Saturday, 9th June, Sofia

We set off relatively early for Sofia this morning and stop first in Kalofer. It is a small town of about 3,000–4,000 people with a outsized statue to Christo Botev who was born here. He was a nationalist poet and revolutionary killed in a skirmish with Ottoman troops at the tail end of the April Uprising in 1876. While we sit in the main square, looking up at the gigantic stone which, although it bears some resemblance to photos of the man, still gives a new meaning to the term ‘chiselled countenance’, a group of dancers and musicians appear and repeat their country dance a number of times before the camera team is satisfied. It is now close to perfection and will look both spontaneous and authentic.

Going back to the car, which had some minor problems, we pass a bus that insists it going to Salzburg, but in fact clearly serves a local route.

The next small settlement along the road is called Vasil Levski, a friend and fellow revolutionary of Botev’s, whom we last met as graffiti in Shipka.

Further along the same road we pass a number of half-moribund factories, many deserted houses and, on the outskirts of a small Roma settlement on the edges of a village, a monument to Second World War partisans. We are headed for Koprivshtitsa, one of the centres of the April Uprising.