Monday, June 30, 2008

Colle del Vei del Bouc

Stunning view of the Italian Maritime Alps from the Colle del Vei del Bouc ("Pass of the Old Man of Goats") in the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime.

Near the Colle di Sabbione

The meadows on the French side of the Colle di Sabbione invite contemplation. The peaks framing the Valmasque Valley tower in the background.

Nigritella in the meadows

A black vanilla orchid (Nigritella sp) in the meadows near the Baisse de Peirefique, French Maritime Alps.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baisse de Fontanalbe

A snow melt pool near the Baisse de Fontanalbe, the high pass between the Fontanalbe Basin and the Valmasque Valley, French Maritime Alps.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hiking from Peillon

Leaving the "perched village" of Peillon en route to the neighboring village of Peille in the moyen pays of the French Maritime Alps.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Parting Shot

Taken "on the fly" out of the bus window, a parting shot of Vichren, the highest summit in the Pirin Mountains. (Vichren, whose name means, "wild like a whirlwind," is the peak with the flat top.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kitka Sharena

A colorful bouquet of wildflowers ("kitka sharena") created by nature brightens the trail from Kovachevitsa to Ossikovo.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yoga in the Pirin High Country

West of the Bunderishki Porta, extensive high country meadowlands descend to coniferous woodlands on the western flanks of the Pirin Mountains. The lower Spanopolski Lake provides a scenic venue for some yoga practice!

Over the Hump

Today we set off on our hike across the Pirin Mountains from east to west starting from the Vichren Chalet. We passed the lovely Hvoinato Ezero ("Juniper Lake") cupped in a small basin on the flanks of the peak of Graniten.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Catching Rays

Glorious sunshine and the cobalt waters of Popovo Ezero ("Priest Lake") create a perfect setting for some relaxation! Popovo Ezero is, in my opinion, the most beautiful alpine lake in Bulgaria!


Asen tells the story of Bezbog ("without God") at the Bezbog Lake.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pirin Mountain High

Hiking in the Upper Bunderitsa Valley near Dulgo Ezero ("Long Lake"). The peak of Graniten rises in the background. This is a classic Pirin Mountain hike over the pass of Todorina Porta. The glorious alpine lakes of the Bunderitsa and Vasilashki basins are highlights of the hike!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A low elevation walk in the Rila Mountains through meadows filled with wildflowers. Floral aromotherapy!

Pure of Heart

Emerging from the St. John of Rila cave near the Rila Monastery.

...And Without Sin

Only those pure of heart and without sin are said to be able to pass through. Everyone in our group who tried it made it through. A good sign!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rilski Sedemte Ezera

At the edge of the Suhiya Rid looking over the Rila Seven Lakes Basin. The weather gods threatened us with a bit of hail, but the clouds soon broke revealing the majesty of this alpine wonderland!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shopska Salata

Enjoying lunch at Pri Yafata in Sofia featuring "shopska salata," the first of many, I'm sure!

Pod Smurchovete

Taking a coffee break in the garden of the Tsar's Palace in Sofia "pod smurchovete" (under the spruces).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Below Mytikas, the Throne of Zeus

Standing below the summit spires of Mount Olympus. A few members of our group reached "Mytikas" (nose), the mountain's highest point. Others made it to "Skolio" the second highest point on Olympus's crown.

Climbing Mount Olympus

After spending the evening at the comfortable Spilo Agapitos mountain refuge, we began our climb to the top of Mount Olympus. A switchbacking trail ascended the slopes of the mountain to reach Skala, one of Olympus's multiple summits.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Plains of Thessaly

Departed Kastraki this morning bound for Prionia on the east slope of Olympus from where we'll hike to the Spilio Agapitos refuge. Beautiful views of mountains in the distance. Weather looks promising.

Entering the Monastery of Agia Triada at Meteora

Proper attire is required when visiting the monasteries of Meteora!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Pindos Mountains

Sunset glow on the peaks of the Pindos Mountains as seen from the Zagorian village of Megalo Papingo.

The Dragon Lake

We ascended the trail from Mikro Papingo to the Astraka mountain refuge, three thousand feet above. Another hour's hike brought us to Drakolimni ("Dragon Lake") set below the ramparts of the Gamila mountain.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the Vikos Gorge

Rest break on the hike from Monodendri to Vikos about three miles from the Voidomatis springs.

Shake it Up

Shaking up the Nescafe on the high meadows above Tsepelovo...a frappe on the way to Beloi viewpoint.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seeing Red in Kipi

Beets and Katzimichalis red wine create the perfect entree to the evening meal after our first day of hiking in Zagori.

Frappes in Koukouli

After climbing the Koukouli Steps from Kipi we sought the shade of the plane tree on the main square of Koukouli and enjoyed our frappes.

Bridges of Zagori

The stone bridge below Tsepelovo. Thunderstorms last night meant there was actually water flowing under the bridge this morning. The river bed was bone dry two days ago.