A Long Weekend in Godlevo

This article is a backup from the “Bulgarian bits” series in my Medium writings.

Hello, hello! This is the second “Bulgarian Bits”: my stuff about Bulgaria you may not care about. Nevertheless, I’ve got time and willingness, and I’ll supply you with it, whether you want it or not!

I promised yesterday that I’d put a few words about how we did during our long weekend. We got March 3rd till Marc 5th: three days off! When we planned this weekend, based on previous experience, we still hoped for snowy late winter, e.g., “maybe Bansko ski resort would be good for skiing.”

Usually, we’d book in a hotel just 20 minutes from the cable car (or 45, if you prefer to avoid waiting 3 hours to get to the tracks). Each morning I’d drive my people to the cable car, leave them there, go and have a pleasant, calm, productive, or just lazy and slow day, and then pick them up when they’re ready to return. This ensures a great time for everyone: I hate Bansko skiing because of the crazy amount of people, long lines, and lack of skiing culture. And the rest of my family love skiing so much that they tend to ignore this and still ski. It’s a match made in heaven :).

But there was no snow these weeks. The ski resort had just a couple of ski tracks open, and it was absolutely out of mind for someone who had spent great, sunny, and fun six days skiing in Italy to torture themselves with the current ski conditions in Bansko. So we decided to leave the ski equipment at home and have fun around.

We love Godlevo. It’s a village five kilometers from Razlog, which is 7 km from Bansko. It’s located in the foothills of Pirin Mountain. We had one favorite place, “Pripetzite” hotel, where we had already stayed for more than 30 nights throughout the past few years. The hotel faces the ski tracks and has a southern, beautiful meadow, which collects a lot of sunshine (when there’s sun). Unfortunately, the hotel was busy, so we had to find something else.

Fortunately, we were lucky to book an apartment in the guest house “Asenova kashta”, which is right in front of this hotel. It’s much smaller but quite cozy. It was our first time there, and we loved it. We got two spacious rooms with double beds. Since our second son refused to come with us and stayed home alone, we went just with our daughter, who was thrilled to have the room for herself.

We arrived Friday late afternoon. First, we left a bit late(r) than anticipated. Starting from Sofia at 12:30 took us down from the passage Simitli-Razlog around 13:45. While I was driving, my wife suggested that it would be great to go to another hotel we love, Katarino Spa, even if just for a quick coffee. I knew that place had a charging station, and I wanted to try it, so it did not take more convincing, so we had a lazy one-hour (and a bit more) coffee and ice cream there.

Godlevo, and the guest house, were only a twenty-minute drive from the hotel. The plan was to do a quick check-in and then drive to Regnum Spa in Banya village, where my girls planned to spend two to three hours in the water. I had another plan: to go to Bansko and get more energy in the car’s battery while doing some personal work and fun.

After I left them, I chose the charging point at hotel “Asteri.” I wanted an AC charger since I wanted just 20 kWh of energy (I had about two hours), and I didn’t want to overburn my battery with a fast DC charging anyway. Once my girls called that they were done, I picked them up, and then we went back to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner.

The hotel has the typical “mehana”-style restaurant: a Bulgarian cuisine restaurant, which did great feeding us both evenings. Maybe the “typical Bulgarian music” came a bit too sharp for my taste (I hate one of the “typical Bulgarian” music genres, and their personnel seemed to love it). Still, apart from that, the staff was friendly, and the dishes were delicious.

The mountain road to the chalet.
On our way to “Yavorov” challet.

The next day, we went for a hike to Yavorov hut (also known as Yavorov Chalet), a mountain hut in the Pirin Mountains near Bansko. That was our second time there, so we knew the vicinity, but we wanted to try the “walking track” because the last time, we used the road. We left the car at the end of the asphalt road, and I started my Mapy.cz tracker, so we know how to keep to the actual walking track. However, this did not seem to help because, in the end, the first part of the hike went on the road: I missed a turn and then was too lazy to go back, so we continued on the road until the road, and the track had a joint turn.

When we reached that turn, it was evident it was going to snow. We anticipated this, so we were (kind of) prepared. What we did not expect was that when it snows, a steep walking track usually becomes much more slippery. Especially if (due to the increasing height) the new snow falls on top of the old snow, which has already turned into an icy, slippery surface. So, going up became a challenge, which we were lucky to complete without much fuss or incident.

A house, buried in 30–40 cm of snow.
The snow was around 30–40 cm (12–16 inches).

Yavorov Hut is situated at an altitude of 2,196 meters (7,205 feet) above sea level. When we reached it, the snow was intense, and everything around it was already covered with at least 30–40 cm (12–16 inches) of old snow. We stopped for an hour, dried what we could from our clothes, had a meal, and then started on our way back.

The mountain and the trees are expecting spring.
The mountain on the way down already welcomes the spring.

Despite the snow, the hike down was not troubling at all. Two hours later, we were back in the car. The rest of the evening was a pleasant, lazy rest, followed by a dine-in at the restaurant.

Today the weekend ended, so we were in a hurry to return home. Everyone had things to do, so nothing was planned for the day.

All and all, Godlevo did not betray us. Whenever we go there, we have a good rest and good emotions. We usually go there with friends, but this was a rare occasion when we went alone. And it was still quite good!

Maybe next time I’ll tell you more about our family. It’s not good to refer to “my wife” or “my daughter” as it’s too non-personal. The readers of my blog know about them, but this is Medium, and they need to be adequately acquainted with the readers here.

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