Adding ten days of hiking in Transsilvania to our down-the-Danube cycling trip Annabel and I sought to top off one adventure with another. Logically, our erratic way of communication should have led us straight into the desert, but thanks to Iulian’s golden patience we got golden Horia to take us through Postavaru, Piatra Craiului, Bucegi and Fagaras Mountains. A somewhat unseasonal snow storm greeted us upon arrival in Brasov October 1st. Our exceedingly wild expectations matched only by our exceedingly lacking equipment, we would have probably been rendered apoplectic by the apocalyptic weather quite soon, had Horia not subtly and effectively healed us from our misgivings. A practice round and an extensive shopping trip later we were much better prepared to embark on our trekking trip. The autumn landscape was completely frozen over – the roads were lined with fully laden apple trees breaking down under the weight of the snow; the noise of walking through the forest was a bizarre mix of leaf-rustling and snow-crunching. Even so and even if the weather wasn’t technically ideal in the following days, it made the whole trip really as exciting and extraordinary as it was.
Horia patiently endured Annabel and my constant garrulousness, tragic blindness to Romanian jokes and proved a fount of wisdom facing our spring flood of insipid questions. We cannot imagine a better guide, forager and conversationalist to take a hike around Romania with.
Depending on the conditions each day he would decide the route; every day was a fun physical challenge and different from all the others in terms of where we were walking, what we were seeing and learning about and which dogs we befriended. Some days we crossed bear trails, on others ski tracks. A particular favourite of ours was the Bacarciu mountain hut complete with legendary hosts, open-air ice-water shower surrounded by dog-sized donkeys and donkey-sized dogs and a view worth many a diamond. It has been said before and we will say it again: as hard as we try, we cannot remember being bored for a minute even during those ten days. Perhaps Eden isn’t lost; perhaps it’s just a little frozen over. Winter is coming!
Antonia and Annabel, October 2013- photos here