Solo Hiking on Boyana Mountain

Legs covered in mud, minuscule bug bites covering my tattoos and hair stuck on my forehead from the sweat. Oh, and an aching butt from slipping on some cobblestone. How did I end up here?

I had little to no plans for my time in Sofia, mostly because I hadn’t had the time to research what the city had to offer aside from some main churches and colorful buildings. And in a way I am so grateful that I travelled this way because it made my days extremely relaxed and full of surprise. Like this one. From the moment the plane landed I was mesmerized by the enormous and majestic mountains enclosing the city and I just had this urge to hug a tree, find a waterfall or just hike until my legs gave out. On this day I had just that opportunity.

For an easy 10lv (about 6 USD) I reached Boyana church and after exploring it a little bit (not really learning much because the tour was in Korean) and embracing the rain and the fresh garden smell, I made my way to the lake. I was advised not to because it had been storming for a while and the trail would be slippery and muddy.

I am so glad I went anyways because it turned out to be my best memory in Bulgaria. The trees were so tall, unobstructed in their growth, there were numerous salamanders crawling around the mud and brush and the air was beautifully cool.

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It was about an hour from the church to reach the lake where I passed through several trees and saw such incredible views of the city and moutainscape. I couldn’t believe that something as magical as this could be found in the capital of a country — a total game changer. Throughout, I took the opportunity to build connection with my surroundings, meditating on my gratitude and the opportunity to do this wonderful trek.

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I veered off the path for a while, taking a more difficult and steeper course but making it to the lake nevertheless. Along the way I jumped in mud puddles, danced like a fool and sung so loud I think the whole city could hear me. Once at the lake I was bewildered by the light fog covering the area, the frogs pouncing into the lake and the almost skeletal tree trunks dunking into the unknown parts of the water.

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After playing with a wet dog for a bit and admiring the muddy beauty of the lake, I found myself alone dancing to nature’s beat and inviting the light rain to cover my face (which it soon thereafter did). And after meditating for a while I allowed the after-shower sunshine to drape my face and remind me why I love these little adventures.

Not long after I found myself crunching on some gluten-free crackers (I’m not gluten free but they were the only vegan crackers in the market) covered in cashew cheeze — a magnificent snack for a magnificent day. And what goes better with crackers than a banana and a blood orange washed down with some good ol’ tap water?

Overall, this afternoon was a chance for me to show gratitude and love for myself and the earth around me that gifted me the ability to trek, to love, and to enjoy life. I feel like the luckiest person around!

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