Thursday, August 22, 2019

Climbing Mt. Vihren

I had never heard the word ‘scrambling’ before. In the dictionary, ‘scrambling’ is defined as “to move or climb quickly but with difficulty, often using your hands to help you.” This was certainly the case when I struggled up the rough, steep slopes of Mt. Vihren, in Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains.

It was the second day of an eight-day "Hiking trek in the Pirin and Rila mountains”. The trip was organized by Traventuria, a Bulgarian company with a well-earned excellent reputation for its hikes and tours. The planned route for the first day had been changed due to heavy cloud cover on the higher peaks. Instead, we took an easier hike through pristine pine forests, at one point reaching Hut Yavorov at an elevation of 1,740 meters above sea level.

That first day’s hike was for me, anything but easy. Making my way up the forest paths, my leg muscles ached, the pain increasing the higher we climbed. “I think I bit off more than I can chew,” I said to myself. Was I really fit enough to do this? Was I capable of climbing Bulgaria’s highest mountains?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review of "The Burgas Affair" on Turning Another Page

Shuman brings two characters with differing backgrounds into a crime investigation for a common goal, to solve the case and keep the civility among their people. His characters are exceptional, with many faults and likable qualities as well.

The pace is steady and the story is action-packed, making it easy to get wrapped up in. While there are a few grammatical errors here and there, this should not hinder enjoyment of the novel at all. The author does inform the reader that the characters are purely fiction; however, the story is based on a true event.

Terrorism is an ever evolving threat to many countries and the information conveyed in this story is quite credible. Readers will achieve a clear understanding of the strength that many have in the face of fear and we will say that it is a story worth reading. For any who tend to lean toward thrillers and crime, this one may be of interest to you.

Read the full review on Turning Another Page.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hiking in Bulgaria - Trek of a Lifetime

I first visited the Seven Rila Lakes in June 2010. To my amazement, I found myself walking in a few inches of snow alongside mountain meadows full of brilliant purple crocuses. At times I wore a T-shirt and at times I put on a long-sleeved shirt as I hiked through terrain that appeared to be lifted straight out of Antarctica. The views were stunning, the air was fresh, and despite some of the steep uphill slopes, I enjoyed every moment of it.

My friends and I only made it to the fourth of the seven lakes; it was frozen solid, even in the middle of June! The rest of the way was impassable because of the snow. I promised myself I would come back one day. I dreamed of taking another incredible Bulgarian hiking trek. And then, nine years later, my dream came true.