Oh dear. It’s March. In fact, it’s spring! This means I’ve been back for over four months and still I haven’t written my reflective 2018-post. Of course it is a bit ridiculous to publish it this late but since I kept a things-I-learned-list I would like to share these insights with you. Also it is a good exercise for me to get back into writing blog posts. It’s not that I don’t write; in fact I do little else. The deadline for my guidebook to the mountains of Romania is end of April and I have no clue how I am going to finish it in time. But I will. Besides that, I’m working on lots of exciting new projects that I can’t quite talk about yet – but what I can say is that I never dreamed the Roamaniac adventure would roll on like this after the guidebook part! In short, I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment, so here is a little distraction from all these frightful facts for myself, and for you from whatever it is you need distracting from.
This is an old story – but one that needs to be told. I have so many of these – but they keep heaping up and then I end up focusing on the ‘more important’ posts about routes and the like. But I like stories. And telling them.
31st of July 2016, Poienile de sub Munte. I have just arrived in this hamlet in the Munții Maramureșului, the northermost mountain range in Romania that borders on the Ukraine. I managed to sprain my ankle – badly – in the last 500 metres of my hike from Lacul Vinderel. I have pitched my tent near an abandoned and derelict cabana. Now I need a drink.
Want some alone time whilst enjoying splendid scenery? Then the Munţii Maramureşului were made just for you! You will have to make a bit of an effort to get there – but if you clicked on this post I trust you got triggered by the word ‘hiking’. Although there is a lot more to be explored in the Munţii Maramureşului, let’s get started with this beautiful hike from the village of Repedea to Vinderel Lake and Farcău Peak. It’s one of the most rewarding walks I’ve ever done. more “Hiking in the Munţii Maramureşului: Vinderel Lake and Farcău Peak”
Since I keep going on about how wonderful the little village of Breb is, I should probably suggest some places for you to stay at. There’s plenty of choice – but do make your reservation well in advance, because Breb is a popular place among Romanians and international tourists alike. Here are my favourite places – starting with my absolute favourite which also happens to be the cheapest! more “Accommodation in Breb”
Sighetu Marmaţiei is the northernmost town of Maramureş, right on the border with the Ukraine. With a population of only 100,000, it is nevertheless an important hub. When you have to do your grocery shopping, it’s either Baia Mare or Sighetu Marmaţiei (most people simply refer to it as Sighet) you go to. But the town offers much more than that. Here are some ideas to spend a pleasant day in and around Sighet. more “A Day in Sighetu Marmaţiei”
If you visit Maramureş, it’s definitely worth making a stop at the wonderful little town of Baia Sprie, just 10 km from Baia Mare. For two reasons: the potter and the Blue Lake. more “Pottering about Baia Sprie”
If the Carpathians are wild, the Rodna Mountains (Munţii Rodnei in Romanian) are truly wild. In the mountains around Braşov, the Fagaraş for example, you will meet plenty of people and find many a cabana – but in the Rodna, you will have to be completely self-sufficient. There are no cabanas except for a (temporarily closed) inn at the Setref Pass in the west, Hanul Pintea, and a cabana at the easternmost end of the ridge, Cabana Rotunda. So pack your tent, food and water, and let’s go… more “Hiking in the Rodna Mountains”
On day one of my hike into the Rodna Mountains last week, I thought I heard a trumpet or other brass instrument in the distance. Soon after, we saw a shelter appearing on the horizon, which turned out to belong to a cowboy and his son. They herded cows and horses; made cheese and kept a little lamb beside the fire in their very snug hut. The cowboy also turned out to be the trumpet player – or whatever it’s called. more “Sounds of Romania: A Cowboy and his Trumpet”
I was going to write a longish introduction to this post – about how I admire the farmers in Breb. But instead, I will just introduce you straight away to Maria, Vasile, Marioara and Vasile: two self-sufficient farmer couples who are living their hard, but also satisfying lives in the beautiful village of Breb. I met them during an afternoon of haymaking: a vital part of a Romanian farmer’s life. But I will let the images speak for themselves. more “Farming in Breb: A Portrait”
A beautiful climb from Breb to the Rooster’s Crest
As soon as you arrive in Breb, you will see the Creasta Cocosului, or the Rooster’s Crest, beckoning in the distance: an impressive craggy volcanic rock formation. It promised a rewarding hike, so I went. more “Hiking to Creasta Cocosului”
Breb has got to be the most beautiful and harmonious village in Romania. I felt at home immediately when I first visited it in 2014, so I didn’t have to think long where I’d start my travels this year. A walk through the village is never the same. Here are some of yesterday’s encounters. more “Breb revisited”