Located south from Sofia, Bulgaria there is a mountain named Vitosha, one of the many symbols of the city and one of the most attractive places to practice winter sports. This piece of wonder is quite easy to reach and its highest peak is located 2290m above sea level.
The first and the only time I have visited Vitosha was two weeks ago, together with my wife and another couple of friends. We met in Mladost 4, we headed to the Ring Mall shopping, and from there we walked south to Симеоново *Simeonovo” where we would catch the lift that would get us to Алеко “Aleko”. Each round trip ticket would cost 10лв (Around 5€) and it would take us to our destination within 20 minutes. You have also the opportunity to exit at different stops to visit different places, however we went straight to the last stop.
As soon as we arrived, it was easy to understand that this place is quite popular as there were many cars and many people around, going up and down the mountain, drinking water from the fountains, taking photos, speaking in more than a single language and filling in their water bottles, just as we did, before going towards the trail that would lead us to the very top of the mountain.
It’s when you’re going up that you finally start feeling the magic of the mountain, and the best part is that although hiking it is a hard task, you feel like you cannot quit because every time you look back the view that you have over Sofia is more and more beautiful. Just like a friend of mine, who lives in the other side of Vitosha says, the mountain is magic, as if this mountain, this inanimate piece of Nature, could actually speak to those who get very close to it.
Even though the girls were getting tired, we kept going up until we reached an old hut, where there was nothing, but yet, it gave me some nice photos, just like the one below.
The girls decided to stay close to the hut, while me and my other mate moved towards the highest point that we could spot from where we were standing… Our phones suddenly lost network as soon as we went higher and now there was no way to get back in touch with the girls who were waiting for us, however, we kept going up to one of the highest places. It was quite inspiring to see a group of cyclists riding through the same trail we were hiking, which was clearly not such an easy job.
In the top, we could see and touch the old zipline which is no longer working, an emergency hut and a handful of grey rocks of every size and shape. We didn’t stay long as the girls were waiting for us, but, it was on the way down that things would start going wrong. For some reason we couldn’t reach the girls, the trail looked the same exact trail we had hiked on the way up, however it wasn’t, and after jumping hundreds of times over different rocks trying to come back, we decided to start hiking to the top once more to see where was it that we had failed on the way down.
We got back to the girls 2 hours later and we finally started going down the mountain, the four of us, all together and happy. I believe it was around 8p.m when we finally arrived to the lift in Aleko, just to find out it shut down and we were now stuck in Vitosha without a way to go back to Sofia. We tried hitchiking but we were not feeling lucky, so we had to call a taxi, which was taking very long to arrive, so we decided to walk down the main road back to Ring Mall… which would take us more than 3 hours walking. However, after 50 minutes, while we were going down Vitosha’s main road, our Taxi arrived. We were safe and sound now.
What we had just experienced was the magic of the mountain, dragging us, just so we wouldn’t let her sleep by herself. She wanted us to keep her company… and that’s why I want to go back.