Tag Archives: Carpathians

Cycling in the Carpathian Mountains

“Pushing through a damp, flower-decked meadow on the hilltop, we reach the edge of a narrow valley filled with giant bog rhubarb. Before he plunges down into it Nelu, the hunter, turns to me with a grin: “In this vegetation, the bears can just pop up – right in front of you!”

I am wishing that I had changed out of my cycling gear. These shoes have no grip and the shorts are much too tight for escape manoeuvres.

How did this happen, I ask myself, as I follow Nelu into the tall, spiky vegetation. Only an hour ago I was on a cycle tour in the Romanian mountains – now, fired up with plum brandy, I’m chasing bears through a landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm: steep-sided hills covered in flowers, deep gorges and dark brooding forests.”

Kevin Rushby is the Guardian’s “Grumpy Green columnist” and has very recently cycled through Romania’s remote mountains. Read his full story here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/mar/30/kevin-rushby-cycling-remote-romania

Thanks V. for the reference!

Ultimate survival – Transylvania

Bear Grylls, the Discovery Channel survival expert, has been dropped (literally) in the Transylvanian forest, a place “crawling with brown bears”. There you go, Bear.

If you want to have a first-hand look at the wild Carpathian mountains, check out the movies below. Carpathians are considered ideal for hiking, being not as high as the highest Alps, thus more accessible on foot, but high enough to be challenging (Bear can testify). As opposed to the Alps, you find wide uninhabited territories (or, at least, not by humans), great wildlife (read: “big”) and outstandingly diverse landscapes.

Here’s what happened to crazy Bear:

Part 1

Read more of this post

The Pilgrimage

CeahlauAs Explorish had guessed and warned against, I wake up at every stop of the train. At one such stop, I open my eyes and look outside to check which station it is, but don’t see any indication of a name anywhere. There’s no one around that I can ask.

As I am still rubbing my eyes, searching for a name, the train starts to crawl. A clock at the station says it is 1.30am. Bacău! This is where I was supposed to get down. Should I „pull the chain to stop the train” and get down? Neaah…then I’d have to wait at the station till 4.30 or so. Instead, I should go to the next station, and take the train back here, for trains are cozier than the stations.

It takes almost an hour to reach the next station, Adjud, which suits me fine as my train from Bacău is at 4.30 anyway. Asking around at the station, I discover that the next train to Bacău is at 3.30, which is cutting it a little bit too close since it is about an hour’s journey. It doesn’t matter now – the deed is done.

There is a sandwich shop open but they have no vegetarian food. Outside on the platform there is a bar-cum-game-saloon where I find a packet of potato wafers and pear nectar. The wind is cool and nice and I enjoy walking on the platform, which is deserted except for a stray dog sleeping in a dark corner.

My train arrives at its due time, and delivers me to Bacău in one hour. Unfortunately, I have missed the connection literally by seconds – I can see its tail rolling out of the station. The next train is at 9am. So I walk out of the gara and to the nearby autogara and minibus station. Nothing goes to Piatra Neamț. Read more of this post

Bucegi Mountains – living legends

Bucegi are probably the most hiked mountains in Romania, due to their straightforward location when you look up North from Bucharest.  Oh, and their beauty…

In old Romanian language “a bucegi” means “to choose” – these are “the chosen” mountains; and some of the events occuring in the area  (see below) give a true meaning to their name.

Two major tourist attractions are located at above 2200m altitude (2216m, to be precise): the Sphinx , an old stone looking like a human face, apparently formed by wind erosion, and the closeby ” Old Women” (Romanian: Babele), a rock formation resembling human silhouettes.

sfinxul

People talk about an old special traveling route in these mountains, called “the silver belt of the world”, 8 hours long and quite difficult, with a lot of ups and downs – yet at the end nobody feels tired, but relaxed and joyful. Some say that’s because this route overlaps with a major energy flux of the planet. It starts in Valea Doamnelor (The Ladies Valley), and continues to Omu Peak (2505m), the summer route of Babele, Piciorul Cocor, and the Ialomiţa Cave in Valea Horoabelor, the most beautiful valley in the Bucegi mountains.

The name of the Ialomiţa cave came from Read more of this post