Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stranded On An Island

This summer was so hectic - hard work, travel, hard work, travel, ... I've time neither for knitting, nor for blogging. I still haven't posted my favourite places in Munich, our hike to Popovo Lake in Pirin, but here are a few (actually plenty) photos from our sea vacation in Greece. This year we chose the island of Ammouliani - a small island in the Chalkidiki area, near Mount Athos.

We arrived on the island by ferry - the distance is very short, the island is visible from Tripiti and the boat ride is only 10-15 minutes.

There's only one town (or rather village) on the island and plenty of bigger and smaller beaches. The first day we went to Alikes - the most popular (and thence most populated) beach

where we stayed almost till sunset. The weather was sunny, the water warm and calm and the sand - almost white.

The Drenia islands and Mount Athos (2020 m) in the distance
The port at night:

A walk on the shore around the village of Ammouliani:

The bougainvilleas were everywhere and were amazing:

The Karagatzia beach - this one I liked a lot. The rock on the left looked to me like a dragon, lying on the shore :)

On the third day we explored the northern part of the island and found a desolate beach, where we were the only visitors together with an elderly couple in the distance. To reach it we had to travel by a dirt road and then walk downhill by foot. The shore was very interesting, the volcanic origin of the island was most visible here, the rocks were clearly formed by cooled lava and in the shallow very warm waters in this part of the bay only a thin layer of sand covered the volcanic ash at the bottom. The sea was full of life and the water was very still, like in a lake:

On the next day we went to another beach in the eastern part of the island - Saint Giorgios beach. The waters were so transparent, that the children managed to catch an octopus with bare hands:

My supermodels :)

They are so grown now:

Sand lilies. I liked this beach best.

Our favourite place at night - the central square next to the church of St. Nicolaous, built in 1860. The square, with its old buildings, had a very Mediterranean medieval atmosphere, especially in the soft night lighting and we just loved hanging around - we tried to pass through it at least twice in the evenings:

Next day we tried the most southern beach, closest to the Drenia islands.

There were interesting small coves, but the water was not as still and clear as on St. Giorgious, so we just walked a bit around

 and returned to our favourite place:

On our last day we went again to Karagatzia beach,

where the children dived and explored the shore

and caught this enormous crab, which immediately became the star of the beach - everybody wanted to take a photo of it after Alex released it back in the water.

Another of their catches - a sea mollusk. I wonder what they might have caught if they had a fishing rod or a net :))

And back on the ferry to Tripiti

through Stratoni to Sofia.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pirin, Mt. Vihren

Last Saturday Gaby, husband and I climbed Mt. Vihren (2914 m)  - the top peak of Pirin Mountains, which is the second highest peak in Bulgaria and the third on the Balkans after Mt. Musala in Rila and Mt. Mitikas in Olympus, Greece. But though Vihren is a couple of meters lower than Musala, it is actually much, much more difficult to climb - the absolute ascend is almost a kilometer and the path is only up - steep and bare among rocks and low bushes. On our way back we also visited the oldest known coniferous tree in Bulgaria - the Baykushev's Pine - approx. 1300 years old. The climb was sort of a celebration of Gaby's birthday, which was last week - she's a true mountaineer, that girl!

Посвещава се на седемнадесетия рожден ден на Габи :)))

Денят беше слъчев и топъл, перфектен за високопланинско катерене - факт, оценен от достатъчно любители на планината, така че пътят до хижа Вихрен да бъде затворен още при къмпинг Вихрен и да ни се наложи да трамбоваме трите километра нагоре до хижата пеша в допълнение към и без това нелекия маршрут :) Добре, че тук не гонехме лифт, както на Мусала, или директно прибиране в София, така че удължаването на маршрута беше единствено за сметка на силиците ни.

хижа Вихрен отдалече

Пътеката за връх Вихрен тръгва от хижата, стръмно нагоре по камъните и така чак до върха. Избрахме по-безопасния летен маршрут.

Ето я и бялата шапка на Вихрен, вече се показва зад поредния хълм:

През увеличението на фотоапарата - докато катерим стените на Кабата, забелязваме, че нещо пъпли по склона отсреща. Оказва се, че това е Вихрен. Скоро и ние ще се присъединим към масовата лудост.

Голо, страшно, трудно, високо - защо го правим? Не съм сигурна дали у всеки е закодирана потребността от зеленина, гора, скали, знам, че аз я имам и колкото по-често получавам дозата си природа, толкова повече искам. Имам нужда да виждам върхове, езера, реки, цветя и дървета, видя ли връх, искам да го изкача и да погледна отгоре наоколо. Докато слизах от Вихрен, си мислех, че втори път няма да ми се качва - а сега, докато гледам снимките, чак болезнено ми се иска пак да съм там. Луда работа :)))

Наклонът на последния щурм е убийствен, пътеката се губи между камъните, освен уморително е и опасно и трябва да се внимава на всяка стъпка - камъните са нестабилни.

И най-накрая поглед от върха към Муратовото езеро

и Влахинските езера

Задължителната снимка с пирамидката

Поглед към Банско

Гол суров мрамор - Пирин е по-страховит и от Рила

На връщане към колата се отбихме и при Байкушевата мура - 
най-старото иглолистно дърво в България. 
Какво ли е да живееш 1300 години?