hiking in Bulgaria’s National Parks

I love nature and I love Buglaria…

After hitch-hiking (with 3 former heroin addicts, a German-Greek dude with a nice new Mercedes and a couple of Bulgarian lumberjacks in a van from the 60s) from Greece to Bankso, Bulgaria I was ready for a new adventure.

Bankso is Bulgaria’s equivalent of Queenstown in NZ, speaking to my hotel’s owner (in which I think I was the only guest) I found out you pay about $80/week for a bed in high season (Tipic Hotel) and around $170/week for an all access lift ticket, idea for a European winter much! I left Bankso for a 3 day hike through Pirin National Park (which is fucken bullshit beautiful!). I joined 3 lovely Israeli’s for the last 2 days, slowed the hiking down and instead swam in every mountain lake we walked past and feasted on some picnics. Excellent!

After Pirin, I did a 3 day solo hike through Rila National Park in 2 days (walking super-fast-jellyfish the first day for 9hrs straight, honestly reckon I managed 30km in and just making it to the refuge by nightfall). Although mountain picnic’s and swims aren’t as enjoyable by yourself… The second day I had to run downhill for a hour to make a bus (the only one per day leaving my exit point) which ended in me losing my favourite shirt and singlet as they fell off my bag. Cunt! Really wasn’t prepared to walk 2hrs uphill to go find them at this point.

I think another week in the Parks would have been ideal but then I’ll end up entering the Ukraine in mid-late October, which will be way to ice for me (not just cold, ice!). I’m now in Sofia now for some shopping before I continue to Veliko Tarnovo’s old village followed by some end of summer beach time in Sozopol.

P.S Been drinking mountain spring water for 3 weeks now, really not looking forward to going back to tap and bottled shit.

 

Photos

1. Vihren Peak || 2. View from Vihren Peak || 3. Swimming at a mountain lake in Pirin || 4. Mountain attire || 5. Backflips in a mountain lake in Pirin || 6. Rila National Park

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