Monday, November 4, 2013

My Beautiful Bulgaria: Part II, Troyan Balkan: Botev Peak, Troyan Monastery, Zelenikovski Monastery

I know that being busy can't be an excuse for my irregular posting. Especially when I have so interesting things to write about. This summer wasn't the greatest in my life in terms of weather. For the first time in so many years it was cold during the better part of it, and rainy most of the days. Rain doesn't go well with hiking. That's one of the reasons why I've only visited 5 places this season. The other reasons - working hard and my best friend's wedding :)
I've been wanting to climb Botev peak for so many years. That was in fact the only peak of the highest in Bulgaria, which I haven't conquered yet. And there was always something that had prevented me from doing so.
This year though, when I read the email from Miro The Chief (from Adventure club) saying that he was organizing a hiking in Troyan Balkan, Botev peak climbing including, I simply jumped in.
We left Sofia in the afternoon and the spent the first night at Zelenikovski monastery: small and beautiful place, forgotten by all. The monastery is now not in operation and is run by an old woman, named baba Dana. She welcomed us with the traditional bean soup, and we also had a huge BBQ in the night. Was so peaceful and romantic, still pleased to even only think about it.

Kupena peak - visible in the background. It'll be the main hero of another article yet to be written...

Zelenikovski monastery
Inside the monastery: the ceiling

Baba Dana's guard and only companion in most of the time

Miro the Chief and baba Dana
After we left the monastery we headed towards Troyan monastery - the third biggest in the country and one with a very rich history. There is held one of the three miraculous icons in Bulgaria - the Three hand Virgin Mary. Definitely worth visiting.
You can see the lion & the elephant drawings on the wall. There are no such animals living in BG...

One of the most legendary persons in Bulgarian history used to hide there - Vasil Levski.
In the afternoon of the second we were supposed to stay in a hotel in Apriltsi. I found the idea rather boring so I went paraplaning. Not anything that I'd try again (too boring for my taste) but yet it was how I spent the afternoon.
The paraplaner's driver, who was very calm and boring

The moto-paraplaner
Finally, on the third day we headed towards Botev peak. Unfortunately I was feeling awful that day and was in a very bad condition. Nevertheless I was determined I was going to climb Botev! And so I did. Just didn't take many pictures. We approached the peak from a different angle, not following the typical touristic tracks. The one we took was quite difficult and demanding. The peak itself was a bit of disappointment to me - it was somehow plain and there wasn't nice view from the top.
almost there :-p

finally at Botev peak!

Botev peak: very wide and no good view from it
On the way back I was feeling a bit better but then I gave my hiking poles to a kid, which was struggling on the way down. Which brought to me the worst muscle fever in my life - it took almost 5 days after the hike to heal ;) As people say, there is no good left unpunished :-p

on my way down

August sky

Pleven hut in the distance
Beautiful Stara Planina
I like the way the mountain winds
Hope you enjoy this walk with me! There will be more to follow shortly (I almost promise ;))


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