Sep 22


If you’ve been in the mountains before, but have never crossed any ridge sharp like those in Fagaras and Piatra Craiului (plates or alpine are small children, I say!), Forget everything you know about hiking trails and value your physical capabilities. Thus speak of a route from another league, the first where I felt I really need a physical condition to carry through the well and the only fact to date where might you try the feeling that, in fact, there’s nothing to search the mountain, you will not make any other route, even the Himalayas.

To better understand how you can reach these conclusions, well, there is no option for the return journey to be easier than the shower. Also during climbs and descends, climbs and descends again in direct sunlight and wind to the brink (all the time!), so you do not have a single moment of respite, the pace of change. So as to reach a ridge where you touch 2,345 m to a peak that is only 45 m higher (only that) to get there in two entire hours – pay attention!

And once you’ve seen what you’ve been in the shower, you think there’s no way as way back, underneath that entire ridge cursed be worse. You cheated! So once you have some 6 hours on his feet and you all look into the distance where passes trail, hoping that no, there it will go, find, after they fell again enormously to a clearing where you feel ants that fixed at the end, when you’re done, the darkest expectations are confirmed. To return back to civilization must climb exactly what you went down a block mountain that rises in front of you like a tsunami of rock above 100 m. Think about this picture and you will understand why I consider that to this route, in addition to physical fitness, basic equipment indispensable and good weather, you necessarily need a huge dose of will and especially an enviable fortitude. But I repeat, it is an absolutely brilliant route, but for which you should be too good motivation to want to resume and, above all, a serious training in mountaineering.

It starts at Balea Lake. There is a makeshift parking lot beside the Rescue Point and behind the stalls, so the other side of the beautiful glacial lake. Even there begins the trail marked with blue tape from the start, with no other foreplay, taking into chest-fire a beautiful slope.

The effort is sweetened by the sight that always opens to the whole cauldron of Bali and once we get a first saddle, you can see the road that comes from Balea Waterfall. The ascent continues, however, to the left, to the Paltin Saddle where another impressive panorama – the entire route that awaits you, with a few surprises, yet well hidden gaze. But you can get an idea of what you harnessed, only noting that to reach Lake Călţun must go no more, no less, 3 mountains! If you want to continue exploring until the second highest mountain in Romania, Negoiu, add another 2 hours and a mountain. And if you want to turn back, ideally the same day, rest assured that you can endure a distance of 10-12 hours and obviously you went on the road from dawn.

From that seat, start the first descent. Then go relatively easy and straight, reaching a sector of chains, and then have to face a first slope diabolical, almost vertical as you remove the tip Laitel. Sighs, ofurile and pain will be rewarded with a new view of 5-star Călţun lake bottom, kept like in a foot of majestic Făgăraşii. Yes, you asked Well, to get to the lake at 2,135 m, you have to descend again (and it’s not easy on among dozens of large rocks) and then climb back some, but not before making balancing on the edge of a cliff.

If you came to Călţun you can lay the basis refuge next and climb again to Negoiu peak (2,535 m) by Strunga Lady (easier) or by Strunga Devil (recently reopened route). Strungile these are actually some very narrow aisles between two steep walls, climbing almost vertically, using chains on the rocks.
Try your strength, and after going through it with flying colors Fagaras Mountains, you can consider yourself a professional mountain climber and real man-of-the-mountain!

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Sep 02


You cannot talk about places to visit in the Romanian Western Carpathians without mentioning the natural beauty that unfolds in front of your eyes with every step that you take, while visiting Nera Gorge. Mountain lovers will start on the red line trail, 9-10 hours along the Nera River to admire the wild beauty of the area. Starting point: Sopotu Nou. Arrival point: Sasca Montana, or vice versa. You move on to Devil’s Lake, pass through Ogasul Porcului and La Carlige, where you have to cross the Nera River, then reach  Dubova Cave; then you get to the Tower of Beg and Damian’s Canton, then Caraula Hill and the Bridge of the Bei, then pass through tunnels dug into rock. During spring and early summer you can go rafting on the Nera River. It is more difficult, almost impossible to perform this kind of fun during the dry months when water falls below acceptable in some places.

In the Nera – Beusnita Natural Park, you’ll leave the car (in case you get up there by personal car) to the Trout Pools and you shall start walking towards the Eye of the Lake of the Bei, which is the first priority of the route (the second will be Beusnita Waterfall). After about an hour of walking on a reasonable route, you will reach to a lake with turquoise water, transfixed in the heart of the woods, surrounded by shady trees. The karst lake is fed by a spring (and this is the reason why it never freezes during winter time), it has a depth of about 3.5 meters and an area of 284 square meters. The fascinating color is due to carbon dioxide and limestone on the bottom of the lake, which is so clear that can catch a glimpse of the playful fish.

There are a lot of legends and superstitions related to this particular lake. One of them says that once a Turkish odious who possessed this land had a son with blue eyes, who was madly in love with a local woman, whom he noticed in the Flower Glade. Their love story soon reached to the ears of the Turk, who was terribly upset that his son was in love with a Wallachian. So he sent his soldiers to kill his own son. Hearing about his father’s decision, the lover got so upset that he started to cry continuously, and then he decided to end his life. It is said that the lake was formed from the tears of the young Turkish prince gliding from his blue eyes.

Initially an underground lake, emerging from the cave of the same name, the Devil’s Lake reached the current form by the collapse of the ceiling of the cave. In order to be able to see it, you have to leave from Sasca Romana towards Damian’s Canton, then Vogiun’s Glade and then a descent to the lake adjoining the Nera river bank. Another option is from Sasca to Carbunari and Sopotul Nou, and then on a forest road and continue downhill from its half.

The name of this blue-green pool also comes from another rather peculiar legend (there are several legends and the place is full of such fascinating folklore tales, but this seems to be the most popular): they say that it was an old pastor who lead his goats around this lake . At one point a little man appeared on his path, who asked him to fry a fish without bending its shape because of the fire.

The old men agreed, but he also asked the little fellow to fry for him a goat’s head without it showing its teeth. The old pastor fried the fish and the fish kept its shape, but obviously the teeth of the goat surfaced after placing it on the fire and it was completely burned. The little man got angry and felt as if he got beguiled, the little man jumped in the lake while the old man said to himself that he had just met the Devil – which is why the name of the pool remained the Devil’s Lake.

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Jul 19

The Romanian Carpathians (Muntii Carpati – Romania)

The Carpathian Mountains extend over 1500 km and traverse a number of European states: Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. The focus of this article is the mountainous system which is comprised within the Romanian borders and which represents by far the lengthiest section of the Carpathians.

This can only mean one thing: Romania has been endowed with a beautiful mountainous environment which consists of tall peaks, straits, meadows together with the flora and fauna characteristic for mountainous regions.


The Romanian Carpathians are divided in three groups which are named based on their geographical position. Thus we have the Eastern, Southern and Western Groups: the Oriental, the Meridional and the Occidental Carpathians. The tallest peak located in Romania is Moldoveanu which measures 2544 m and is situated in the southern group, in Fagarasi Mountains, in close vicinity of the second highest peak, Negoiu (2535 m).

The entire mountainous region has a high touristic potential but unfortunately only parts of it are accurately exploited, so to speak. The exploitation part refers solely to the proper arrangement in terms of accommodation facilities and transportation services, such as cable tramways. By no means is there implied that massive human intervention should be allowed such as destroying the forests in order to make room for all sorts of buildings or the such.


In fact, the intrusion into the surrounding environment should be as minimum as possible. The only reason for which these areas should be visited is so as to allow people to explore nature, but not to make alterations to the setting.

The Carpathians have different types of relief characteristics which make the landscape truly impressive. Thus tourists can admire mountainous peaks, depressions, valleys, each characterized by a specific type of vegetation.

There are numerous species of plant and animal life living in the area: brown bears, wolves, lynxes, and 1350 different species of plants. Many of the specimens found here are protected by law as they are on the verge of extinction.


Each period of the year leaves its mark on the Carpathian area. In June, the slopes of the mountains are covered with rose bay flowers, creating a beautiful visual effect.  July and August are the months when the meadows seem to be overtaken by an explosion of colors as a multitude of plants are in bloom at this time: the yellow and spotted gentian, the little lily of the valley, or the bird’s eye plant. In the fall, the slopes are covered by the Michaelmas daisy and the swallow wort gentia.

Due to the variety of wildlife and plant life found in the Carpathians, the state has decided to create several national parks where the species would be protected.


Romania is home to one of the largest wolf and bear population on the European continent, and this is mainly found in the lower slopes, where the wild animals can find both food and shelter. These regions are almost in their entirety hidden by thick forests. At a smaller altitude, tourists will find oak and beech trees, a landscape which is best admired in spring and autumn – when the trees are covered in leaves or when they change their coloration. As one climbs higher and higher, the scenery changes. Thus forests of beech, spruce, and fir present themselves. At certain altitudes there are forests made up of a single type of tree whereas other times the species of trees are intermingled.

As it has been mentioned previously, thousands of wolves and brown bears dwell in the Carpathian forests so it is no surprise that the howl of a wolf can break the silence of the night or that bear tracks are spotted every now and then. In fact, many have even had their own encounter with bears, even if from afar (which is probably better).