Summer please don’t go! The last weekend of summer was demanding to be spent in a special way. What can be more special than saying goodbye to the green forest? Get your backpack on and follow me in Romania!
The best thing about Romania are the mountains! You get the beauty of nature, the wilderness but also the good food and friendly people. I wanted to defeat my fear of heights once and for all. Acknowledge your fears and crush them! is my everyday motto. So I attempted with a group of friends to climb my first peak: 1954m! The difficulty of the trail is medium and the total duration would have been about 6h.
Ciucaș mountains belong to the Eastern Carpathians, found on the territory of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and of course, Romania. The Carpathians represent a large habitat for brown bears, wolves and lynxes, wild boars, wild goats. But don’t be put off by it, it’s not that common to meet a bear while you’re hiking, plus the trails are usually filled with people.
How to get there?
The trail we wanted to follow was Cheia – Cabana Ciucaș – Vf. Ciucaș. Although it is doable in one day if you’re fit enough, we chose to complete it in 3 days and enjoy the views at the cabin along with the delicious food!
From Bucharest, you can go either by car or by minibus, which you can take from Autogara IDM and you’ll arrive in Cheia in about 3h.
We travelled by minibus and as soon as we arrived in Cheia, we were welcomed with fresh air and a spectacular view. Mmm.. hear the mountains speaking!
Follow the road, get past a large car road and walk walk walk until you reach “Fabrica de apă“.
From “Fabrica de apă“, you can either walk or call the Ciucaș Cabin to come and get you. What would you choose? I would say take on the challenge and hike! 5km is easy-peasy!
The first half is a very cosy walk in the forest and you can admire the fir trees and the pine trees, listen to bramblings and nightingale compete for the sweetest song ever.
I started to wonder: this is too easy! When are we starting to climb? Where are the steep slopes? Well, lesson learnt because as soon as I complained, the steep paths began.
Tip: a hiking stick could be very useful. The slopes have some sort of steps because they are steep. The road to the cabin can be made with a 4×4 car, but you have to be a skilled driver.
The difficult part of the walk lasts about 1h. At least for us, it did because we weren’t that used to this. But we conquered it, we reached the plateau where the cabin is:1595m! Oh yeah!
Ciucaș Cabin can receive up to 60 guests in 18 rooms. It has been founded in 1937 and since then it served as a base for travellers who want to explore the trails in the Ciucaș mountains. You can make reservations ahead here. The interior design is rustic with bear skins and stuffed animals, wooden benches and the entrance door has the shape of a barrel.
Since we were starving after such a workout, first stop was at the restaurant. The menu is filled with traditional Romanian food and I recommend you to try everything there because it tastes like drops of heaven. (it might be my subjective Romanian preference).
We had: tripe soup (ciorbă de burtă), polenta with egg, cheese and sour cream (bulz), pork Romanian stew (tochitură de porc), accompanied by the traditional raspberry brandy. All natural and house-made.
Full or not, we just couldn’t miss the famous dessert: papanași, sourdough with sweet cheese and covered in blueberry jam and sour cream! You just can’t miss this! I think it’s self-implied that we had the longest and deepest sleep ever after such a meal!
Today was the day for accomplishing my goal. Prepared with walking shoes, sun hat and lots of water and snacks, we started our ascent to the peak.
The mountain said “good morning” and welcomed us with rays of sunshine:
From the cabin, the trip to the peak takes about 1h – 1.5h. Follow the marked path and you’ll be good, or follow the bunch of people headed in the same direction as you are.
The forest is composed mainly of cone-bearing trees such as pines (Pinus sylvestris), Larix trees, spruces (Picea Abies), firs (Abies alba). You can also observe small portions of ancient Dacian forests formed of beech trees and they have a protected status.
Sheep, horses, donkeys are out there enjoying the meadow, the green grass and the fresh lake water. Be careful though with the shepherd dogs, they can be quite furious when guarding the calm cute sheep.
The path is enjoyable so far and you can touch the smooth branches of the Larix trees, play with the purple flowers or… wait for it… eat wild raspberries. Mmm. The smell and flavour don’t compare to anything I’ve tasted so far. Don’t eat too many though and leave the poor bears to starve… 🙂
The flowers I spotted on my way were mostly purple: Campanula rotundifolia, Gentianella bulgarica and Viola declinata.
The last part of the path is a bit more rocky and steeper. I had to climb with both hands and legs, so I couldn’t stop to take some photographs. It’s not too scary and it’s achievable even by old people and children. So be brave!
We stopped to admire the weird rocks formation called “The talking old ladies” and find out what they were whispering about us.
“You need more food,” they said, so we listened and had some more chocolate biscuits. We wouldn’t have liked to lose too much weight!
After 90 minutes of sighing and climbing, hesitating to put the foot on another rock, being stuck on the narrow path and asking help from strangers, we finally reached the top. And how beautiful it was!
The photos and the views speak for themselves. It was definitely worth it!
Shall we go again or return to our cabin where the friendly dogs wait for us?
The cabin is also set and prepared for a campfire, you just need to gather the wood for it. When we arrived, it was already in motion.
We started singing, dancing around the fire, people from everywhere being together and friendly without necessarily knowing one another.
The mountain receives us all under its branches, brings us together and offers us the joy for life. See you next year, dear!