Saturday, 5 April 2014

Meeting Friends In Popovo

In The Square Of Popovo
Today we had planned on meeting up with friends in Popovo, having a wander round the shops and maybe a coffee or two. We had been looking forward to this ever since we recovered from whatever lurgie it was that we had. The weather had been nice and sunny for the previous few days and the temperatures have been above average. So what did we see when we woke up this morning? Grey skies, and neither one of us can remember ordering inclement weather for today. A quick check on the internet at a couple of weather forecasting sites, and although the grey skies were not due to change, at least there was no rain being forecast.

Now to get to Popovo from our village we have to go a different direction from the one that we would normally take to go into Gorna. The route that we were on involved a stretch of road that I have come to refer to as bomb alley. It looks like Beirut on a quiet day, and they are not really pot holes any more, they have now become shell craters. They were like it over 6 years ago when we first came out to Bulgaria and they have got progressively worse. Soon these craters will merge together and it might even feel a bit smoother. We know what we are going to be facing on that stretch of road, and there is now no way that you can miss any of the craters, so now it is a case of picking a line which you think is going to be the best of a bad lot. Once we had exited bomb alley our troubles were not over, as the road leading down into Lozen is getting almost as bad. We didn't actually hit decent road until we got onto the Byala-Popovo main road.

Spring Is Here Too
One thing that we did notice en route to Popovo was that the castle ruins just outside of Kovachets is now open for visitors. So that is going to be on our things to do list for the summer. As we drove past we did slow down a little and it seems like they have made a good job of it all. Today, however, our destination was Popovo. Now on the main road into the town there is now an overhead gantry, and situated on this gantry are two cameras facing either direction. It is the second such gantry that I have spotted in as many days, now I don't know the purpose of these cameras, they could be purely for monitoring traffic, or the weather conditions. Or they could have another purpose entirely, but at the moment there is no paint on the ne road surface. Anyway we made it into Popovo, possibly slightly shaken due to the varying road conditions, and headed for our friend's apartment. Being a smart arse I took an alternate route, which fortunately worked out otherwise I might never have lived it down, but sure enough our friend was waiting outside to make sure we got the correct apartment block. All through the drive there it was nice to see that all of the trees are suddenly bursting into leaf and blossom, and the Storks are huddled on their nests of sticks.

Popovo's Very Own Ninja
After greeting everyone we went up to the apartment, where not only did we have coffee, but we also had lunch. I had never tried dock leaf soup before, but it is surprisingly tasty, especially when you add a little splash of lemon juice. They had also gone to the trouble of making a typical Bulgarian Mousaka, and I can safely say that it is the best one that I have eaten since we have been here. There was also fried yellow and white cheeses, stuffed peppers, salads and small mushrooms. If I had known that we would be eating like that I would have worn my expando trousers. It all looked so good but try as we might we couldn't do it justice. Despite the apartment being comfortable it was actually quite a relief when it was suggested going for a walk round town. The grey skies hadn't really improved, but at least it looked as though the forecasters had got the no rain bit correct, although every so often a breeze was blowing. It is often nice to have guides in the know who can show you some of the best places to go. They even know where to run the shop assistants down to ground should you find a particular shop closed up while coffee is being drunk.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You The Bride And Groom
There were others out and about, although I don't really think that they were that interested in shopping. Quite possibly they had something else on their mind. Still if ever they get to see this blog here is another snap which won't appear in the official wedding album. I am pleased to report that as far as I am aware neither the bride, nor groom, shinned up the lamp post for that special photo. At least it didn't rain for them.

When we first ever went to Popovo there were no pedestrian only areas like there are now. Even though it seemed to take forever to complete, they have made a good job of it all. Once the weather really starts to warm up the cafes will have more tables and chairs outside, than they do inside. Today there were a few hardy souls sat outside, but it was mainly various Finches who were enjoying the outdoors life.

New Pedestrian Areas
Old Buildings
There are some impressive facades on some of the older buildings, sadly they don't seemed to have fared very well ove time. Some of them really do look quite forlorn and uncared for. Sadly unless anything is done a lot of these buildings will be lost forever, and who knows what tales they could tell, or secrets that they have witnessed? Sometimes I do wonder if people really do care about their heritage, and all too often it seems to be a case of too little too late. Hopefully that is only my impression and much gets done behind the scenes.

The Vegetable Market
The Moo Soup Machine
Another change that we noticed is the local produce market, at one time they used to be ricketty stalls in a vague attempt at a straight line, piled with fruit and vegetables. Now there is a covered market area for some of these same ricketty stalls to huddle beneath. It might be different when the sun is shining but to me it did seem a bit dull and dingy underneath there. On a bright piece of news for the first time I have actually spotted one of these automatic milk machines. I have heard of them previously, but up until now I had yet to see one. Even though it can now be crossed off of my I-Spy odd things list, it wasn't working so maybe I can only claim half a point.

There Are Some Odd People About
Unfortunately time was getting on and we still had to visit our friend's Grandmother's house, and then drive home. As luck would have it there was still time for that all important coffee. We can safely say that over the last couple of days we have had some wonderful times, in the company of some very nice people. I'll not embarass people by mentioning names, but you know who you are, so once again we thank you all.




3 comments:

  1. We enjoy visiting Popovo and enjoy seeing the improvements that are being made to the area.

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    Replies
    1. It does have a nice relaxed feel to the place doesn't it Liz?

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