The Carpathian Mountains may not be as high or as famous as the Alps or as old as the Ural Mountains, but are probably some of Europe’s most spectacular and wild Mountain groups in Europe and an ideal location for trekking and hiking expeditions. Join us for a weekend filled with exciting tracks, breathtaking views and small isolated settlements, where it looks like time has stood still for the last couple of centuries.
We will depart from Sibiu and drive to the Cindrel Mountains, home of the most famous sheep ranches in Romania. The poeple here live according to the same rules their ancestors have been living for generations, migrating in summer with their sheep flocks high in the mountains and returning back home only for the winter.
Today’s goal is the picturesque village of Sibiel. Here, we will leave our modern transportation aside and be picked up by horse wagons. These traditional, but very useful modes of transport will take us to the center of the village, where a unique museum awaits us: going back to an old tradition of naive art, people in this area paint religious icons on glass. After The Second World War, the local priest founded a museum, where all the people could bring their icons. Some of them can be still admired nowadays and are remarkable masterpieces, typical for the local culture. In the evening, we are invited at a local household, where the lady of the house is going to cook some regional dishes, such as sarmale (cabbage rolls) and eggplant salad, all of this together with some great home made wine and brandy. Accommodation for two nights.
Early in the morning we will wake up and, guided by a local, we will depart for the mountains. In Fântânele, we will see a very traditional village with lots of old, wooden houses and romantic, narrow streets. We will also take a walk from one village to the other and see people working on the field. Most of the agriculture here is made by hand and with help of horses or cattle… We will hike approximately 4-5 hours to reach a spectacular observation point just above the village and then continue to a seasonal settlement used by shepherds during summer. They can tell stories about their lives up here in the mountains, but also about the wolves and bears that often attack at night. Here we will also enjoy a picnic and then return to Sibiel for a well deserved dinner.
Today we are going to drive to Transylvania first mountain resort, Păltiniş. Founded at the end of the 19th century by “the Transylvanian Carpathian Society”, it has always been one of the region’s main attractions. It is going to be today’s starting point, as from there we are going to hike over the Onceşti and Tomnaticu Passes, and eventually descend to Răşinari. The picturesque village is the birthplace of two of Romania’s most important 20th century scholars: Octavian Goga (poet and former prime minister) and Emil Cioran (famous philosopher who immigrated to France). Răşinari is also the perfect place to taste the many varieties of cheese produced in the region, as well as a fine glass of homemade brandy. All of these and many other delicious dishes are planned for tonight, as we will be guests of the local teacher. After this, we will return to Sibiu.