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  • Day80

    Spiritual mountains

    August 17 in Bulgaria ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Hiking day for a change. In order to beat the crowds who take the lift up to the mountains, we started our hike from our camp at 7am. 550m higher, we left the forest trails and came into a more mountenous area. Here, the 7 Rila Lakes hike started. We were surprised to see many people up there already, mainly elderly women who had slept in the hotel in the mountain. Luckily, there was a climb at the beginning of the trail, so we could overtake pretty much all of them within the first 15 minutes.
    Maybe 30 minutes later, we arrived at a meadow next to the "Kidney Lake" which looked like a popular picnic spot. Some 10-15 people had stopped there. We were a bit confused as most of them started to change into white clothes. At a closer look, we saw rocks on the ground, laid out in huge circles. We decided to wait a little and more and more people arrived from all sides, all wearing or changing into white dresses. One of the younger ladies told us in broken English they were going to dance in circles when we asked her what this was all about. As it got too cold to sit and wait, we hiked further up a mountain and half an hour later, the ceremony started and we could observe from high above. Probably about 200-300 people had come to participate in what's called "Paneurhythmie". It's some cult of a white brotherhood which takes place only some days in August in the Rila mountains. People follow some ritual dance practices, move in circles, dress in white, some musicians playing in the middle of the circles. For those of you interested, google it 😉
    However, we continued our hike along the lakes as it got cloudy already. Further away from the ceremony, we didn't meet any other people, so we could enjoy the nature. We also hiked all the way down instead of taking the lift, as we preferred to spend the lift money on lots of food in the hut where we could camp.
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