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Metodiy Ganchev – Mount Vitosha and Helping Others in Need

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Traventuria is starting a project of meeting our website visitors with our guides, partners and travel professionals from Bulgaria. We are interviewing them with a set of questions about their side interests and about different destinations in Bulgarian – what they love about them and what they recommend to foreign tourists. For an ease, we are naming the initiative a blog, though it does not fit well in thе notion of a blog.

Metodiy Petrov Ganchev – Meto is the youngest guide working for Traventuria. He is with a pleasing and romantic character and very easy to get along with. Despite his age, he has many interests and significant achievements that make us proud to be his colleagues. Meto is the author of a book of stories and a novel on its way. He is a marathon runner and a mountaineer who volunteers for keeping in check the medkits on some the hiking paths on Mount Vitosha. He graduated archaeology and keeps close to his heart the passion for the research and study of ancient civilizations. Meto is a very charismatic, calm and positive person that is nice to have by your side during a hike in the mountains.

1. Which is your favourite route in Mount Vitosha? Which are the most breathtaking views along the way?
Vitosha mountain is magnificent because there are so many different trails, but the route I love most is from the Village of Jeleznica to the Black peak – the highest summit of the mountain. It doesn’t matter if its winter or summer, the trail is with an average difficulty. But if you feel an exhaustion just look behind and you can see the mountain of wisdom- Rila, for an advise.

2. Tell us a bit about your Vitosha mountain first aid kit initiative. Where have you placed them and how did you choose the locations?
I was inspired by the words of Guiseppe Garibaldi, who once said: “To be born, to eat, to drink, to live and in the end to die can be done even by a bug. If you want to be a human, you have to help others.”

I placed some wooden emergency boxes in the mountain, not only to help people in a crisis situation but to give them hope. I chose their locations in places, which are an hour away from every hut. I didn’t think, that the boxes will survive more than one season, but some of them are still there!  The biggest surprise came when I found that other people, unknown to me, started putting meds and tools inside as well.

If you’re alone in a cause, it’s like throwing a stone into the sea… and it sinks. If others believe in your purpose and follow you, the stones in the water will increase. Together you all create the wave. The wave of change. For the upcoming winter, I have plans to replace the old boxes with new ones.

3. The highest peak of the Vitosha mountain is the Black peak (Cherni vrah). What is the most interesting thing about it? 

This is one of the windiest peaks of Bulgaria, the weather there is very changeful, very variable. Probably, it is due to a legend. 🙂  According to the legend a lady, called Vita, reached the highest peak and she started singing because she believed the song would resurrect her love from the dead. But she was cursed by her mother only because she loved one simple shepherd and a lighting hit her. That’s why the peak is called Black. But when I’m there I think positive and always forget about it.

4. Which dishes are worth trying when making a stop at a mountain hut in the Vitosha mountains? Is there anything unique and absolutely worth tasting at a particular hut?

When you reach the Black peak you have to reward yourself for the efforts. Go inside the shelter and ask the owner for shkembe chorba (tripe soup) – known in Bulgaria as the hangover soup. Most foreign tourists find it disgusting, but Bulgarians are accustomed to it. If you are a foreigner – give it a try.  It is prepared from milk, meat from the cow’s stomach, red hot pepper and garlic. But this soup is better than every painkiller. Once I was with one man from California and we walk for more than 10 hours. Before the end, we stopped in one hut and we ate shkembe chorba. He told me this was the best soup made for humans…but he was very exhausted, so you can consider very hard to fully believe him.

In the area of Opheliite I tried for first time nettle mash, because the tavern was ran out of shkembe. I liked it and sometimes when I pass through that area, I make a quick stop for a warm mash.

5. Which is the most impressive natural phenomenon in the Vitosha mountain in your opinion? 

The karst spring “The living water”. In the past, travellers called the spring “The fountain of happiness”. There is a belief that the water runs only for people without sins, but the truth is that the flow of the spring depends on the season and the overall rainfall.

6. What is the Torfino Branishte Reserve and what is interesting about it?

The area is full of algae and moss and for its preservation is forbidden for tourists to go there.

Travententuria is a leading provider of hiking day and multi-day tour in Bulgaria. The full list of our hiking tours is visible on www.bulgariawalking.com

Enjoy the pictures Meto has selected to illustrate this post.

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