Cover photo: george_photographer88
There are so many different ways of traveling as there are places to visit. Maybe you are among the people who like to stay in a certain class of hotels and walk alongside a large group, rushing in order not to lose sight of the high flag of your guide, but if you don't like the thought of being an obvious tourist, this text is for you.
Of course, wherever you are for a few days, you can hardly mix up with the locals to forget that you are a tourist, but there are some very basic reasons to try to do it and get the feeling that you have blended in with the setting and found the right place.
Photo credit: lana_sdnk
The purpose of the only digital guide under the hills is to try to offer tourists in the future European Capital of Culture 2019 an alternative to a large number of purely tourist routes and facilities and to make them see the city through the eyes of its inhabitants. Many travelers nowadays rely on slow tourism, preferring to stay in apartments/guest houses, mingle with the inhabitants of the city, get to know the culture and customs of the country they visit, and to get lost in the streets in order to find those hidden jewels that no ordinary tourist guide will give you. And here's a small part of why our team thinks you should try to travel just like that - with no expectations and an open mind:
You save money - instead of staying in a large, sterile and expensive hotel, choose one of the many alternatives in the websites for rooms/private apartments, and why not try couchsurfing. In most places, the hosts are courteous, trained with useful first-hand information for all the restaurants and places the locals prefer, as well as direct recommendations for well-traveled routes.
Photo credit: lana_sdnk
It's much more fun - only when you mix with the locals, you can watch their habits. Sometimes, escaping for a moment from the central neighborhoods and plunging into the hectic daily routine of the working people, hurrying lest they miss the bus, the students who are panting and caught up in games with their peers in the nearby park, is much more memorable than the endless walking in search of another landmark, walking on the confusing route of the mobile app.
Photo credit: szopskasalata
It is easier to make friends and create new friendships - although it is always interesting to explore the city with a map, to look like a tourist and to stick to the popular attractions, it can make it hard to find new acquaintances and people, with whom you can share the emotion of a good beer, for example. However, if you go to a bar mostly visited by local people, they can start talking to you because they are curious. "How did you find out about the place? Have you tried local alcoholic beverages?" You will certainly get a great deal of advice for the next few days, and you can even start a good friendship. Only in this way will you get a sense of the people around you as personalities and you will find out how they have fun.
Photo credit: lana_sdnk
You avoid purely tourist spots and discover hidden secret nooks, which can often turn out to be more intriguing. A typical example of Plovdiv is the obligatory climbing of NebetTepe, which, however, is no more impressive than the view from above, which is revealed by Bunardzhika or SahatTepe, for example. In Lost in Plovdiv, you can always rely on that you'll also find some of the alternative routes and places of entertainment.
Photo credit: wilicharakchiewa
You learn about some of the local traditions and customs, and even popular phrases - such as what is the aylyak (the pleasant state of doing nothing), why all local people call each other maina, and they will certainly serve you with a great smile if even with an accent you greet them with zdrasti or dobar den in the café or the store.
You try the country-specific cuisine - do not just stick to the things you love, but let yourself be recommended something you can only try here. Typical Bulgarian dishes are a mixture of different flavors and aromas and we are convinced that when it comes to culinary there is something to surprise you.
Photo credit: liseyrae
You support the local economy - when you travel as a local, lodge in local guesthouses and eat at local restaurants, it is a step in support of the country's economy. Thus, tourism is becoming socially responsible and sustainable and is another reason to support the efforts of the people working in this field.
Feeling the city like a local is the only way to turn your eyes to the truly significant things around you, to discover history through your own worldview and to appreciate the hidden treasures of the place you visit. Each destination has its own specifics and they are often hidden for those who simply cross the city, and when you get a sense of them, you guarantee those remarkable memories that will make you want to come back again.