Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Vrana in April 2024

After the summer temperatures in March and the first half of April, in the second half the weather abruptly changed and we took out the winter jackets again. Last weekend was coldish and cloudy, and it rained all day on Sunday, but the Saturday was pretty pleasant for a walk in a park. Like Vrana.

The second half of April is the perfect time to observe most of the decorative trees in Vrana in bloom. The wisterias were in their prime.

Hike info:
Date: 20 April 2024
Destination: Vrana
Total length: 8 km
Total duration : 2.5 hours

The magnolias were mostly past their blooming time this year and the large magnolia tree was nothing like its glorious self from the previous year. Not only had it already lost all of its blossoms, but a major branch of it died this year and had to be cut off.

This time we decided to explore even further the park along some of its unkempt alleys.

A small bird had fallen from a nest on one of the alleys. I hope the mother found it and somehow helped it .

Only in the course of a couple of weeks the trees covered in fresh leaves and now everything is so lusciously green.

All the lilacs were also in bloom
and some of the magnolias
and the rhododendrons
and the carobs

The season was almost over for the sakuras

A common finch on the alley

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chepun and Dragoman Marsh 2024

The warm, summer-like weather continued for almost a month till mid-April. Last Sunday on Chepun mountain it was true summer - hot and sunny, super unusual for this time of the year along the ridge of the low mountain. This is our fourth hike in this area and it was very much identical to the one we did three years ago. The track, starting from the marsh, has been completely abandoned and is not on the maps any more, so we followed the fairly short 4 km eco-trail up and down the peak.

:To our surprise, the eco-trail turned out to be very popular and we met a lot of people along the track

Hike info:

Date:  14 April 2024
Destination: Petrovski Cross (1206 m)
Mountain: Chepun
Total length: 10 km
Elevation gain: 400 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 3 and a half hours
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

A view to the town of Dragoman
A small chapel was built recently on top of the mountain at the end of the trail
Petrovski cross, probably a remnant from an old sanctuary
The peak of the mountain
The dwarf almond bushes were in full bloom
We continued out hike a bit along the ridge to the next high point. There is a trail, that goes further along the ridge and down to the next village, but then how does one get back to the car?
The Dragoman marsh from above. We had our picnic on a bench with a view to the marsh and the fields around
The wild lilacs were also in bloom
A view to the west and the border with Serbia

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
I: lingerie, Burda blouse,Knipmode flared pants
Husband: men's boxers, Knipmode cargo pants

After we went down the eco-trail, we drove to the Dragoman marsh and walked a bit around. The wetland is the home of many birds and other animals, we could hear some of them in the reeds, but none were visible.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Alinsky Monastery

The unusual summer temperatures for our latitudes continued during the first fortnight of April - no complaints, keep up the Mediterranean weather! So this year spring is almost a month ahead compared to previous years and on Plana early in April the trees were already in bloom. Our hike there on the first Saturday of April was a leisurely walk up and down mountain trails with breathtaking views to the snow-covered peaks of Rila, framed by the blossoming plum trees on Plana.

The photo-reportage from our hike might seem a bit monotonous - snowy peaks and blossoming trees, but I just couldn't stop myself taking pictures of these beauties :)

Hike info:

Date:  06 April 2024
Destination: Alinsky Monastery
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 13 km
Elevation gain: 200 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 4 hours
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Vitosha on the other side of Plana

The trail to Alinsky monastery is a bit unusual, as it starts somewhere mid-altitude at 1220m , goes up and down until it reaches some 1280 m and then down to 1060 m at Alinsky monastery - the lowest altitude point of our hike.

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
I: lingerie, Sabrina Slims II, orange Burda fleece jacket
Husband: men's boxers, Knipmode cargo pants, green blouse

We had our picnic and first beer outdoors for this year :) on a hill above the chapel. As usual along these trails in the lower mountains around Sofia, we were the only hikers there.

Across the fields - the hills of Manastirishte, the summit of Plana (1336 m)