Well, I’ve been chastised for not posting anything for nearly two weeks. All I can say is: blogging can be a chore. If you look at my friends' blogs, you will notice that (with the exception of Ryan) they all post considerably less often than me, so get off my back, gosh! ;-) (BTW, congratulations are in order for two couples on the birth of their third child: Mike & Susanna and Daniel & Edmary—hats off to you!)
So, the previous weekend (Feb. 17) started with a party on Friday for Brian (former Peace Corps volunteer) and Maria (Bulgarian law student), who got married on the following Monday. They have been quite serious since I’ve known them, and to avoid getting his visa renewed every month, he decided to go ahead and tie the knot now. His family came from the US and everything! I assume most of my readers will find it hard to believe that an American would actually get married to stay in Bulgaria, but this is not the first person I know of that has done so. (Don’t read anything into that; I’ll be happy to leave in October!)
Despite the warmer weather, I went to Vitosha that Saturday to continue my streak of skiing 5 weeks in a row. Unfortunately I left disappointed. No lifts were running to the top of the mountain, and the lower parts were melting and icy. Never the less, I got one run in, and with this last weekend’s excursion, I am now at 6 weekends in a row!
Then, on Sunday I met 3 Hash House Harriers for another, more extended snow shoeing expedition. We drove west, nearly to the Serbian border, where we hiked all day up and down a mountain call “Руй” (see picture at Weatherunderground.) This turned out to be a very remote area; any Bulgarian I’ve told about our trips says that they haven’t even been out in that direction. Our guide was an Australian miner whose is looking for “gold in them there hills.” Actually he’s the CEO of a mineral exploration company that employs scores of geologist in an effort to determine the feasibility of mining in this historically gold rich area. The most amazing thing he showed us was the still visible evidence of Thracian gold mining activities from over 2,000 years ago! At the end of the day, we were thoroughly exhausted—I think we bit off a little more than we could chew. In related new, I’ve noticed that I have been losing weight in the last few weeks despite being off the bike for over 7 months now; skiing and snowshoeing can certainly be good aerobic exercise.
Last Friday we (except for Paris—who was in Istanbul) met at the fortress of solitude (American Embassy) for a party at the Marine house. Again, there was a distinct aura of being in a little slice of America. However, I didn’t stay up too late because I knew I had to be up and ready to go at 7:30 the next morning to meet Ryan and Shelly for our trip to Borovets. We skied all day, again to the point of exhaustion. For whatever reason, I didn’t feel as strong or confident on skis as two weeks ago. I guess it is like anything else; sometimes you just have an off week.