As I mentioned previously, Mark’s mom is here on a visit. I know…an American HERE to visit US. Shocking. Who woulda thought it?

So, she arrived on Saturday night and we picked her up at the airport. We were trying to show our hospitality by not just making her find her own way to our flat. Because, you know, we’re good like that. We made it to the flat and heard all about her trip to France. The whole time I am thinking….hmmm…I wonder how Bulgaria will compare to France? A whole week of her eating yummy cheeses and indulging on other local specialties (*wink *wink) ought to really make her enjoy the TWO (yes, only two) kinds of cheese here and copious quantities of cucumbers. But…she seemed up for the adventure.

On Sunday, we set out for our first adventure. We caught the bus to Plovdiv. The last time I was in Plovdiv, it was cold and dreary. Still we liked it, so we knew we would like it this time as well. We saw giant fields of sunflowers on our way:


When we got there, we had to go to the bathroom. Badly. Badly enough to pay money to use this:


Go ahead, see if you can figure out how to use this. Let’s just say your legs will be stronger than ever! These are more common over here than you realize, but I tend to avoid them if at all possible. In this case, it was just not possible.

Then, we took a taxi to the Ploshtad Tsentralna (Center Square) and walked for a bit. Mark and I mistakenly thought we remembered the place. We didn’t really. We walked up to this fortress/high point of prayer that was pretty much just a high place with a lot of graffiti and trash. On our way down we took a wrong turn (I mean really, people, does this surprise you, given our past???) and ended up back where we started. So we figured this would be a good time to eat lunch and orient ourselves using our maps.

By the way, should you ever come to Bulgaria, the best guide is the Lonely Planet one. The information is accurate and useful. I call it my bible. Just a tidbit should you ever hop on a plane to get here.

After lunch we found the real old city and saw all the sights. There were old houses built in the Bulgarian Revival Period style, and churches, and giant cobblestones, and…my favorite….the Roman Amphitheater that is still there and used for concerts nowadays. The last time we were here, we were unable to go into the Amphitheater, but this time we could and we took some fun pictures:


*Look closely at the sides of the gong…there are skulls there….


(Like mother, like son…or is it….like son, like mother???)

By now we had walked quite a bit in the stifling heat and decided it was time to get an ice cream. And ice cream we got. HUGE ice creams, which were delicious, and very filling. We walked down to a big fountain and sat and watched kids play and pigeons mate–I know, TMI–while we chomped away at the ice cream.

Time to head home. We went to the overcrowded bus station and bought tickets back to Sofia. There was confusion, though, because the sign that said Sofia was at Sector 3 and the lady specifically told us not to go to 3, to go to 2. Odd, no? Well, not once we realized that there were two buses to Sofia. One big, air-conditioned bus and one smaller, not so cool bus. Guess which one was ours?? Yup, the “not so cool” one, and I mean that in every way possible. So we sweated our way all the way back to Sofia, came home and took some much needed showers. Really–you can not imagine how badly we all needed showers.

Instead of eating yet more food for dinner, we had snacks instead and played some friendly games. Well…Scrabble was fun, until I WON!!!! YES, I WON!!!!! I never win at the game. It’s like I have a mental block. I am sure Mark’s mom was playing easy and Mark was just having a bad day, but whatever…I WON!!! Here is the proof:


And yes, that scorecard is still hanging on our wall, for me to enjoy for the rest of my time here in BG. And for Mark. I am sure he is enjoying it immensely.

Tomorrow…Mother In Law Diaries Day 3/The Hottest Walk EVER…