Walking through Sofia's scenery - a blog by Ivana and Angelina Kancheva

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When we set off to Vitosha on the day of Sofia’s William Hill Hike for Health I thought we would be soldiering onwards gulping air and trying to crawl desperately to reach the summit expecting us. I particularly thought this because I knew that not everybody from our small but rather enthusiastic group did much hiking in their everyday life, apart from a few exceptions. It turned out quite the opposite.

We left the office building at around 8am early in the morning and after an hour’s drive the closest mountain to our city gently opened up its green, fresh and breezy scenery. It’s very easy to get to an altitude as high as 1500-1900 metres above the sea level if you live in the capital, since Sofia is located in the very beginning of Vitosha – and that’s something I truly love about it. Vitosha is usually a very windy mountain and it tends to be very cloudy and misty, especially in the late afternoon. The early hours of the day when we ascended the mountain started when it was dark and foggy, but we were later provided with some warm sunshine – and so the mood turned very positive as well. We had to walk a distance of 12.4 miles or 20 km between the villages of Bistritza and Boyana that are located in beautiful pine forests.

The hike was easy and achievable since the path we had to walk was flat. The distance was relatively large but time passed really quickly as in a matter of a few hours we managed to cover it, and with each glimpse of romantic views of green crowned beech-trees, evergreen oaks, and the light squeezing through the branches, our effort seemed effortless.

We spent the time hiking getting to talk to each other, chatting about all sorts of things. Not only work-related, of course. We laughed and joked around, had the chance to communicate and get to know each other a bit more as well since our small group consisted of people from different teams. While Jose was impressing Kateto with some funny psychology stories, Nevena, Ivana and Annie talked about alpinism and day-dreamed about future journeys observing the beautiful setting. Kristina’s cheery voice was announcing our small breaks along the way as Robert was laughing at Krisi’s ambitious plans to take a group selfie.

It all went smooth and I’m sure we were all in a position to keep on walking even after the last kilometer of the track. With the sunny weather and the friendly atmosphere it was more of a pleasure than a challenge.

A big thank you for the dedicated time and effort everyone!