Vitosha

Bulgaria
16th of May, 2010

Sofia is not only a short ride from great mountains such as Pirin, Rila and Stara Planina. It also has a mountain right at the edge of the city that reaches 2290 metres - Vitosha. Perhaps the vincinity to the city had made me doubt the attractiveness of this mountain, but after this day-hike I definately want to come back for more!


 

 

We started at the Boyana church (UNESCO) just a couple of minutes walk from the trail head. The path started in very nice beech forest. Our first stop was the Boyana lake, which looked like if we were back in Sweden :)

 
 

Next, we visited the very impressive Boyana waterfall.

We continued to the Momina Skala restaurant, where we bought coffee and a map. Some very fun and helpful people (both staff and visitors) helped us deciding where we should walk next. We deciede for the Ushite shelter.

Continuing along the yellow trail we passed several old "hizhas" (huts for hikers). Most of them felt deserted. This must have been a very lively place full of hikers back in the old days, and it was quite a sad sight to see all these nice huts fall into decay.

 
 

After the forest we reached alpine meadows and from this rocky place we had a bird's eye view of Sofia city. It became very windy, at least 20 m/s. Here we met Park, a Korean guy who biked up here. We exchanged emails and parted.

 
 

 

 
 

The meadows up here sometimes reminded me a bit about the Swedish mountains, with dwarf birch trees, lingonberry plants and rounded peaks with patches of snow.

 
 

Just before the rain started I got this photo towards the Cherni Vrah (2290 m) peak in the clouds. Quite amazing that it only takes a few hours to walk from Sofia, a city of a million inhabitants, to a place like this. I must say that I'm quite jeallous about that... :)

 
 

The wind became so strong it was even hard to stand. It also started to hail.
We walked to the Aleko hut and hitch-hiked back down to Sofia.