Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Move

Rudartsi is quite an extensive village spa, spread along the sides of a valley which is dominated by the Vitosha National Park. It is about 25 kilometres from Sofia and about 14km from Pernik.
Surrounded by nature, with mineral water springs and tremendous views, Rudartsi is really beautiful. The main attraction in summer is the swimming pools complex, fed by the mineral springs which flow from the mountain. The complex is situated in the centre, a few hundred metres left of the road from Pernik, When you see the circular Mineral Spring Building, by the few white fruit and vegetable units, turn left there. There are three pools and also a restaurant, snacks, waffles, an ice cream stall and bars. 
Rudartsi also has several restaurants and, just as you enter the village from the Pernik direction, a wonderful little home made bread shop, which also sells dough, milk and yoghurt.
There are marked paths up and over the Vitosha Mountain, 2390 metres at its highest point which is the Black Peak. Well marked signs point you in the right direction, also at various places, stations or huts where you can rest and cook. If you want to walk up there in summer, I suggest you start very early because of the heat later in the day.
When, as I said, we were looking for houses in various places and we decided on Rudartsi, I was pleased that Rudartsi is, as I say "on the Greece road". It is only 160 kilometres from the Greek border. Rather than having a south facing garden in England, we now have a south facing mountain. It is surprising how there is a noticeable difference in the weather compared to the north side particularly in autumn and winter. The sun shines a bit longer and the air is often clearer with blue skies, when Sofia is misty and cloudy. 
Minibuses operate every hour to Sofia (30 minutes) and Pernik (20 minutes) which begin their route from Kladnitsa, which is the next village higher up the mountain. You can drive up to Kladnitsa and begin your walk at a higher point. Or you can just sit there and enjoy the views of the the distant Rila Mountain, the highest in the Balkans at 2925 metres.

Mineral Springs

Rudartsi Pools, also known as the Beach.

Vitosha Mountain

So the day finally arrived. On 10th of June we took a taxi loaded with bits and pieces from Sofia. Winding our way through the pass that leads through the mountain we arrived in Rudartsi.
It was such a relief that we were finally there. The previous owners had been very kind to let us store my furniture there and they had moved out the previous day in order to make it much more convenient for us. I don't think it necessary to describe the detail. Suffice to say that our house, like most in Rudartsi and many in Bulgaria for that matter, is three storeys high. It was quite an exercise to walk upstairs and also back down carrying whatever. My thighs certainly knew they had done it. We did not bring everything in immediately though because we had arranged for the interior to be decorated. 
So after dinner, we spent our first blissful night, marvelling at the stars through the open window, to the sound of the sweetly flowing stream outside and a lone cricket clicking away in the warm evening.

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