This past Sunday, I accepted an invitation to join a group of friends from my town here in Bulgaria to visit Витоша (Mount Vitosha). Rising from the outskirts of Sofia and easily accessible by public transport, Vitosha is, not surprisingly, the most frequently visited mountain in Bulgaria. Considered by many to be part of the Sofia skyline, Vitosha reaches an elevation of 2,290 meters (7,500 ft) at its highest point, Cherni Vruh. At lower elevations, the mountain is covered by acres of beech forest which gradually give way to white spruce and pine. At the higher elevations, boulder strewn meadows, junipers, and bogs predominate. I wish I could say the mountain offers stunning panoramas of Sofia, and maybe it does on some days or at certain times of the year. On our visit, however, Sofia was obscured by a thick blanket of smog rising up from the city and encircling the mountain. Pollution aside, it was still a great day to be on the mountain. Being late in the summer, the grass had turned from green to gold and the ubiquitous raspberry bushes bore little fruit. But there were some flowers still blooming, the weather was excellent, and the scenery was as varied as it was lovely.
Various landscapes from Mount Vitosha.
I promise Sofia can be found under the blanket of smog.
This weather station, which can be found on the top of the mountain, was built in 1935 and has been in operation since.
An abandoned military base at the top of Mount Vitosha.
Obligatory wildflower closeups.