July 21, 2009

A Trip to the Mountains

We had a great time this Saturday!

Last week I got to remembering the many endless summers I spent with my grandma and grandpa at their gorgeous little house high up in the mountains. But when Gran passed away in 1997, the house was left to my aunt, who doesn’t have time to take care of it, and so in 12 years no soul has gone there. Consequently, the yard is now so overgrown with grass and shrubbery that you can’t even see the house from the street.

I thought that maybe it would be a great little adventure if I and Mr. G&C took the train and hiked all the way up there to go visit – not that I would be able to enter, but I just wanted to ‘scratch’ my emotional itch.

So, we took off and got on the train at 7 a.m. for an hour-long ride. Needless to say, I had forgotten how gorgeous the place is:

Lakatnik - Milanovo 001View of the mountains as you get off the train

Lakatnik - Milanovo 011The river

Lakatnik - Milanovo 020

It isn’t very clear from the picture above, but there’s a large monument at the top of the cliffs, dedicated to all who died in the September Uprising. Here’s a close-up as viewed from the bottom:

Lakatnik - Milanovo 021

Lakatnik - Milanovo 024

Lakatnik - Milanovo 027

We decided to walk along the road up the mountain to the village, about 6 miles from the train station. Thankfully, it was still early in the morning and the sun wasn’t too hot, but by the time we hiked up there it had gotten very very ‘warm’. Took us about 2 hours, and a lot of panting, but the scenery was gorgeous:

Lakatnik - Milanovo 038

Lakatnik - Milanovo 047

Lakatnik - Milanovo 042 And the very sweaty own selves!

Once we finally made it to the village, I was overwhelmed by an emotional wave. Familiar sights and places brought memories of my dear Gran and all the months we spent there, tending the vegetable garden all summer long. Then we walked to the house, and this is all you can see:

Lakatnik - Milanovo 056

It’s so overgrown that even peeking through the gate I couldn’t see anything but greens. The house that I so miss was barred from my sight.

Lakatnik - Milanovo 093A very old house in the center of the village

We had lunch and headed back down. This time however, we took the hiking trail.

Lakatnik - Milanovo 116

After about an hour and a half hike down, we came out on the top of the cliffs. Remember where the monument was? That’s the view as you’re looking down this time:

Lakatnik - Milanovo 131

Lakatnik - Milanovo 133The town and the train station, looked from the top of the cliffs.

After another 2 hour hike down. we made it to the bottom again. We sat and had a late lunch at the restaurant near the waterfall and then headed to the train station. We were so tired by that time that I actually took a 45-minute nap while waiting for the train.

When we got home at 6 p.m. we spent a couple of hours relaxing and went to bed at 8. Yes, that’s right, at 8! I know I slept like a rock, but it felt so good. I am very happy we went, and we might do it again next Saturday.



T. W. Anderson said...

We're going back this weekend. That hiking trail was absolutely splendid, and I want to get some more pictures this time. I'm incredibly happy with the the way these turned out, although the pictures don't do it justice. Simply breath-taking beauty.

Melanie said...

What a beautiful place!

The Curious Cat said...

Why were you not allowed in? That is so sad that the place has fallen to waste -it is in such a beautiful area it should be looked after and used as a place for people to stay or something. Is there nothing you can do to rescue it?

The Curious Cat said...

PS I have probably asked but where is this?

T. W. Anderson said...

The place (village) is called Milanovo. It's about an hour's train ride outside of Sofia, up in the mountains.

It's not a matter of not being allowed in. The place has been allowed to just grow wild since her grandmother passed away in 1997. Nearly 13 years of overgrowth. The house is literally only about 20 feet from the village road, but you literally cannot see the house because of the growth. And you literally can't get through, it's *that* thick.

Her aunt on her father's side (dad's sister) inherited the house. They don't do anything with it. Nobody's even been out there since 1997. It's horribly sad, because it's this beautiful little mountain villa with a MASSIVE yard that was once a thriving veggy garden with lush, thriving grape-vines that is now an overgrown mess that would probably take 2-3 months of several people working all day, every day, to clear it out and make it presentable.

Sadly, there's nothing we can do to deal with it. Lord knows how bad the house has fallen into disarray due to the fact nobody has been there for nearly 13 years. Her dad and his sister aren't really on speaking terms as I understand it, so it's hard to figure out exactly why it's not been taken care of. We were actually talking about offering her a cash settlement on the place in a few years if they don't do anything with it, but we'll just have to wait and see how that pans out.

In the meantime, it's a tragedy that something so beautiful has gone to waste. I will try and get her to post some shots of the actual village, because it's absolutely this quaint little mountain village that is absolutely peaceful. Just a bunch of farmers and village people living a quiet life up in the hills. Very rustic, and very appealing for a vacation home or weekend getaway.

Frugal Fine Living said...

Great pics ... what a beautiful place!


T. W. Anderson said...

If you see that picture of her peeking in past that little green gate...the house is supposed to be in the background of that shot, but it's so overgrown that you can't even get the gate open, much less see the house.

Beautiful little village, though. I know I said it in my other comment, but it's just so pristine.

We also met a *lot* of people our age who were up in the region camping and hiking. It was funny, actually...we got off the train at the same time as this other couple, but we took two separate paths up the mountain, but we only beat them by about 45 seconds, and when they walked up they looked at us all puzzled, going "hey, we didn't see you pass us on the trail! How'd you get here!?"

Then on the way down we met another few couples, one of whom were breaking camp and didn't have any water left over and had been out for a few hours and it was either hike up the hill an hour or down the hill an hour to get water, and we had a large bottle on us, so it was nice to lend a helping hand. Then we ended up seeing them three more times that day as well :)

Absolutely going back. Phenomenal time.

a little bit vintage said...

It looks SO beautiful! :)


Cherry's Jubilee said...

Those are gorgeous! U take great pics. cherry

T. W. Anderson said...

Why thank you :)

I would like to point out that these particular shots are the only ones on her blog that I've actually taken. She's the camera professional in our house, not me. But I did take all of the shots on this particular outing, but she complained that I *only* took 102 pictures, so next time up I'll be giving her the camera and seeing what happens :)

This is just one of the many reasons I love living in Bulgaria. The ENTIRE country is like the pictures you see here. Rolling hills, forested mountains, quaint little farming villages tucked away in hidden valleys. The wine is excellent (on par with French, Spanish, and Italian), the food is superb, and once you get outside of the main cities (Varna, Sofia, Plovdiv, etc), the countryside is pristinely untouched.

Another bonus is it's only a few hour drive to the Black Sea or the Mediterranean (from Sofia, where we live), and we can hop on a 45 minute flight to Rome for 100 Euro round-trip and go spend a weekend there.

Two seasides, the Balkans, several other mountain ranges, and close access to some of the most ancient historical places in the world. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to live here.

Design it Chic said...

You're doing a great touristic advertising for your country and this makes me happy thinking that there's still people like you guys that appreciate the beauty of small yet significant countries.
I'm originally from Romania btw, so i know what you guys are talking about:)Send cheers to Evy!
Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

Hi Evy,

What amazing photos!
What a beautiful place :-)

Rose XXX

Aimee said...

The pictures are beautiful and amazing! You guys look great...
What a view, breathtaking!!!

Stop by and visit me again soon,

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Heart in the country said...

What beautiful scenery! And the weather looked amazing.