It was freezing cold and pouring with rain the day I met Antonia and Annabel in the city center of Brasov. We were to discuss about our scheduled trekking tour up in the Carpathian Mountains and the weather wasn’t looking very promising.
I was in for a nice surprise. The two former Oxford students would not be put off by a few drops of rain, even if they hoped for a nice, warm, sunny autumn – as anyone would expect for an early October in Romania. It’s true that there weren’t just a few drops, but quite plenty, and not rain, but snow :-). These were just mere details for the two girls who had spent the first part of their vacation cycling down the Danube from Belgrade all the way to Giurgiu/Ruse and to Bucharest..
With newly bought gaiters and snow pants we started trekking the next morning and we were soon knee deep in fresh snow. And so we stayed for most of the time during our ten days trekking tour in Postavaru, Piatra Craiului, Bucegi and Fagaras Mountains. As you can see in the images below, it was a totally weird combination of early autumn green-yellow leaves and deep winter snow. We weren’t quite sure if what we were seeing was just sublime or simply apocalyptic. It was definitely exciting, and obviously a unique photo opportunity.
It was a truly inspiring tour – great scenery, exotic weather, some really sporty hiking, but also great company. We discussed about the recent history, about current-day issues, about literature, while enjoying the great outdoors or the friendly accommodations at Padina, in Poarta village or at Barcaciu hut in Fagaras mountains.
Thank you Antonia and Annabel, hope to see you soon!
Horia, October 2013
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