The time in Kosice drained us, in an environment of struggle, people living in hard conditions and a constant strange tension in the air that I would nearly identify as negative but has glimpses of hope shining through, that surrounding leaves someone having to spent more energy on keeping oneself motivated, positive and hard working. The saying that you are the average of the people you surround yourself with seemed increasingly fitting. We were ready for new horizons and lucky enough to just create, rewrite our future a whole lot easier than people at Kosice. We left with a hightend spirit of this fortune and were eager to spread it, be it to people or nature, they both need it.
Romania is the next stop. Through our great friend Toby we had a contact in Cluj-Napoca, from there Julia made a quick trip to London for work and I was keen to explore the Romanian highlands. Our host Catalin was the nicest dude, offered us a well needed shower, we ate a typical Romanien dinner together and he had some sweet world views. The view from his flat wasn’t bad either.
Since I just had a few days till Julia got back I headed straight towards the mountains the next day, destination Moldoveanu Peak. It was a fascinating drive along many small villages, fruits and vegetables stalls started to appear everywhere on the side of the road, mostly older ladies selling leftovers from their garden. You can't get more sustainable than that, every single time I had an internal battle if I should stop again and buy more or just have a chat with the ladies, often I did.
There is a road going to the start of the track already at 2000m elevation, I though not bad just 500m elevation left. However the road was still well under snow and they just started clearing it now so I had to start from under the Bâlea waterfalls. There was also a gondola going up to the higher inaccessible carpark but who knows me just a little knows that this is not an option, similar to how we always take stairs instead of the lift, little wisdom from Arnold. Off I went ...
The track was wicked winding its way higher through coniferous forest till I popped out on top where shrubs, rocks and still a decent amount of snow ruled. The snow was actually covering most of the track all the way up to the lake where the tunnel starts. Everything still seemed to need some time to wake up from winter sleep.
An hour later I noticed the huge cloud coming in and decided to settle for Vânătarea lui Buteanu, a peak just 50m shorter then Moldoveanu with sweet views over the vast plains running out from the Făgăraș Mountains.
On the way down I stopped at the house on the lake and to my surprise, it was open. A few lonely tourists sitting having buffet breakfast and at least 5 unenthusiastic staff walking around looking pretty busy which again, surprised me. Then it happened, I saw an old hand-drawn map on the wall with a track going all the way along the ridge. As it turns out the Făgăraș Mountains have the longest continuous ridge in the Carpathians, about 70km long and for most parts even a trail running along it. Needless to say that I will be back!
The next day I did another run from Mănăstirea Turnu up to Cozia mountain with some trails being quiet hard to follow (I think I made some wrong turns though ;), mapsme once again made the trip a lot easier. The Turnu Monastery was build 1676 and is a great place to visit, lots of monks roaming the place with most of them looking pretty close to enlightenment. The surrounding forrest has a great atmosphere, I didn't see a single soul on the whole track apart from when I was running along a ridge I saw a beast of boar not far in front of me but he went pretty quickly into the forrest again. The Carpathians actually boosting with a huge population of carnivores, you can find brown bears, wolves, lynx and other wildcats. Majestic stags, snakes like the viper and the golden eagle are also roaming around. Pretty sweet.
With batteries fully charged I went straight to Craiova to pick up Julia from the airport.
Next stop Serbia!