Friday, March 24, 2023

Lakatnik 2023

Another "traditional" hike - the March visit of the Lakatnik rocks in the gorge of the Iskar river. This is our third visit in a row and probably not the last, as the place is gorgeous, the trail is very scenic and the access by train makes it an interesting and different day trip. 

Another "tradition" - as the climate in Sofia is colder, we usually come to Lakatnik overdressed and spend the whole trip carrying our winter jackets and hoodies in the backpacks. This year was no exception - it was really cold in Sofia in the morning and we even put on our wool hats, but once we got out of the train in Lakatnik, we were greeted by a bright sun and temperatures quite above 10C, which, in combination with climbing, quickly made us undress down to T-shirts.

:The river Iskar, which runs through the Balkan mountain to inlet into the Danube

:A bat in the Temnata dupka cave. We went some 20 m into the cave with flashlights, just to get a feel of the place. We plan to take a guided tour deep into the cave next time we visit.

:Did you notice the long freight train?

Hike info:
Destination: Lakatnik Eco Trail
Mountain: the Balkans
Total length: 11 km
Elevation gain: 300 m
Total duration (plus rest): 3 h 20 min
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, Houndstooth hoodie and Orange hat in the backpack
I: lingerie, Burda striped blouse, Houndstooth hoodie and CC copycat hat in backpack

:The path spirals gradually to the top of the rocks

:A view to the gorge from the top of the rocks
:We had our picnic at a gorgeous spot on the rocks, over viewing the gorge and the village at the foot of the rocks

:And back down to the train station along an alternative path

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Burda Polar Fleece Jacket

Recently I've been more in a home-improvement and gardening mode and I kind of lost my sewing, not to mention my knitting, mojo. Still, I made one of my Make Nine projects - the Burda 6337 jacket.

This pattern had been long on my list and in my head I always saw it made out of polar fleece, something similar to a tourist RTW jacket I have and still wear a lot.

My original idea was to make the pattern for Gaby in a polar fleece fabric i recently bought for her. But in order to test the pattern, I decided to make an wearable muslin first, out of a huge fleece sweater of my husband, which he doesn't like and wear.

I'm happy I decided to test the pattern first, as it gave me a good feel for the fit and the look of the final garment and in the end made me realize that, though I enjoy my jacket, I will not use the pattern for Gaby's jacket, as this is not exactly the look I am after.

Pattern: Burda 6337
Size: 36, shortened
Fabric: polar fleece, used
Time to make: one week

Some notes and modifications: The sizing is a bit off, the jacket is too big on me and though I'm a 36 according to Burda tables, size 34 would have been a better fit. Because I was using an old sweater, I could not make the original sleeves of the jacket and had to improvise with the material I had - thus my sleeves have a seam along the center and are based on another Burda jacket. 


One of the features of the jacket I do not particularly like is the collar - just not my style, I think. I would prefer a hood or a higher cowl. And a minor last note - the inside part of the pocket would be better made out of the main fabric. I made both parts of the pockets out of the lining fabric, but the pockets are too thin and cold for keeping my hands in during hikes, so a warmer fleece pocket would be more desirable.

I already wore the jacket during our hike to Dupevitza and it proved really warm and comfortable, so I am actually quite happy to have used the fleece material from the discarded husband's sweater. Still, I'm in search for the best fleece jacket pattern for the planned Gaby's jacket.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Dupevitza 2023

This past week was so crazy busy, that I didn't have any time for the blog, nor for my hobbies. However, I've decided to spare an hour to share  a few words and pictures of our hike last Sunday on peak Dupevitza.

The day started warm and sunny and I even changed my jacket at the last minute with a lighter one.

However, the clouds had decided to organize their gathering above Lulin mountain, so while the rest of the city and the mountains in the distance remained lit in sunlight, the sky above us became greyer and greyer.

Still, the air was warm and fresh and we climbed the peak in no time:

Hike info:

Destination: round trail to peak Dupevitza
Mountain: Lulin
Total length: 10 km
Elevation gain: 320 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 2 hours 30  min
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: men's boxers, KnipMode Trousers, Orange hat, Houndtooth Hoodie
I:  lingerie, socks, brown cc copycat beanie, Borika gloves, Fleece jacket

Gradually the wind grew stronger, it got much colder and as soon as we got to peak Dobrinina skala, the rain - a mixture of snowflakes and raindrops, came. We quickly put on our jackets, hats, gloves and raincoats - everything we had :)

Some 20 min later the rain stopped and we could enjoy the forest in all of its spring freshness.

We saw two salamanders, bravely crossing the paths - because of the rainy weather, there were very few tourists along this trail.

The ever peculiar All Saints Chapel, where we had our picnic

And the second salamander, strolling by the river
One of the fields was beautifully covered with yellow crocuses
It was a truly refreshing hike; I actually don't mind a little rain on a hike, as long as it isn't a downpour, it adds a pinch of adventure.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Bistritza - Simeonovo 2023

Unfortunately, the weather during the long weekend (this Friday was our National holiday) was cold and cloudy, so we decided that it was not worth it to travel far and settled for a hike in the nearby parts of Vitosha.

Due to the high humidity, the air smelled divinely of pine and freshness.

The trail we hiked - from Bistritza to Simeonovo lakes and back, is part of the low circuit of Vitosha. It is quite easy and with little elevation gain, and consequently rather popular, even on a gloomy day. Still, much better than its counterpart, the trail from Bistritza to Zeleznitza, which is usually more crowded than a popular alley in the central park.

Hike info:

Destination: Simeonovo lakes
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 12 km
Elevation gain: 130 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 3 h 30 min
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, hat
I:  lingerie, CC copycat hat, Borika gloves, Tweed Chaika sweater

Though we can't really complain this year, the winter was so mild and snowless, I'm glad it is over and spring is definitely in the air.

We had our picnic on this lovely clearing between Simeonovska river and one of its tributaries. 

On our way back the clouds dispersed and the sun was finally out. Hopefully, plenty of sunny days ahead.