BBC Travel piece on Plovdiv and the art of making space

I’ve had a new piece published on the BBC Travel website about the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, and the subtle art of aylyak (айляк), an untranslatable Bulgarian word that captures something of Plovdiv’s unique lifestyle. The word aylyak comes from the Turkish, and the best shot I can have at translating it is that it is the ‘art of making space.’ Here’s an extract.

Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv is proud of its reputation for doing things its own way. As soon as you step off the bus from the capital of Sofia, you can feel the change in pace of life. People walk more slowly. They seem to have more time on their hands. The traffic is less hectic. As you walk to the city centre through the park, where old men gather to play chess and people lounge and chat in the shade of the old trees, Plovdiv immediately feels different. There’s a kind of insouciance to Plovdiv, something that is both immediately apparent and hard to put your finger on.

Will Buckingham, “Europe’s City of Dawdlers and Loafers”

The full article is here, if you want to have a read.

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