Yesterday has been a very full day – in the best possible way. I wrote a whopping seventeen pages in my (small) notebook – I brought only one because I thought that would suffice for a month in Romania. But by now I only have eight empty pages left. After only two days in the mountains my heart is full and my head is brimming with stories. That’s why I’m taking today off – or rather, have decided today needs to be a processing day. It’s pouring it down outside so that makes it easier for me to reconcile myself with the fact I’m not hiking today. Not that I feel bad about it – not at all this time. These past two days have brought me so much that I really need to sit down and think, write, sift through the stories, the images, the recollections, the conversations. It’s going to be quite a task, and a long read. If you don’t feel like reading, there’s pictures. I won’t blame you.more “Mountain magic in Măgura”
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.
I’ve been back in the Netherlands for three weeks now. I was hoping to have plenty of reflection time and therefore also writing time, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve plunged headlong into a situation that is called moving house. Yeah. Me and my husband will be moving to Ghent, Belgium, in a matter of weeks. Which means that I’m travelling to and fro, getting rid of surplus books and clothes, getting lots of things sorted generally, and that my head has turned into a tumble dryer that tumbles all sorts of things that should not go in a tumble dryer: furniture, moving companies, money, paint, wallpaper, friends – to name but a few. But thought I should try to put something up here – even if it’s tiny. So here’s a story about more Romanian hospitality – I could write tons of those but this is one that sticks and just popped up in my tumble dryer mind. So here you go.
I have so many stories to tell that I don’t quite know where to start. Some of them are already at the back of my mind – every single day here brings so many adventures that a month ago feels like the distant past. So it’s time I start digging up some of these stories. This post is a tribute to the little village of Runc (comuna Ocoliş, judeţul Alba), where I spent a considerable amount of time in June and July. Here are some little stories I became part of – I won’t go to the trouble of connecting all of them so it will end up looking like a bit of an impressionist painting. Enjoy.
Earlier this week, I hiked from Râmet Gorge to the tiny village of Întregalde. I knew in advance that there weren’t any pensions and that I would have to rely on the locals – which feels a bit scary for someone who likes to plan everything in detail. But I was in for a pleasant surprise.
By now I’ve spent a month in Romania, so it’s time for a review – and a post. Things haven’t been easy, and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering how I want to use this blog. I feel a strong urge to write Real Stories – as opposed to Smooth Stories that may make my adventure sound like a dream come true (which it is) and encourage you, my reader, to come visit Romania, but don’t reflect the hardships that are also part of my dream project and of my life. It’s a lot less scary to write up an attractive itinerary and a cheerful account of all the beautiful moments I go through here, but the truth is that Real Life comes with Rough Edges. more “First Month: Ups & Downs (and two routes to Scăriţa Belioara)”
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”
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”
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”