Tuesday: I’m really hot and dusty and dirty because we spent the day hiking Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria’s 3rd-highest peak, and it is hot. Parts of the hike were pleasantly cool and breezy or briefly shaded by pines, but mostly it was hot and we all got a lot of sun (and had a lot of sunscreen on, too).
The landscape is beautiful and you look out over the Balkans and across the valley Sofia sits in, pumping out her heat and dust. We met a very friendly hill-walker, of about 60 years of age, who used to be a guide, and he pretty much led us up the paths and told us a lot of what we were looking at (in Bulgarian). He was friendly and liked our company, and it was fun to hear what he had to say. At the top there are some small rocky cliffs, so Dani and I scrambled a little too, but a lot of it is grassy and people were picnicking. We got soup at the little hut at the top. The whole area is ski slopes, and loads of snow blankets everything in the colder months. There were a few patches of snow left, but they were melting rapidly into cold, clear water. The drive up to the mountain and back was hot and dusty, with a lot of traffic. Pavel lent us a car, so we cancelled the rental, but our borrowed car doesn’t have AC. I don’t think it will matter much for most of our trip, but it is hot! A nice change from the UK…
After our mountain trip, before dinner, Ani & I went to pick up my new glasses—ready in one day and perfect! We had mojitos afterwards to celebrate, in a hip little bar down near all the shops. While we were enjoying our minty fresh drinks, Maria and Dani were driving with Ilia to Maria’s little cottage to water her tomatoes and scythe (yes, scythe,) her little lawn. We had dinner once we all returned home.
We had a nice dinner at Maria’s flat (where we’re staying while we’re in Sofia,) of roasted eggplant, peppers & tomatoes, which Maria made, and tarrator which Dani & I made, which is a cold soup with garlic, cucumber, dill and yoghurt. We also had fresh bread, cheese, and thinly sliced ham. Then, sunburnt and once again stuffed, we all fell asleep very early.