Sofia – Sevlievo, 15th-17th April
Sofia took a little getting to know but by the time we left – having explored the beautifully painted insides of several churches, found our way to the foothills of Mount Vitosha, spent hours enjoying the art gallery and discovered some great cheap cafes, bars and restaurants – we’d come to rather like it.
The next few days were wet, often windy and everything was generally covered in cloud, fog or mist. There were a few highlights – meeting Max for a night and good stories in Botevgrad 70km east of Sofia being the first – but I’m sad that I couldn’t enjoy Bulgaria’s central area in what should have been typical mild and dry weather.
From Botevgrad I took some quiet back roads through the hills, eventually giving up on the idea of riding any further when I got to Ribarica in what would have been a beautiful valley. Out of season a room for the night cost just 20LV (10 pounds) and I was glad of a bit of warmth to dry off and warm up. The next day started with a long slow climb and brilliant descent over the hills to Trojan, after which I settled into the flat plain ride all the way to Sevlievo. Wet again after a day riding in the rain and drizzle, I opted for a hotel again thinking to get a similarly cheap bed but ended up having to fork out 45LV – at least it included breakfast. Making a mental note to get some more couchsurfing opportunities lined up before I spent all of my budget in one week, I spent the night dining in on bread and salad to save a few pennies while giving my aching knees a good ice pack of garden peas as a treat.