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  • Day81

    Rila Monastery

    August 18 in Bulgaria ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Our day started with a great 30km downhill until we reached a bigger town to have breakfast. Afterwards, the more exhausting part started. We could follow some back roads at first, then turned into the valley of Rila.
    The valley is very scenic. The villages are full of vineyards hanging around most of the houses. On both sides, the mountains rise pretty high which leads to scenic views. We climbed about 600m with sweet tail winds until we arrived at Rila Monastery. It's probably the most beautiful monastery we've ever seen and it's in the middle of the mountains. Definitely a cultural highlight of our trip.
    We weren't sure where to sleep at night. On the way up, we had found some ok spots for wild camping as well as camping next to a hotel, but nothing was really convincing. However, about 1.5km behind the monastery, we found a campground in the middle of nature which we liked, so we pitched our tent. All afternoon and evening, we could hear the thunder in the mountains and even see the dark clouds. But so far, we've stayed dry. Let's cross fingers for the night!
    Funnily, where we are now is roughly only 6km away from where we hiked yesterday - as the crow flies. However, on the bikes, we had to cycle more than 80km and even descend to 400m above sea level in between.
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