4th May 2014 Sofia, Bulgaria

Beautiful Rila

by David Pert

David Pert lived in Sofia from 1996 to 2000 when he worked in the Visa, Consular and Political Sections of the British Embassy Sofia. 

David Pert in Rila
David Pert in Rila

I’m David Pert, and lived in Sofia from 1996 to 2000 when I worked at the British Embassy. I lived in the wonderful Boyana area of town with my wife Christine, two boys Daniel and Jonathan (who were 5 and 2 years old when we arrived), and later my daughter Abigail who was born in 2000 only a couple of months before we left.

I have so many wonderful memories of my time in Bulgaria – the warm and friendly people; great colleagues and friends at work and outside work; the beautiful and often spectacular countryside and scenery; learning to ski; the British Embassy villa in Borovetz; the first Beer Festival in Sofia to name but a few.

One of my fondest memories is the weekend hike I took over the Rila mountains in the summer of 1999, with my good Bulgarian friend Kamen. We travelled to Rila Monastry by coach and hitch-hiking, and spent a comfortable and peaceful night in the Monastry. The next morning was a tough walk through the forest and above the tree line to the top of the mountain range, with some spectacular views of the amazing Rila scenery.

The weather was warm, and we spent the night in a hiker’s hut at the top. Sharing a long bunk bed with other walkers (one of these had clearly eaten raw garlic cloves), and the hut’s cat, made for a less peaceful night than in the Monastry, but the long walk and a helping of Rakia helped us to eventually sleep. The next day was sunshine again, and the beautiful seven Rila Lakes.

We tried spinning for mountain trout, but without success. After the descent down the other side, it was back to Sofia – tired but happy after a fantastic weekend in the beautiful Rila scenery.

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