Climbing Moldoveanu peak, the highest peak in Romanian mountains can be a easy job, or a hard one! For the four of us (Sarah, Hannah, David and me, Iulian) I can say it was a easy job with a wet ending, however it was great! The tour began in Balea Lac, with one day warm up, climbing Buteanu peak, one of the peaks over 2500 meters high from Romanian mountains, that offers one of the best views from all Fagaras range, but of course, you have to be there on the right time, otherwise is possible to just eat your sandwich in the clouds! We “chose”to be there at the very right time, and eating our delicious sandwiches was a real pleasure! During our sandwich break the weather was fantastic, as you may see from the photos below. As a compensation/bonus for of this good weather, we slept almost one hour near Capra lake, on our way down to the hut.
Next day we traversed to Podragu chalet, on the main ridge of Fagaras mountains, climbing Arpasul Mare and Mircii peak, where we also tried to sleep after lunch, but it wasn’t as a good nap as it was the day before. Finally we arrived at Podragu, and everything was alright on this day too.
Well the next day the climbing trip was here. The day started with very good weather and blue sky, so it was a pleasure to hike to Moldoveanu peak. Everything was fine except that on our way back to Podragu, the weather started to change. It was 3 o’clock in afternoon of July 17th, when the sky started to be black! Yes, you read correctly, B L A C K!
From all parts heavy clouds began to gather , we heard and saw some thunders and lightnings, so we hurried up to our hut. But maybe not as fast as we should, because on the final descent to Podragu hut the rain was pouring, strong and … nice 🙂 In maximum 10 minutes all was wet and small rivers appeared on the paths. Finally we arrived at the hut, and we were happy to watch the rain from inside! After 2 hours the sun was up again on the sky,so we started to dry our clothes.
On the final day of the tour we descended to Podragu & Arpasul Mare valleys to Victoria town, and everything was just fine. Sarah was leaving next morning back to London, while Hannah with David spent another week in Romania, visiting Sibiu, Sighisoara and Sinaia.
Iulian Cozma – www.mountainguide.ro
I can thoroughly and unreservedly recommend Iulian as a guide. We made lots of changes before our holiday even started and Iulian calmly accommodated them all. From the moment he picked us up at our hotel in Bucharest, to the moment he dropped us of in Brasov, we felt as if we were in very safe and competent hands. Our five day trek in the Fagaras Mountains was challenging at times but never uncomfortably so. He pitched it at just the right level. We never felt pushed beyond our limits, but at the same time felt pretty chuffed with our achievements, which included the highest peak in Romania, taking in stunning scenery, but also little dozes after a well deserved sandwich. You get the best service when traveling with Iulian, like the only private room in a rural cabana that mostly consists of dormitories. He also offers a priceless insight into the country and its history that you simply don’t get from the books.
Even after the trek had finished, Iulian planned an itinerary for our onward journey and even booked our hotels for us. He’s a fun, knowledgeable and kind man and really did enhance our trip. If you are sitting on the fence about whether you need a guide or not, I’d say get one and opt for Iulian. The mountains can be hazardous and it really put my mind at rest to know that Iulian would always get us to our destination pretty much before the rain arrived and always before we crumpled with exhaustion! We’d have been lost (quite literally) without him!
Hannah Frankel, Sarah Moreton, David Taylor from London, UK – 14-18 July 2009