Poetry in green – the eco-trail near Apriltsi
By Radoslav Raikov
There are places that a man dreams to visit. There are places that a man never wants to see.
And there are places which one would give everything for, but they exist only in his imagination – because he doesn’t know that there, beyond the horizon, they exist indeed – charming, wild, heavenly… One of these places is the eco-trail “Vidimsko Praskalo”, built in the Balkan mountain, Bulgaria, just above the town of Apriltsi.
Reaching the eco-trail is a real adventure. With just a map in your hand, you feel like Indiana Jones.
The last hotel manager before the wild, where “you will meet only the bears”, as he likes to joke, will tell you that first, you have to get to the Water power plant, and starting from there the trail goes upwards.
In the beginning, it is wide and passes under a wooden arch with the inscription “Central Balkan National Park”.
Then you reach the Water power plant just when you are about to give up. There is a sign hung on the wire-netting saying: “Praskalska” street.
You are still in a region with streets although the word street has lost its meaning long ago when talking about the track of flowers and grass you are walking.
An Overgrown Path
You stride along a path, densely overgrown with deep green bushes, in the fresh shadows of which shy lilies-of-the-valley hide…
A bit further you come upon a low wooden fence and a gate with a sign for the eco-trail.
You open it, cross it, and then close it. That is what you should do. Across it, there is another world lying – unknown, mysterious, as if it is awakening from the legends of the Nordic people, inhabited by fairies and trolls…
Everything is sunk into dense greenery, even the sky and the silence are green darkly overhanging the trail – and it curves forwards, wandering away from the infinity of the woods. The trail
meanders amongst large rock pieces then squeeze below the huge trees of which are dangling strands of moss, crowned with raindrops.
The air is clean and light, moist and fresh as spring water, one could breathe calmly with no effort. Giant rocks hidden beneath piles of greenery that make them invisible until you approach, guard the trail.
A bear is engraved in one of them – the symbol of the “Central Balkan” National Park.
The First Bridge
It is time now for the first small bridge, made out of timber. It opens magical scenery of the vicinity of the eco-trail – the earth could be hardly seen, covered by a green carpet and fallen trees, where ants creep…
To the left, you could see the lair of an animal with a curtain of grass overhanging the entrance… or maybe a small, mischievous troll lives here and he could rush out with his shaggy head at any moment and startle you.
The travel along the eco-trail is a journey in fairy-tales and legends, dyed in green – not less than an hour you are
captured by the magic of nature and walk through the mythic land – tussocks, ferns, and nettle envelope the rocks and stones scattered near the trail.
It is quiet here – you could only hear the silk-soft sounds and the monotonous murmur filling the bushes.
You cross the second and the third small bridge, whose end lightens and you understand you have reached the waterfall – the path curves goes out of the green semi-darkness and climbs over piled-up moraines, beyond which the sea of greenery flows, surrounded by granite rock, split in the middle by the water.
The waterfall has dug out a gutter in the rocks in the distance that stops the horizon. The narrow channel increases the pressure of the water that literally erupts in the empty spaces below it.
This is the Vidimslo Praskalo – one perfect symphony of stone and water that changes constantly.
There are buses from Sofia to Apriltsi but the best way is by car from the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. Sofia has direct flights from many European towns. The driving distance from Sofia to Apriltsi is
Learn more about Apriltsi by visiting this website.
WHERE TO STAY
Centrally located in Apriltsi, on the edge of the Tsentralen Balkan National Park, Hotel Central comprises accommodation units with cable TV, an on-site restaurant, an outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi.
All rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with a corner bathtub and a shower. Some units include a spacious seating area as well. A well-equipped common kitchen is also available for self-catering.
The Center Hotel further offers a snack bar. Table tennis, organized trips in the National Park and horseback riding are also available.
A small ski slope is a convenient 4 km distance from the hotel, while the closest train station in Troyan is 28 km far from the Hotel Center
Enjoying a quiet location near the forest and a river, the Vila Verbena is located in Apriltsi at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountain. It consists of two houses built in 1898.
All rooms and suites have wrought-iron beds, a private bathroom, and a flat-screen satellite TV. Free Wi-Fi is available in the entire building.
Traditional Bulgarian cuisine is served in the restaurant and barbecue food can be enjoyed on the forest-views terrace during the summer months. Rent-a-car services are offered at Vila Verbena.
The Troyanski and Aprilski monasteries are 18 km away from the Verbena Vila. Shuttle services are available at an additional cost.
Located 9.7 km from Botev Peak in Apriltsi, Hotel Balkana features free Wi-Fi access and free private parking. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
Each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Certain rooms have views of the mountains or garden. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer.
You will also find a shared lounge at the property. Guests can enjoy various activities in the area, including biking, fishing and hiking. The hotel also provides bike rental.
This property also has one of the top-rated locations in Apriltsi! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area. website
Radoslav Raykov is a Sofia, Bulgaria-based freelance journalist who writes about travel, lifestyle, health, food, architecture, modern design projects. He has written for Bulgarian issues like Standart news, Odyssey, Bulgaria Travel, Capital Light, Story, Cherga BG, and many others as well as for foreign ezines like GoNOMAD.com, Bootsnall.com, and others.