A group of mountain lovers decided to mark the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia with a four-day trekking in Pirin Mountain. Dimitar Dimitrov who was attracted to the mountains when he was still a small child is their certified mountain guide. He grew up in the town of Etropole situated in the Balkan Mountain Range where people are rock-solid, His mother used to work at the Museum of Natural Science and he spent all his holidays in the nature.
Now Dimitar shows the people the beauty of Bulgaria and takes them to popular and less-popular tourist destinations. On September 6 he and his company are planning to summit Vihren mount in Pirin (the second-tallest peak in Bulgaria- 2, 914 meters). The old name of Vihren is Eltepe (the peak of the storms). It reveals wonderful views to the geographic regions Thrace, Mizia and Macedonia which represented the ideal of the people who fought for the unification of regions populated with Bulgarians.
Dimitar tries to find the things that connect people. “Borders are not horizontal. They are vertical”, says Dimitar. The borders do not divide or separate people, but rather make them develop their capabilities. What kind of people go to the mountains?
Their profile is different just like the profile of our colleagues at work or the passengers in the underground. However, one thing unites them- they are ready to rely on their own capabilities, knowledge and skills. They go in the nature and do not feel any fear. They respect the nature, but they have no fear. Of course, they are well prepared and rely on the help of a professional. They demonstrate a strong will to leave their comfort zone. They wake up on Saturday morning and instead of being lazy in bed all day they make efforts and become exhausted knowing they are not going to a luxurious hotel.
Later, they are rewarded by the breathtaking scenery and the satisfaction that they manage to overleap themselves. It is in our human nature to look for our identity and the meaning of life. The mountain is one of the places we can find them. Many young and elderly Bulgarians tend to walk along fairly well-organized tourist routes in this country. Our generation may seem quite spoiled and stunted, because we often eat fast food, go to bed late and do not take good care of our health, although organic foods and gym have become very popular recently. We are also very busy and stressed out. However, the previous generations were more energetic and robust. The tourist movement in Bulgaria was established shortly after the liberation from the Ottoman Rule and has served through the years as a very good example.
Can physical weakness and illnesses make us avoid trips in the mountains?
The mountain heals. The illnesses are due to physical and psychological factors of our daily routine. The surgeries and the medicines do not cure the causes of our illnesses. They treat the consequences. The best medicine is to do things that will uplift our spirits.
English version: Kostadin AtanasovPhotos: private library