Monday, October 18, 2010

Hike in the Vitoshas

Kristin planned an excursion for Sunday, and although Byeong-Hun and I slept in, we met up with Kristin and Elana at McDonalds to head over to the Vitosha mountains for some hiking. I have a view of this range from my balcony, and it only took about 20 minutes to get to the start of the hike. The weather was great; although it sprinkled a couple of times, this was more refreshing than anything else.
At the start of the hike, we were all energized. Byeong-Hun and I had done a decent amount of hiking in Korea, so we figured this should be no problem. Our goal was the Golden Bridges (Златни мостове), and we were told it would take about an hour and a half. Elana, Byeong-Hun and Kristin were wearing the primary colors, and quite adorable.

Elana and I wanted to practice our Bulgarian, so every once in a while, we would ask someone coming down the mountain how far it was to the Golden Bridges. It started out reasonable, the first person told us it was about 45 minutes. However, every 15 minutes we would ask someone else, and the time kept getting longer and longer. Half an hour later, and a guy told us we still had about an hour. Thirty minutes more, and we were told fifteen minutes. But then the next couple we asked said we still had forty minutes to go. We don't know if everyone was lying to us, or if we were the only ones that were hiking up. Apparently you can take a car to the top, and then hike down.
We continued to hike, getting slower and slower. It was pretty steep, but at least there weren't stairs. Byeong-Hun and I have climbed up a couple of mountains that rely on staircases. Not fun.
The scenery was gorgeous. At one point, we were going through what was maybe a cloud. Or just mist. Either way, it made for some great photos.
There weren't many people out on the trails, which was surprising, because it was a Sunday with great weather. Then again, I'm used to the craziness that is hiking in Korea, with thousands of grandfathers and grandmothers rushing the mountain. It was nice to get out of the city, and breathe some fresh air.
When we finally reached our destination, we looked all around for the Golden Bridge. I asked an elderly woman where they were, and she answered "Тук" (here).  They weren't actually made out of gold, but these mounds of rocks. Maybe a dried river bed.
After some pictures of the 'Golden Bridges' we had dinner. The hike maybe took around three hours. It was nice, but we realized we still had a good way till the top. There was no way we could continue that day; by the time we ate, it was already six. However, we found out they have mini-vans that make a trip from downtown Sofia to the Golden Bridges. It might be worth it just to come back to the restaurant. After our huge hike, we had mushroom soup, bean soup, bread, shopska salad, fried cheese, chicken breast, french fries with cheese, and some Bulgarian beer.
Bon appetit!

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