Blogs from Rila Mountains, Kyustendil Province, Bulgaria, Europe

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Bulgaria day 7: Mountains, lakes, thunder and lightning So today was to be our day on the narrow gauge railway but we thought about spending 10 hours (a return trip) on a train going through scenery we’ve already seen....and photographed...and changed our minds. Instead we went back to the Rila Lakes idea as Claire found somewhere nearer to get to them rather than the two hour drive it looked like before. Instead we drove for less than an hour, a lot of it uphill and arrived at a car park which cost us £2.50. A little further on we paid for another trip upwards as we were to take a ski lift. Nearly forgot....on the way Pokemon Go helped us to discover something that was not signposted anywhere or mentioned in either of our guidebooks. Half ... read more
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The original plan today was to go on a narrow gauge railway, but upon further investigation I realised it was a 10 hour round trip and much of it goes through scenery we have already driven through. Plan B was a half hour drive to Sapareva Banyans, where a bunch of women were blocking the road rollerskiing and making it look like hard work. From there we drove up to the Rila Mountains towards Seven Lakes, which are glacial lakes situated between 2,100 and 2,500 metres above sea level. Glyn had though that as we were hiking to lakes, that it would be flat, ha ha, he was wrong! On the way up, Glyn stopped so we could do a Pokémon raid in a woodland walk where naff fairytale character paintings were nailed to trees. They ... read more
roadside well.
Turkish woman in the forest, apparently .
the chair lift up to the hike start point


Mountains generally have a variety of routes up that are labelled for the competency of the climbers. In the Rila Mountains, Glyn and I needed the incompetent route but ended up on the complete and utter numpty path. There's no mountain rescue in the Rila Mountains that I could see. Not even a map or sign telling you how far it is to the top (yes I know we could google it but where's the fun in that?) The weather forecast for today in Borovets was sunny, so Glyn and I decided to take the gondola up to Yastrebets and then take a hike to Mount Musala. Nothing like the gondolas in Venice, these cable cars are for carting skiers and snowboarders up to ski slopes. At 12 lev each return (£6), it wasn't much to ... read more
Cable cars up to Yastrebets
the journey begins to Mount Musala.
Redundant ski lifts on the way to Mount Musala


Bulgaria Day 3: Thunder in the mountains, pyramids and monks The weather forecast said there would be nothing but thunderstorms from 10am right through the night. Quite a lot like being at home then and very like the weather we encounter on our holidays. Ce’st la vie and all that. We were going out in the car and had a bit of a drive so maybe the weather would be better.... Rila Monastery is not too far away as the crow flies but I’m not a crow and some numpty has stuck a mountain between us and our desination. I don’t know how long it took driving the long way round but it felt like forever. The roads aren’t too bad here but can be very bendy so it takes longer than you’d think to get ... read more
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As the crow flies, Rila Monastery is really close to us in Borovets. However, those who know me can verify that I'm no crow and so Glyn had to drive us around the mountains, taking around 1.5 hours to get there, but it seemed a lot longer. The sky was dark with storm clouds, but it was very warm. The last bit of road up the mountain was twisty as always, with a huge landslide covering half the road at one bend, that wasn't worrying to see, no not at all! I struggled to stay awake as did Glyn, but we got to the Monastery safely and soon woke up. There were a few tourist coaches, a car park attendant who charged us 5 levs and the obligatory stray dog. Rila Monastery is buried deep in ... read more
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Rila mountains.
Cat at Rila Monastery, Bulgaria


16 juillet Il fait nuit noire dans le dortoir du Hostel Mostel. J'attend que le cadran s'alarme ou que ma montre me bip mon reveil. Je somnole. Je ne dois surtout pas manquer mon lift gentiement offert par Wouter et Delphine, le couple belge rencontre a l'agence zig zag hier. 6h15AM. Je me leve et prend de l'avance sur mes alarmes. La journee s'annonce longue et pleine de surprises. Je me douche dans la "shared bathroom", agrippe mon packsack et ma Nikon, et quitte l'auberge qui tranquilement s'eveille. Les flamands sont au rendez-vous. Je prend place a l'arriere de leur chic voiture louee, colle sur la pyramide de packsack, et nous quittons pour le fameux monastere de Rila d'ou notre trek de 4 jours doit debuter. Je m'efforce pour garder conscience dans la voiture mais mon ... read more
Difficile descente
Les 7 lacs des montagnes de Rila
Depart d'Ivan Vazov

Europe » Bulgaria » Kyustendil Province » Rila Mountains January 8th 2012

Terwijl de Nederlandse winter storm en wateroverlast met zich meebracht, vertrokken Baukje, Marjolein en ik richting Bulgarije voor een weekje wandelen in de sneeuw en de zon! In Sofia stonden onze gidsen Kantjil (schrijf je dat zo?) en Vasko klaar met onze goedlachse buschauffeur! Met een stop bij een echte supermarkt onderweg, reden we binnen twee uur naar ons gastvrije pension ten noorden van het Rilagebergte. Hier verbleven we met 16 personen in sjieke tweepersoonskamers, die uitgebreid bij elkaar bewonderd werden. Vooral de kleuren van menig kamer/badkamer vielen erg in de smaak. De volgende dag stond in het teken van oefenen met de sneeuwschoenen en lekker genieten van de verse sneeuw die naar beneden kwam en alles om ons heen inclusief ons zelf mooi wit kleurde. Een mooi tochtje door het bos met nog een spannende ... read more
In onze sneeuwwandeloutfit
Oudejaarsavond in het pension
Dag 2

Europe » Bulgaria » Kyustendil Province » Rila Mountains August 6th 2007

I left you in suspense over a week ago and I am sure you have all been sitting by your computers waiting for an update... So after my adventure upon arrival in Sofia, I managed to buy some sun cream and fruit, which involved a lot of pointing and miming. In the evening I went for a meal with some people from the hostel, which also involved a lot of pointing and miming. When we went back to the hostel, the woman who was working there started talking to a couple of us, and we went out with her, which was good, because otherwise we probably would have stayed there all night watching films on the huge TV with everyone else! Next morning, I woke up early, which was unfortunate, considering that I went to bed ... read more
The first of many lakes...
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The day of the never ending hill...

Europe » Bulgaria » Kyustendil Province » Rila Mountains September 14th 2006

The Rila Mountains are awesome! Not in a rubbish jumping over a shoebox on skateboard way but in a truly awe inspiring this is nature and you are small and insignificant alongside it and you'd better learn some respect kind of way. Came out here Wednesday, a little later than the 9 O'clock start due to a crippling hangover. Had no time to really prepare no food, no Bulgarian currency etc.. Got a taxi to the Yug Bus Station and a bus to Samakov. Here I changed buses for the one to Maliovitsa and the start of the hiking. Maliovitsa is a good base for hiking from. The huge hotel is only 15 levs a night including breakfast and offers the last taste of comfort before the mountains ahead. Met a couple from Slovakia ... read more
first night hostel
vada mountain hut
clouds descend

Europe » Bulgaria » Kyustendil Province » Rila Mountains September 7th 2005

"Come to Bulgaria, your cars are already here" - Bulgarian joke tourist slogan aimed at Western Europeans (though probably with an ounce of truth in it...) "No this is real natural yoghurt, its not your western muck!" - G in response to Erika asking if the Bulgarian yoghurt had gelatin in it. We finally left Vratsa on Monday, 6 days after arriving! G accompanied us on a great cycle out of the city and over the hills into the Iskar gorge. The hills around Vratsa are really beautiful - very white limestone rocks which shimmer in the hot sun. The last few days in Vratsa were filled with partying again! We went with G’s family to a monastary restoration party and witnessed a very cool gypsy band and fantastic gypsy dancing with everyone shaking their ass ... read more
Aleksander Nevski Church
Top of the Balkans
Rila Monastery




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