155. More walkies

by | Feb 19, 2018 | Bulgarian life | 1 comment

We did a lot of walking last summer and autumn, prepping hard for our Rhodope walking holiday. I mean, we’d always enjoyed a little trample in the mountains around us, but last year we started to take it really seriously.

We became far too familiar with our nearest Decathlon store. We bought padded hiking socks, trekking poles, better rucksacks and more. We pored over maps and plotted out longer and longer walks close to us. We got up crazy early to squeeze in hikes before work. We skived off work in favour of afternoon hikes. We walked further and further with every passing week. We built up to the level where we could comfortably walk 20 km without our legs dropping off or me having an ugly-cry meltdown in the middle of nowhere.

And then we went on our walking holiday, and it was brilliant. Then we just … stopped walking.

Since September, I can count the number of walks we’ve done on one hand. (We’ve walked to places, obviously. We’ve spent hours traipsing around Sofia and stuff. What I mean is we’ve done very little walking of the lace-up-your-boots, hike-up-a-mountain, oh-shit-we’re-lost variety.)

So what happened? Why did we hang up our boots?

We pondered this yesterday as we went on our first serious walk of the year: a very muddy 12 km walk over a (small) mountain to the Heavenly Pastures nature park. Did we stop walking because the Rhodope scenery was so dramatic that it made our local walks seem a bit … disappointing? Maybe in our heads that was it. But yesterday we were reminded of how very lovely our mountains are, and how very lucky we are to live here.

 

 
This cow, horse and truck were the first signs of life in 6 km.

 

So, so, muddy.

 

When we finally got there, it being February, the nature park wasn’t at its prettiest. But, with all the bare trees and stone, it had a slightly eerie druid vibe (or maybe it was Bulgarian Blair Witch Project) that I really enjoyed. We had the whole place to ourselves, so it was like being in our own private horror movie. You know, in a good way.

 

 
Rob checking out the ritual sacrifice arena. I mean, stone maze.

 

‘The door in the forest.’ By this point, we thought we’d mistakenly wandered
into a German art film. Obviously, I loved it.

 

Anyway, the upshot of this tale is the boots are back in action. They need a damn good clean, but they’re back in action.

 

 

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