language barrier with the driver was overcome with some miming and his impression of a train 'puff puff - yes?' to confirm the location. With tickets in hand we loitered on the platform waiting for the train. Disregarding health and safety there was no bridge or underpass to get to the other platforms so we swarmed across the tracks with everyone else when the announcement came that train 31 was due to arrive on platform 2. For some the train ride was not without a hitch. When the ticket collector came around there were many heated words and hand waving from a couple of passengers. When she turned to us we were a little worried but she seemed unconcerned when we mentioned our final destination. After a while we pulled into a station and stopped for half an hour without any apparent reason for the delay. Then the ticket collector reappeared, said some sharp words in Bulgarian and the unhappy passengers lept off the train and across the tracks to another carriage. Unsure quite what was happening but reasonably sure we were in the right place we sat tight and tracked our progress on the map.

The rest of the journey was uneventful and we arrived in Plovdiv only a little delayed compared to how long we had stopped earlier. Our hotel was on the other side of the city and with no hope of walking to it we jumped in a waiting taxi and were pleased that he recognised the name of the hotel and sped off into the traffic. Plovdiv itself is the second city in Bulgaria, and indeed would have probably been the capital except for the misfortune of not being included in the original boundary of modern Bulgaria, it was added a mere 7 years later. Even so it seems to be a cultural center and also boasts a lot of cafes and a relaxed air, earning it the nickname the Paris of the Balkans. Keen to discover this Parisian spirit we strolled into the center and found a bar but the waitress showed some un-Parisian like skills when she dropped some of our snacks but easily won us back with two free beers in compensation. Moving onto food for the evening we tried the 'be happy' restaurant which was trying to live up to its name with waitresses sporting very short skirts and erotic pictures everywhere. I think the food was quite good as well.