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June 24th 2009
Published: August 7th 2009
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Plovdiv and Overnight train day 18-19 (June 24 -25)

We took a bus trip to Plovdiv through some amazing mountain ranges. We stayed in a hostel in the heart of the old town area of Plovdiv and a short walk down to the main street. Plovdiv has many Roman ruins including an amphitheatre that is being excavated right under the main streets. The Romans were here but also the Thracians (who I don’t know much about). A short walk up the hill from our accommodation and you find yourself suddenly on the top of the hill with a great outlook. The Thracian ruins were here looking older than the Roman ones.

It was sad to be leaving the good food of Bulgaria so we made the most of it for lunch. I also made the most of the laundry facilities at the hostel we were staying in, even though this took 3 hours but it kept me out of another storm as well as filling in time before our evening train.

Our overnight train to Istanbul left at 9:30pm. We knew that we had a border crossing at 1:30am so decided to stay, I watched some TV on the ipod. When we arrived at the Turkish side of the border Australians (but not New Zealanders) needed to buy a visa. Having bought the visa, you then went to passport control. We are lucky to have a leader as no explanation of this was made so many on the train stood in the wrong queue only to be told to go buy the visa.

The whole thing took until 4am before we finally left. I was in the top bunk of a triple which was a new experience too. The beds were comfortable enough, but we must have been right over the shock absorbers as we bounced our way through the night, not getting a whole lot of sleep.

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