A lot of things ...

I really have to excuse, now there was a really long time without an article on my Blog. It's not that there's nothing to talk about, for sure I'm not getting bored that easily.

As I already announced I've been to a CouchSurfing-Meeting in Borovets, a skiing-resort in the Rila-Mountains at the weekend of October 24th-26th.
The Meeting started on Saturday, but I wanted to go there on Friday and use the whole weekend, especially as I was told, that this place is very good for hiking. I finally found some fellows - two more Erasmus students from Germany and Latvia and a CouchSurfer from Bulgaria (who did Erasmus at Vienna University of Technology some years ago and was studying at the same university here in Sofia too). We started our trip with an evening hike. We met in Sofia shortly after 6pm and travelled to Боровец (Borovets) by bus and taxi and started hiking around 8:30pm. So it was already really dark and we had to use our head lamps. After about two hours we reached our place for the night ... a mountain hut. We were welcomed with a burning oven and candle light. We had some dinner and spend the rest of the evening playing cards.
Most of the next day we spent hiking, we hiked to one of the next peaks, Шатар (Schatar), with about 2500m over sea level. Unfortunately the weather was not very nice, it was very foggy and it even had some rain.

In the days after I got a nasty diarrhea with stomach cramps and fever ... not very funny, but after three or four days it finally got better. So I spent a lot of time at home, in my bed or in front of the TV.

On the weekend I joined my first Critical Mass in Sofia with a borrowed bicycle. You know, this is this an international movement of cyclists who meet and cycle through town to fight for more rights for cyclists and other alternative forms of transportation. Here in Sofia we are still a small group, we just were like a dozen people or so. Afterwards I was invited to the national radio for a concert - some psychedelic underground rock band was playing there, which was pretty got. I met the husband and a flat-mate of Rossi, the CouchSurfer where I spent my first two weeks. I had thought I might meet him there, because he is working at this radio.

On Sunday I went hiking again, this time on the Vitosha, the mountain close to Sofia, to it's highest peak, the Черни Връх (Cherni Vrah). This time we took it easy and used a chair lift for a part of our tour. Unfortunately the weather was again not very good.

Most of the last days I spent with my computer, because I'm working on a new web application (I also should study, I will do it tomorrow, promise!). I told you about the OpenStreetMap (OSM) before, which is a free alternative to Google Maps (and similar applications) and consists mainly of user generated content. I'm not very satisfied with the default view, as the public transport routes are not being displayed (at least not if you enter them in the preferred way). I was thinking about generating an own map style for a long time, and now I decided to just do it. The project is progressing quite nicely, and I think the OSM community will be quite excited about it. But at the moment I can't show you anything yet, I will write a special article on my blog when it's ready to be announced.

I could actually need some help with this project. I'm not very good at drawing and I need little icons for train, tram, bus and some more things. So if you want to help the open source community, this is your chance. :)

So, thanks for patience. Have a nice weekend!
Argyll (guest) - 10. Nov, 17:36


...still alive, i'm glad to read from you :-)
I did assume you would use your time in Bulgaria, but i had no clue as to how busy you are - i really enjoyed reading your comments about Istanbul and your mountain hiking tours as well as the nice photographs. Do you have any time left to study at all? *GGG* (not that i am as productive as i should be, Nutrition-Science-wise...). I really look forward to your oral narrative of all events plus your "moving pictures" presentation in 9 months time (?). Did you find an affordable apartment to live in yet? And i am quite curious about the manifold various people you met and places you saw - any more funny/strange/disturbing/interesting stories? Love to read your blog (and mails). Tru, argyll :-D

birgit (guest) - 14. Nov, 23:31

Hi Stephan!

I have to admit that I didn't follow your blog for quite a while now.
Seems like your stay has already paid off. One could get jealous.
Makes me wanna pack my backpack and hit the road again as well...Still got a postcard on my door (got it during my Erasmus stay - already 10 years ago!) saying: It's your planet - check it out.
Thought it's gradually getting time to settle down but your blog shows me that the spirit of adventure is still there...so many more places to go, things to see and to do.
Looking forward to seeing
Am curious to see how your Erasmus experience will change in the course of the year.

I miss you dropping by for a cup of tea in the evenings!

manu (guest) - 17. Nov, 23:53


hallo stefan-
hab dir bei couchsurfing eine nachricht zu dem osm-projekt geschickt. hast du die bekommen? würd mich freuen von dir zu hören :) du erreichst mich bei cs als "lesewesen" oder unter lesewesen@googlemail.com.
lieber gruß, manu