GOING INTO HRISTO BOTEV, GETTING OUT OF VASIL LEVSKI

by Stamen Manolov

Last year in France I got off at Robespierre Station, a beautiful 19th Century building in the middle of Provence.

I walked down the road and ended up in the Georges Danton Square. Diagonally opposed to each other was the Louis XVI Palace and the Levebvre Winter Garden. The Charles Alexandre de Calonne Office Tower was not far away, next to the Jacques-Louis David Gallery. The Mignet River was slowly flowing by. I stayed in La Fayette for a day and had "Fireman's Apron" for dinner. On the following day I set out to Talleyrand.

Don't believe me?

This year I got off at Hristo Botev Station and after a short walk up the road ended up in Vasil Levski Village. The school there, I noted, was called Lyuben Karavelov, and the Village Culture Hall was aptly named Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov. To shake off the incredulity I had a shkembe, or tripe soup, skara, or grilled meat, and a salade à la mode du shoppe in an eatery that did proclaim "nous parlons français." OK, then I went out of Vasil Levski.

Where in Europe are you?

Tip: On the Hristo Botev Station itself there is a plaque with the following announcement: "Here, on 9 November 1943, a group of partisans from the Vasil Levski Brigade conducted a successful action, gained control of the station and the nearby cantons, and acquired weapons, clothes and sums of money."

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