road less travelled in romania
World-class gymnasts, Dracula and Ceaucescu – that’s the most many of us know about Romania. But when Intrepid’s Tina Gerets decided to study in this East European country it opened up a beautiful world of adventures and walking in Transylvania was her favourite way to spend the weekend…
“I put in my application and was accepted at the University of Bucharest. While Bucharest has a lot of cultural attractions, like the many movie theatres and cheap opera and ballet performances, it is a big city like many others. So on the weekends we explored the Romanian countryside. One of my favourite places was the stunning medieval town of Brasov. A trail leads from the centre to the top of one of the mountains that surround the town. The view from the summit is simply breathtaking. On your way up you meet local families and friends going for a pleasant stroll and a picnic.
One day, we were wandering around the city centre when we met a local guy. We spent a long time talking to him, and even went with him to visit his grandparents. He invited us to go hiking the next day in the Carpathian Mountains which surround the city. He was a licensed guide, so we were in good hands.
The next morning we met again and took the bus to Zarnesti, where our walk started. It wasn’t a difficult hike, which was fine by us as it gave us plenty of opportunities to truly enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. We walked in stunning gorges, through small wooden villages, climbed mountains, were followed by dogs and cows and learned Romanian folk songs along the way. For lunch, we stopped at a house belonging to a friend of our guide and were offered a delicious traditional Easter lunch.
Our hike finished at Bran Castle, known to the world as Dracula’s castle (which it is not!). At that moment of the day, the bright sun-lit sky became clouded. This made the castle look very mysterious and a bit threatening, and even though we knew the legend was dubious, we all enjoyed imagining Dracula coming after us!”