A team of 5 – David, Eli, Georgi and Pavleta plus an experienced mountain guide and climbing coach – Matthew Mateev, who, along with David (another experienced mountaineer), ensured the children stayed safe and secure in the Great Outdoors while also providing information about the natural environment and tips about life in the mountains, rock climbing and the climate at high altitude.
On the first day after arrival and after a brief rest and detailed instruction on behavior in the mountains the whole group took a walk to a high meadow, from where a magnificent view opened up towards Sevlievo. The children listened with interest when Matthew and David talked about the different types of herbs, trees and animals that surrounded them and also the stories connected with the historical events that took place in the region over the years.
On the second day – Tuesday – the whole group climbed Ispolin, a modest but rugged peak, (1532 metres high and about 3 hours away from the hotel). Nobody among the children had climbed a mountain and they were uncertain about their success. However, during the walk they were giving each other encouragement, walked carefully on the lookout for snakes while curiously surveying the forest through which the path was leading. The final part of the climb was up steep, grassy banks and over. The less confident kids crawled on all fours while the bolder kids ran through it in one breathe. Ultimately, every one came to the top, tired, sweaty but happy.The kids said “it worth the efforts”. The same evening the adults from the group staged a disco as a reward for the success.
On the third day, Wednesday, the whole group went for a walk to “Hlebna” chalet, which is about 2 hours away from the hotel, passing through the incredibly beautiful forest. Arriving at the hut, the children had the opportunity to play football, volleyball, ride bikes, which were graciously provided by the manager.
After we returned to the hotel, we all had a short break for a little rest and then 8 kids from the group accompanied David, Matthew, Eli and Gosho to the nearby rocks to allow the children to do some roped climbing. Poli stayed behind at the hotel to entertain the rest of the kids, who’d decided that rock climbing wasn’t for them.
The cliff was about 20 metres high. The children were well supervised by David and Matthew who are experts at this sort of thing. Ten children were willing to try and all of them made it to the top. They all had a great fun and it was a huge challenge for them. All would like to enroll in courses in mountaineering, which Matthew organizes and continue rock climbing as part of the autumn programme at the complex.
Later that evening, after singing around a bonfire, we held a disco again that continued until late.
On Thursday morning, the group visited the ethnographic centre at Etara en route for Ruse…
We all got home tired but well satisfied with our adventures.
The challenge was considerables for both the children and the supervisors who recorded the reactions of the children who were placed in unusual and challenging situations. The adventures provoked hidden and oppressed emotions, insecurities and fears of both children and leaders.
All the youngsters were pleased with the adventure and the most common question asked by them on the way home was “Will you take us somewhere again the next summer?”.