Weekend Without Plans

Once I work in Romania for a year I have the chance to travel around the country. But traveling here is not easy because of the legendary bad infrastructure. So for last weekend I did not make any travel plans, on the contrary, I planned to stay home and just do nothing. But already on Friday evening the map somehow got in front of me (it must have creeped there very quietly) and I was thinking about where to go. But I could not decide. There are so many nice places to see, Romania is full of mostly unspoiled (due to the lack of infrastructure, so it has its upsides) nature, hills, and historical sights. So I was at a loss. And then I remembered a Hungarian movie about 1956 where the family decided to emigrate but they could not decide where. So they got the map in front of them and the husband randomly pointed at a place with his eyes closed. (Of course, it was Mongolia!) So I did the same thing. I used only the map of Romania so I was relatively safe. I pointed at a nice mountain area, called Retezat which has peaks well over 2000 metres, its highest peak is over 2400.
The only problem is that it’s 400 km from Bucharest, a 6 hour drive. So I got accommodation in a nearby town where some famous Hungarian kings lived. You might have heard of King Mathias. Huneodara (Vajdahunyad is the Hungarian name) used to be part of the Hungarian kingdom and it has a beautiful gothic castle which was rebuilt by János (John) Hunyadi in the 15th century, later by his son Mátyás (Mathias) and many others. The original was built in the 13th century but not much of it can be noticed in its current form. It is much bigger and nicer than the Dracula castle.

The Castle of Vajdahunyad

It was very nice walking through this old building, it is fairly nicely renovated, especially the prison. Too bad I could not photograph the sounds they played, next to a description of all the most cruel torture methods of the Middle Ages (like cutting off a limb for stealing a hen), they tried to make it more lifelike with playing horroristic screams. It was rather funny than scary.

The scary prison
Funny gargoyles

For the next day I planned a nice hike up to Lake Bucura that is in the Retezat mountains, 2000 metres high. The only problem with my plans this weekend was that I never got to realize them … so I drove all the way to the start of my approximately 10 hours hike quite early, it was only 40 km but took more than an hour. It was when I stopped the car that I realized that I had left my phone in the hotel. So I had to go back for it … It just did not make sense to start the hike 2.5 hours later because I would have never made it in daylight. So again, I had to change plans. I picked a nice lake on my way home, I would drive there, walk around a bit, take it easy. Well, by now you can imagine that I ended up elsewhere … I just missed the road to the lake.

I ended up in the Godeanu Mountains driving all the way into the woods on a very scenic road. When the road became a dirt road I decided not to risk ruining the car and I got out for a nice walk, looking at some peaks ove 2000 metres on my way. This time I did not have a chance to climb them but maybe one day when I plan something else …

Retezat Mountains from the distance. This time I didn’t hike there
Iorgovanu Peak (2014m) which I could see all the way when walking in the Godeanu Mountains

I wonder if there’s any climbing here, this peak looks quite tempting.

And here comes the obligatory dog picture, he was the keeper of the Hunyadi Castle.

2 thoughts on “Weekend Without Plans”

    1. Excellent idea! :star: There’s lots of climbing and caving in Romania, also skiing, the only problem is the infrastructure! Not very easy to get here, though there is a Wizzair flight from Luton to a nice mountain area. This is the best sport climbing area in Romania with lots of multi pitch routes of various difficulty and a lot of caves, too! 🙂

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