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Balkan Mountains rides, stationery (8 days)

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The riding base, where this holiday takes place, is situated on the northern side of the Balkan Mountains in the vicinity of the charming town of Apriltsi, facing the most fantastic panorama towards the range of the highest peak in the mountains – Mt. Botev (2376m a.s.l.), and Central Balkan National Park. Nowadays Apriltsi is a town, which has assembled 4 villages in the past. Many painters, musicians and writers have found the freedom to be creative in these surroundings and their houses are real workshops. But what fascinates most is the background of tempting mountains, promising unforgettable experiences and challenges, which you will be able to explore along with your riding guide.
This tour provides countless opportunities for all riders – from complete beginners to advanced riders. The program can be adjusted on spot depending on your level of experience: you can either trace the hidden trails in the woods or the green slopes of the mountains helped by our guides or make your first steps in the horseback riding. For the experienced rider there are many possibilities for challenging riding in the mountainous terrains. We ride through mountain rivers, up and down steep mountains and all other kinds of areas. And the terrain is for all types of riders. Our riding guides know what to show you if you’re experienced but also if you don’t have the experience yet. The biggest difference between the trails and a one base week is exactly here:a stay in the riding base is giving the experienced rider a lot of possibilities. For the less experienced we ride for a while near the base and when you get comfortable with horses and the equipment we ride out in the mountains – and also in all paces if you are for that.

Day 1. Welcome meeting at Sofia Airport. Transfer to the riding base (appr. 2,30hrs)
Day 2.
In the morning you will meet the horses for the first time. You will be briefed by the guides about the horses, the rules, the riding and sightseeing opportunities in the area. After lunch we will make a round tour on a horseback (3 hrs) to get an impression about the area of Apriltsi.
Day 3.
After breakfast we meet again the horses and leave the village towards the green meadows. Here we can ride in all paces including a real gallop for the experienced riders. Lunch will be done as a picnic by the river nearby. In a couple of hours more we eventually get back in the riding base.
Day 4.
Today we will ride up in the mountains above 1000m a.s.l., where we will have lunch.
Day 5.
The ride today will be over the hill top of Ostrets and Peperi – under the Black Peak (1500 m a.s.l.) to a small monastery. Lunch in the monastery garden and ride back to the riding base through lush meadows.
Day 6.
The Central Balkan National Park is the target for our ride today. We pass by the Vidima Waterfalls and explore the greenery and the nature of this particularly beautiful place.
Day 7.
Now that you know a lot about the areas around Apriltsi you will be able to decide along with the rest in the group whether to go for one more ride in the mountains or to investigate the low hilly terrains and the small villages scattered among them. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Day 8.
Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.

Accommodation: When you choose a week in the riding base you will stay in the same house every day and you will have the possibility to follow the typical daily life in a small town, where the goats are still walking along the streets and the chickens live in the backyard. We have several possibilities: in our basic tour is included private accommodation. Usually you will stay in a house together with the other riders in double rooms with WC/shower on the floor. The stay is with full board and all meals are enjoyed in the house or outside in the garden. During the daily rides a picnic is organized for lunch or you bring a lunch package.
Another option is to stay in one of the small hotels (additional fee), some of them with swimming pool. We can arrange the accommodation exactly the way you want it.

Departure dates for 2018: Every Saturday – all year;

Additional adventure: Depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions an extended mountain ride with an overnight can be organised during the stay. Payment on spot.

Price:
€ 830 per person
Single room supplement: 15 Euro per person per night (in hotels only)
The price includes: transfers from/to Sofia Airport on set times, 7 nights in Apriltsi based on private accommodation in 2-3-bedded en-suite rooms, full board, fully equipped “own horse” & riding guide (English-speaking) for 6 days.

Horses: There are more than 25 horses in the riding base – all of them in good condition and trained to ride in the mountains; Most of the horses are of the East Bulgarian breed and crossings with Arabians and local horses; The East Bulgarian breed is well known as tough, thoughtful and wise, and in harmony with the famous strength and power of the Arabian it gives a combination that fully satisfies the riders and the challenges in the nature; The average size is 160-165 cm. The saddles are Western (Australian or American). There are small saddlebags.
Saturday: 
Saturday is arrival/departure day. Accommodation before/after the ride is available upon request.
Transfer from/to Sofia: The riding base is situated about 180 km from Sofia or about 3 hours by car. We arrange one transfer for arrival and one transfer for departure. In the airport all guests are met by our transfer guide with a sign. We recommend arrival to Sofia Airport not later than 18:00 and a flight for departure after 12:00. The time of departure to the mountains from the airport and from the mountains to Sofia airport is arranged according the timetable for latest arriving guest – earliest departing guest. If a guest is having a stay in Sofia before/after the riding holiday the meeting/farewell point is still in the airport. Meeting time will be announced 8-10 days prior to arrival.
Individual transfer: Individual transfer or transfers at times not corresponding with the above are available at an additional fee of 150 EUR per car (up to 3 persons) one way. Individual transfer has to be confirmed in advance and the additional fee is to be paid in advance. In case of flight delays we need information as soon as possible during the Saturday. If the delayed arrival is later than 18:00 the extra charge is the same as for
the individual transfer.
Full board: First meal is dinner on day of arrival and last meal is breakfast on day of departure. Mineral water at all meals included. For vegetarians we kindly ask you to let us know if you are eating milk and eggs products and also fish. All kinds of diets (including vegan, diabetic, gluten, lactose etc.) to be confirmed separately.
Currency: We recommend that you exchange to leva (BGN) before arriving to Bulgaria. In Sofia airport you do have a last chance from an ATM. You do not need a lot of money as the stay is all inclusive (besides from soft drinks, beer, wine etc.) and of course if you visit one of the small cafes or shops in one of the villages. 100-150 BGN per person is a fair guess of how much you need for a week.
The weather in the mountains: We use these sites: www.yr.no (search: Apriltsi, Lovech (Bulgaria)) and www.wunderground.com – find Bulgaria and check Botev Vrah (this station is perfect for the trails as you pass very near to the top). Other stations you can use is: Lovech and Plovdiv – most probably the weather will be a mix of the information you find here. You must always bring warm clothes and rain gear to the mountains even if you have seen a weather forecast promising sun and 25C.
Riding gear: The horses are saddled and ready for the riders – you only bring your personal equipment: Riding helmet – recommended!!! Riding boots/jodhpurs/western boots (please make your own choice as long as you feel comfortable and they have a heel), riding pants and chaps (ordinary jeans are not recommended, preferable is cowboy riding jeans for the purpose), and gloves. (Spurs are not needed). Remember natural insect repellent for the horse and yourself.
Gear for the day: You’ll find saddlebags at the riding base. During the day you bring only what is needed for the day. A fleece, rain gear, sun block, wet wipes, camera and water bottle. Remember to have your passport and insurance with you all the time.
Towel: For the overnights in the mountains you’ll need to bring your own towel.
You can choose to pack like this:
We recommend that you do not bring more than 15 Kg and that you use a duffel bag / sports bag. The reason is that on a trail your luggage will be loaded in and out of the cars many times and it is important that you don’t bring more than you need. Put your clothes in plastic bags – it is practical when you stay overnight a new place every day. Also remember a torch, towel, wetwipes.
Riding clothes:
> Comfortable riding trousers or cowboy jeans + chaps (ordinary jeans will rub all the wrong places).
> T- Shirts / shirts.
> 1 fleece / thermal top.
> Socks + underwear.
> 1 wind-& water proof (riding)-jacket.
> Rain gear – jacket and pants/poncho.
> Riding boots – Riding helmet – Riding gloves.
Spare clothes:
> Spare shoes / sandals, 1 pair of trousers, t-shirt /shirt/sweater. Night clothing / Socks / Underwear.
> Indoor shoes.
Others:
> Water bottle. Cap & sunglasses (for riding!).
> Pocket knife / Torch / Binoculars/ Book / Pen & paper,
> Camera with accessories
> Toiletries inclusive tissues / Wet wipes & bathing shoes.
> Towel (for the trail!).
> Personal first aid kit: Please remember your own doctor is the right person to give you an advice!
> Plasters, Band-aids, Insect repellent, After bite cream, Sun cream, Lip balm, > Painkillers (headache or other mild aches and pains), Antiseptic cream / pads, Calamine lotion. Medication for an upset stomach, Re hydration salts (to recover from upset stomach), throat lozenges a.o.
> Passport, money, insurance, travel documents.
From May to mid June & mid August to October:
> A scarf and warm clothes (also for the night).
> From mid June to mid August:
> Swim wear, shorts, sun shirts.
Mobile phones & electricity: You’ll have mobile coverage in Apriltsi and on the trails almost all the time. You’ll find free wi-fi only at the first and last night in Apriltsi – limited access. If you need data access please secure it for your devices before arrival. Electricity is 220 Volts. An adapter or a transformer may be required. It is normal that you find only one power outlet in each room.

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