Well, once we lost the Amazing Race, we went on to Vitosha Mountain anyways.  We rode the orange Hallelujah-we-finally-found-you! gondola up to the top.  Well, almost to the top.  The view was beautiful.  There are forests and meadows and you can see the whole city of Sofia:

We decided to go check out where the main path led first.  After a short walk (in case you forgot or never read the first part of this story, you should know that we had been walking for two hours already), we found a rocky overlook area where we could relax a bit and take some pictures of the city.


We hung out here for a while, but then our hunger started to set in.  In our frenzy to win the race find the gondola, we hadn’t eaten lunch.  So we each ate a few Altoids mints as lunch, for now.

Then we headed further down the path.  Here, there was a grassy meadow where Mark decided I should go pretend to be Maria from “The Sound of Music” and spin in circles.  Of course, I never turn down a cheesy opportunity like this.  After all, that was me who went to San Francisco and took a picture on a cable car with a Rice-A-Roni box.

So I started to head down to the meadow and I realized this is no little grassy meadow.  These bushes are thick and go up to my knees.  I mean, there could be snakes or bears hidden in there.  But I took a deep breath and did it anyways.  I never pass up a dare!  And here are the results:


I know, I know.  Get me a nun outfit and I could totally be in the movie!  Well, on my way back up to the path, I found some little blueberries on these bushes.  I thought they were blueberries.  Here, check this out, and I think you’ll agree:


Seeing as how we still hadn’t eaten, I picked a few and we ate them.  Turns out, they were not blueberries, they were juniper berries…oops!  As we continued down the path, I also found raspberries. Now I am sure these were raspberries.  So we ate those too.  Finally we found another rocky area that had a stream running underneath it.  Again, we rested.  By now, our feet really were hurting.  It seemed like we had walked hundreds of miles.  So we headed back to the area where they gondola had left us.

When we got there, we noticed there was a little snack shop where you could buy chips and drinks with a little area outside that had tables and chairs.  We bought some food (finally! I was getting weak with hunger) and sat outside in the sunny, but cool air.

A family came over and asked to share our table with us, and we, of course, agreed.  Well this family had a black Lab just like the two dogs we left at home, Lola and Dakota.  We were dying to pet the pup, but we wanted to be polite.

“Do you speak English?” we asked.
“A little”, they answered. “Sprechen sie Deutsch?” they asked us (that means—Do you speak German?).
“No…where are you from?” we asked them.
They laughed. “Sofia”.  And here we thought they had come all the way from Germany.  “Sprechen sie Bulgarian” Mark told them.

Ahahahaha.  He is sooooooo funny.  Well, the family at least thought so.  Good, now we have our “in” to pet the dog….

“So, what is your dog’s name?” we asked, all sly.
“Ahhh, like Leonardo daVinci”, I said.
“Like Leonardo diCaprio”, Mark said.
“Like daVinci, not diCaprio” they said.

Oops again.  Good thing they were forgiving!  We asked to pet him and they let us.  He was so so so so cute, just like ours back home.  While we were playing with Leo, we realized how much we missed our dogs and got a little sad.  So we decided to head back down the mountain and go look at pictures of them…

Even though we had a rough start to the day, we really enjoyed our time on Vitosha.  Living in the city is loud, dirty and full of people.  The mountains were clean and quiet and had fresh air.  And now, Mark is already planning like 200 ski trips to all the mountains around!