Plovdiv | #EuropeAtHome
Text: Teodor Karakolev
Photos: Georgi Matov
Life under quarantine is like a hot summer’s day. Or a heavy raining one. It is difficult to judge in Plovdiv. The quarantine for sure makes us feel strange, weird, as in a movie or computer game script.
Plovdiv is a rather strange city. Probably each city is strange, yet Plovdiv is definitely such. When it's summer, it can sometimes easily reach 40 degrees and then you can not see a living soul. The streets are quietened, the sidewalks and the large number of pedestrian zones are emptied. The same when it is raining. In Plovdiv we like it moderately warm and the sun to shine. Then you can find us everywhere. On the streets, and the squares, in the parks, and in the gardens.
Well, since the state of emergency every day is either heavy rain or too hot. We stay at home unless we have some work to do. I guess, like everywhere in the world. True, the world has already been globalized, but in some weird way in recent weeks, we have become as close to the people in Spain, Israel or New York as we are to our neighbor two corners away.
The weirdest, of course, are the sunny days. When the weather is a marvel the spring is blossoming yet the city is a ghost-one.
And if we think back a year this comparison is even more absurd. Our city was the European Capital of Culture and we struggled to decide to which of the many events we should choose to go that same night. We were seeing friends all the time, we couldn’t even find time for everyone. More than this - we were welcoming dozens of guests from other cities and other countries. They were coming, they were joyous, they even envied us a bid – for the river, and for the hills, and for the longest pedestrian street and the widest squares. Countless gardens and benches to sit on and share a beer, hiding from the guards, for even before the quarantine it was illegal to drink beer in the park, now it's illegal too, but back then it was somehow allowing the possibility on the side.
Well, now might be the right moment to really appreciate all that. We in Plovdiv will appreciate the pedestrian zones, the parks, the hills, the blossoming trees and green meadows. Others in their cities will appreciate other simple everyday marvels. The local cafe or bakery. The neighbour. Our relatives. Our friends.
Because the pandemic will be over. Then a crises will probably hit us. But our hope is that at least we, as humans, will come out better people.