Stuart and Liam flew to Romania on an extended weekend to hike the Carpathians, set foot on the highest peak and experience some of authentic rural lifestyle. Sounds like a simple plan, and in many way it was, but most of the times the great satisfactions come out of really simple things.
Iulian’s grandma house in Ucea de Sus village proved to be the ideal starting point to the mountain adventure. Proper traditional food (“carne și cârnați la borcan”, good luck finding that in any traditional Romanian restaurant) and a carefully renovated old house as accommodation helped the two Brits quickly immerse into the Romanian ways. And paths, as we were hiking up the Făgăraș ridge for the following days, including some steep, rocky sections around Moldoveanu Peak and on the crests towards Balea Lake and the famous Transfăgărășan road. Three days of intensive hiking and long discussions on various topics related to the ABC of international affairs (A for Arsenal, B for Brexit and C for Chelsea).
One evening in Brașov City Center, then a loooooong hike in Bucegi before the takeoff. Great hike, happy days, nice guys :). The Brits might have voted out of the EU in terms of politics, but in body and mind they are still around.
Horia, August 2016
After planning to visit Romania, we were lucky enough to find Iulian’s website which offered exactly what we were looking for, which included four great hikes! An added bonus was that the accommodation included a stay in a local village (Iulian’s parent’s house), in mountain huts, plus one night in a nice city (Brasov).
We got picked up from Sibiu airport by one of Iulian’s colleagues, Horia, who was also our guide for the four days. The first night was a fantastic introduction to Romania, getting to try a huge range of local food, all fantastically prepared my Iulian’s mum, Olimpia. And as a surprise even got to try fresh water-buffalo milk from a neighbour’s cattle after seeing them return in the evening – delicious!
After a big breakfast our first days hike took us up to Podragu hut in the Fagaras mountains, then the second day took us to Romania’s highest peak, Moldoveanu peak, which was a great hike with spectacular views. Along the way, Horia was a great source of local information, not just on the mountains, but on Romania as a whole. The third day was a more technical hike to Balea lake. This hike again had great scenery, and I really enjoyed the scrambling sections of the hike – especially the walks along the ridge of the mountain!
After these three days of hiking we were taken back to Iulian’s parent’s house for probably the biggest meal I’ve ever seen, then on to Brasov, which was a really attractive city to relax, have a beer, then a quick bite before heading for some much needed rest!
We finished the trip with a great hike in a less mountainous landscape, which made a nice change, then on to Bucharest airport before returning home. The trip was well organised, we got to see spectacular scenery, got a taste of the local culture and had a fantastic guide who offered a wealth of information – we couldn’t ask for more really!
Stuart and Liam, London UK, August 2016