Final destination. Istanbul. Gruelling overnight bus ride yesterday - border check, check, border check, recheck - visa, check. Recheck. Sweat bath walk to our hostel. Six hour nap, feeling refreshed, hand washing some laundry, terrace views across the Bosphorous to Asia...what more, honestly.
Koprivshtitsa was magnificent. Little town nestled in mountain valleys. Ancient homes...absolutely gorgeous at that. Thunder, lightning, welcoming downpour. Wet trees and drying stones.
Odyssey journey to Plovdiv. Woke at 5:30am to catch a 6:30 bus...that never came. Turns our Sunday it doesn't run, but our bulgarian was a little rusty. Backtrack to the train station, Train to Karlovo at 9;00 with a gaggle of incredibly friendly Bulgarians looking out for us at every turn and making sure we didn't get lost - all communication by hand gestures - some confusing moments until we remembered that the bulgarian yes, is a wobbling side to side head shake. Train from Karlovo without incident, except for some poor lady that just simply fell out of the train doors as the train got moving- but the train stopped so that they could scrape her off the pavement and lift her back on - no worries apparently.
Plovdiv and a stunning heat, then a downpour worthy of Noah himself with T and I huddling under an entirely insufficient awning as the wind whipped wave after wave of hot rain into the tiny sanctuary we shared with dozens of bulgarians. The shiver of too close lightning and the massive concussion of booming thunder. And then, when we finally gave up and decided it was time to walk home...well, we got home in the pouring rain, as wet rats, and the rain stopped dead. Still, a wonderful day and a meal both then and the next night like nothing before - and for literally nothing. Genius.
Possibly another little word from Istanbul after we get our energy back and do a little exploring.
Almost home now, just four days left before we fly for Frankfurt.