That day I got lost in the Bulgarian woods

We just hung up a bag of food in one of the nearby trees. Food, soap, shampoo: anything that smelled really! I remember from my trip to the USA a few years ago, that, if you are in bear-country, you’d better make sure to keep everything that could possible attract them, far away from you.

And apparently, the Bulgarian Rhodope mountains, the place where we were stuck, was bear territory indeed. When setting off this morning the lady at the Chepelare tourist office warned us: “Be careful of bear, bear ate chips”
No, my friend Arnie and I didn’t know exactly what she meant either. but here we are, hiking in Bulgaria and horribly lost in the middle of the woods. The word “bear” sounds ever so slightly more intimidating now.

How did we get here you ask?
Armed with a basic map and keen to get off the beaten path, Arnie and I had a brilliant plan to walk from Chepelare to the village of Shiroka Laka through the Rhodope mountain range. It started off pretty well: the weather was gorgeous, we passed along the peaceful Bulgarian countryside and the trail signs were plentiful. Unfortunately that didn’t last long… We soon found ourselves in the middle of the woods, occasionally passing a small farm surrounded by wild and pretty scary dogs. A few hours later, we were genuinely lost. We were tired, cranky and, let’s be honest, a bit scared. Just when we thought we would have to spend the rest of our lives here, we came upon a sign saying “Shiroka Laka”! Unfortunately there was no way we were going to make it there before dark…

So we set up camp for the night, made a fire and pretended that this was all part of the plan.  Needless to say we didn’t sleep very much, the slightest noise made us cringe and we were trying hard not to blame one another for this “brilliant idea”.

When dawn finally came, we set off again, hoping to find Shiroka Laka today.  To our surprise it went incredibly smooth! We took a ride with a friendly elderly couple who kept on offering us cherries and found a place in the nearby village to spend the night. Life was good again and after a good night sleep and renewed energy,  we decided to check out the Chudnite Mostove or “ The Wondrous Bridges”, a gorgeous little place in the middle of nature, only a few miles away walking… through the woods…

Have you been hiking in Bulgaria? Or maybe ended up somewhere else horribly lost? Looking forward to read all about it!

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