August 12, 2010
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On one my last days in Bulgaria, I escaped the suffocating heat of Sofia by scaling Mount Vitosha, a huge granite dome on the outskirts of the city with 10 peaks of more than 2000 m in height.
There's a gondola not far from our B & B in Simeonovo, and I figured I could just follow it downhill and hop on. Unfortunately, the Simeonovo cable car station is buried inside a massive housing development surrounded by a very convincing barricade. After a thrilling dash through fields, backyards, across a stream on a wooden plank and through one of the many half-finished massive construction projects now challenging the crumbling Soviet-era "panelky" for urban ugliness all over Bulgaria, I eventually caught a ride to Aleko. From there I picked up a trail to Cherni Vrah (2290 m), Vitosha's highest peak, and spent the day frolicking in the alpine meadows. I enjoyed the hike so much that I convinced Susan and Barb to join me for a ride to the top the following day.