Friday, 14 April 2017

The Romanian Road Trip - Our Crazy Transylvanian Adventure (August 2015), Part III

Welcome back - or should I say Bun venit din nou :)! This is the final part of my Romanian Road Trip trilogy - if you've missed out on the previous two posts, check out these links: Part I and Part II. At this point, I want to say that I've been positively surprised by how many people have shown interest in Romania - it's been really nice to receive nice feedback on these posts! For those of you who love Romania as much as I do, I have some good news: last summer, I spent a week in Bucharest, so I'll have more stories from Romania coming your way soon! In the meanwhile, though, let's finish what we've started...

Day 3
Yet another beautiful morning, this time in fresh mountain air! Seriously heavenly!


We had some breakfast at the cottage and then packed everything into the car again and were off to two amazing places - Lacul Roșu and Cheile Bicazului. The former is known as Red Lake in English, and it looks really eerie because of the dead tree stumps sticking out of the water. The water itself has a reddish tint, and there are many legends and stories about its origin - for example, in Hungarian, the lake is called Gyilkos-tó, which translates as Killer Lake. Julcsi says that when she was in primary school, she was freaked out by the name of the lake and thought corpses were floating in it...There are stories about a group of picnic goers who fell into the lake after the cliff had broken from under them, and probably many others, too, that I don't know of.  In reality, the red colour of the water is apparently caused by sediment. Cheile Bicazului, on the other hand, is a gorge and a narrow canyon going through the Carpathian Mountains - a completely spectacular place! There's an actual road going through it so it's easy to get there by car, but there's no sidewalk, so you'll pretty much be walking by the side of the road once you get out of your vehicle.

On the way to the lake and the gorge, we bumped into these lovely cows and got out of the car to buy some local honey...Julcsi also has a book recommendation - a Romanian crime fiction novel called The Hatchet, which takes place in an area resembling this one :).





And for some sound effects...



The gorge was just 10 minutes away from the cows, and may I just say that the pictures you're about to see don't do justice to the real live experience! The cliffs are HUGE and the whole place is seriously worth seeing!





Julcsi with her dad :).





It's completely gorgeous! Though be careful - Julcsi ended up twisting her ankle, which kind of prevented us from walking that much for the rest of the trip. Her ankle swelled pretty badly and didn't get better until months later!

After wandering around admiring the views for some time, we drove back to Lacul Roșu to take some pictures and have some lunch. Once again, the pictures don't really do justice to the place, and you don't even see the reddish colour of the water. What you do see, however, are the tree stumps...You can rent a rowing boat if you're up to exercising in the heat, and there are a couple of restaurants if you're feeling hungry. We only stayed for an hour or so altogether before continuing on our way back towards Vlaha.





Here's the lunch:



Aaaand then we were back on the road again, slowly driving back towards Hungary.




Our next stop was a town called Miercurea Ciuc (Hungarian: Csíkszereda). There, we first went to see a Franciscan church, and then went downtown to see another church as well as have ice cream at a lovely coffee shop. We didn't really visit any sights properly, but rather had a brief stroll to look around before heading off again. Here's a little collection of what we saw:



I also found myself a Romanian mailbox...When I was a university student, I was also working at a post centre, sorting mail, and penpalling is a very dear hobby of mine, which is why I love having my picture taken with local mailboxes...:)


The coffee shop was absolutely lovely!


The Millennium Church in Miercurea Ciuc.

The court house.

The Mikó Castle, which houses the Székely Museum of Csík.


Random buildings in Miercurea Ciuc.

Our route back to Hungary.

We stopped at Băile Homorod (Hungarian:Homoródfürdő) to get some spring water :).

We then drove on to a place called Lupeni, which is where a famous writer from this area, Tamási Áron, was born, and buried, too, as we actually visited his grave. He wrote in Hungarian about life in this area. One of his most famous works is a trilogy about a Székely boy called Ábel, which is something I would very much like to read! We have it in Hungarian, so maybe one day...:)





I made Julcsi's dad pose for a hitchhiking picture...:D

Opposite Tamási's grave there are stalls where you can buy traditional Székely handicraft.
After this stop, we were on the road again. We'd spend our last night in Romania in the same guesthouse where we spent our first night, so we had quite a long drive ahead of us before getting there. Still, we stopped again not long after Lupeni as in Corund (Hungarian: Korond), there is a street along which you have more stalls selling Székely goods. Julcsi found a board game that she'd never seen anywhere else - too bad I can't play with her as I don't know enough Hungarian as it is, The Székely board game is all about the local dialect, which is quite impossible to understand! Julcsi also bought a magic box that she'd wanted since she was a child, so all in all, a very good stop :)!



Aaaaand, back on the road...




We were so hungry once we finally arrived in Vlaha and ended up eating SO MUCH!! We were completely stuffed when we got to bed, and slept like babies :D.

Day 4
Our final day mostly consisted of driving, driving and more driving. We still stopped a couple of times to visit tiny little places, which made the drive more bearable. We first had breakfast at the guesthouse, and then headed to Rimetea (Hungarian: Torockó) to drink from a well, to drink something else, too, and to visit a cheese factory.

Hector the house dog.

On our way to Rimetea.

Rimetea! As you can see, it's a tiny village.






I found a post office...:D

Noroc! Giving local spirits a go. Disclaimer: The driver didn't drink! 

Egészségedre!

:D




The cheese factory we visited was called Torockoi Cheese Factory, and let me tell you, we ended up buying A LOT of cheese! They let us taste pretty much anything we wanted, and in the end we picked three types of cheese to bring home with us.





Our drive back to Hungary took us through Huedin where you can see the most extravagant albeit unfinished gypsy palaces. I will post a couple of pictures for you to see:



Our very last stop was Bucea, which is a village, but also a pass in the mountains that makes it possible for you to get to the other side. We had lunch there and also took some time to admire the views...



My soup!
The drive back to Hungary was long - I think we sat in the car for quite possibly eight hours in one go. It was quite tough, so it was so nice to arrive in Szeged in one piece in the evening! What an absolutely amazing trip - loved every second of it! It was an adventure of a lifetime, truly. If you ever get the chance to do something like this, don't hesitate for a second!

Finally, here are our Romanian goodies acquired along the way...:D



I'm happy to have been able to take you on this trip with me, and, by all means, stay tuned for the next entry, which will be about the Balaton area in Hungary :).

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