Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A trip to the Carpathians

The husband is a meticulous planner. Especially when it comes to holidays. No, really, we're talking months, even years in advance. But, just occasionally he will decide to break the pattern and do an impulsive one. Thats was this was. Very spur-of-the moment (that is planned just about 5 days in advance).
Sibiu. A good 5 hour drive away. Luck - and traffic was on our side and we made it in four. Our apartment, just a few minutes walk form the main square was very comfortable. and I wasn't quite the eager beaver to go exploring. Still, there was a full moon. And We did travel four hours to be here. Sibiu was beautiful in the evening light. positively aglow, the main square - or the Piata Mare, as it is called.

But, driving, kids demanding ice cream and last-minute packing took its toll on us. We were asleep before our head hit the pillow. 
Breakfast and a early start saw us hitting to read again, this time, out to Balea Falls, The sky was have a conversation with the mountains. And when nature speaks, you listen.

We reached Balea Falls and the lady at the only shop that was open there informed us that the falls were just a kilometre away on foot. That's not too bad, we thought. The kids were certainly gung-ho about it all. Until we were some way up the trail. Well, calling it trail would be a mild exaggeration. 
Yup. That's the 'trail' . Pretty sheer drop on the right. Strewn with logs and boulders along the way. The kids, of course LOVED it.
The trail had my heart hammering pretty hard, half the time praying the kids make it through in one piece, the other half, thanks to a lack of fitness that would make a couch potato proud. 
The falls weren't gushing to their full extent. They do that only in the spring when the Balea Glacier melts. But it was a pretty decent waterfall anyways. mainly because it remains so unspoilt. The water was crystal clear and ice cold. One wished one had the foresight to get a couple of wine coolers along. But on the other hand, the trek down wasn't really meant to be undertaken in a wine-induced haze.   

After we made our way back down. we feasted on Gogoși, from the shop we spotted going up. Nice. much like chocolate or cheese-filled bhatura, if I were to describe it. We also gathered from the chap that the Transfăgărășan road was actually open upto Balea lake. (It is usually closed in the winter), and we wasted no time in tightening our seatbelts and setting forth to the lake.

This trip, strangely was as much abut the journey as the destination, and what a good thing that was, considering the amount of time we spent in the car. But we weren't complaining. Here's why:
The world-famous Transfagarasan road. One more tick off the bucket list
The Autumn colours in all their glory. 
Balea Lake was beautiful and serene. The kids wasted no time in trying out various gross noises so it would echo across the lake. Me, I didn't want to leave the place. Despite it being pretty freezing. 
If you look carefully, you can see half the lake (towards the mountains) with a thin covering of ice
 We eventually made it back to earth, Eventually,

Sunday. The day we needed to head back home. *sigh*. So, the morning was spent walking around the pretty little town of Sibiu. Where a fellow Indian spotted us (Actually heard us, before he spotted us, with the kids screaming and me yelling at them to quit screaming.) and asked us about the sites. He was slightly disappointed to know that we were as new to all this as him, and that Google was a better bet than us. We did tell him to try the Gogoși though. 
So, here's what the morning looked like.
How can any city tour be complete unless we chase Pigeons?

Piata Mare

The bridge of lies. No clue why we have locks here as well. 

We were sipping on coffee, watching the kids chase pigeons when Arun suddenly has this idea. He wanted to head back via a short detour. Via Vidradu to be exact. Which wouldn't exactly be a short detour. It would be positively the other way. I blame the coffee and the husband's sunny smile for rashly agreeing to this adventure. 
En route we came across:
Andrei and his flock of sheep
A dusty dirt track that was supposedly a major arterial road, people waving to us (and looking at us strangely for being foolish enough to traverse those roads on any vehicle that wasn't and SUV), cows, hens, ducks, turkeys, dogs, cats and pigs, all wanting to throw themselves under our wheels.
A road that was closed for this event:
The policeman informed us that it was a sort of rememberance day for the village ancestors - who I'm guessing is the Gentleman posing with sword resplendent in silver
Very picturesque valleys

Very impressive roads
  And I must say I was sorely tempted to ask Arun to turn back several times during this journey. But I'm so glad we didn't. Because here's the view that greeted us at Vidradu Dam (Which the sat- nav insisted was still a good 25 minutes away)

 We drove back to Bucharest in absolute silence. Both of us still savouring the sights of the weekend, reluctant to get back to the daily grind (the kids were probably dreaming of video games and cartoons, and none of this natural beauty nonsense).  
So much beauty, so many places to see...and yet, people as me why I love living here. 

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