Climbing Musala Mountain

“Trust me, Lena, there are two things I am good at on this planet: playing the guitar and climbing mountains. And I can guarantee you that all of us can make it to the top.” – This is what Nicola, another volunteer and friend from Tirol, told me on Friday evening. He was trying to convince me to join him and his friends on their hike to Musala mountain, with 2925 meters above sea level the highest peak of the Balkans.

I originally planned not to join them, since I had never thought of myself as a “Mountain-Person”. I enjoy hiking occasionally, however, I had only ever climbed what Nicola calls “hills” and had never even been at more than 2000 meters above sea level. Therefore, climbing a mountain that is almost 3000 meters high seemed like an impossible challenge to me. However, after Nicola’s encouraging words I went home with a long list of things to pack for the hike and the feeling of being nervous and excited at the same time – in two days, I would attempt one of the biggest challenges of my EVS so far.

On the morning of the 18th of August, we left home at 6:00 am to take the Bus to Borovets, a small city on the foot of the mountain. From there, we took the cable car until peak Jastrebec. The remaining 556 meters in height to the summit were for us to climb.

For the next three hours, we hiked through one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. Crystal clear lakes, beautiful pink fireweeds, and unique stone formations surrounded us while we climbed to the summit. I was (and still am) completely amazed by the beauty of Musala. The hike was also less physically demanding than I thought. When we finally summited, I felt so proud and accomplished – I had done something that just one week ago I would have dismissed as completely impossible for me. Since we missed the last bus to Blagoevgrad, we had to take several trains back, but nothing could ruin my mood. When we finally arrived back home at 11:00 pm, I was exhausted but very happy that I believed Nicolas words and dared to take on this challenge – it was for sure the best hike of my life.

Lena

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