Backpacking in Romania

After travelling accross the breadth of europe by train from england we arrived in Brasov (close to the carpathian mountains) at 5:00 in the morning, bleary eyed and tired i jumped out of the train to meet a tall Romanian with a large and welcoming grin on his face. From the start he was great; inviting and informative speaking near perfect english and knowing a great deal about romanian culture. My first impressions of Iulian were positive and throughout the trip I learnt how steadfast, proffesional and experienced he was at mountaineering. Despite his evident experience as a mountainguide he showed passion for the job which was quite surprising and made the whole experience one i will never forget. I would definitley recommend Iulian to anyone who needs a mountainguide in romania: you quite simply will not find anyone better. The aim of my venture scout group (the 5th Cambridge) was to complete an 8 day charity work scheme and an 8 day trek. Both of these had been organised by Iulian inclusive of helping us find houses to stay in during our charity work (including is grandmothers house) and taking us to the best shops to purchase food and supplies for the whole expedition. Without him the whole expedition would most definitley been a lot more costly. I would like to write about the trekking stage in full detail but i feel i will have to write many pages to do justice to Iulian and his guidance. However I can say that the trek was breathtaking with Iulian taking care of us every step of the way whether through hints and tips on packing/ walking speed/ tent pitching, feeding us chocolate when we were tired or finding a warm rescue hut when the fog came down and bad weather came in. Throughout all this he walked around with a big grin on his face and kept us all going. A particularly memorable point was the ascent of the highest peak along the carpathian ridge when our AS exam results were to come in by satelite phone. Iulian asked what all the excitement was about and could see how tense i was and just said ‘nah don’t worry about exams you’ve got to cross that (scary looking) ridge (traverse; as he likes to call it) to reach the real peak as the one we were on was actually a false peak. That put things in perspective as i concentrated on controlling my fear of heights to reach the peak (one of the best points of the whole expedition for me). After our 8 day trek we went on to paint a school within Ucea de sus where Iulian’s grandmother lived and i spent memorable days listening to romanian music on the radio and painting a romanian school in bright colours in the blistering heat. The whole experience was amazing and Iulian with his SLR camera of the peaks we had climbed. He even went to the effort to travel with us to the capital to show us to the airport and make sure we were safely on our way before saying his goodbyes. If you are interested in trekking, skiing, mountain photography or rambling in the carpathian mountains, without doubt Iulian is the mountainguide you will gain the most from. It does not matter how experienced you are he has so much experience, knowledge and passion that you cannot leave without having had an amazing time. I certainly gained a great deal from the trip and i can only say thankyou to him for his hard work and guidance.

Ben Parker 18 (United Kingdom) – Fagaras traverse from Rudarita tu Suru, Augus 2007