Romanian Fagaras

How to travel dutiny covid.



8/15/20208 min read

The idea to go to Romania came from Honza. We wanted somewhere in the mountains and somewhere where there would be no people. And so in the end the choice fell on the Romanian Fagaras. As usual, we started planning at the last minute.

One day we planned an approximate route (or better said only from where we want to go to where we want to go) and bought the cheapest tickets, and set out for the day. Then began the popular phase of packing and preparing, which ended very soon. It can wait until tomorrow, because our bus doesn't leave until the afternoon, so we actually have a lot of time.

In the morning, the room looked like an explosion and the huge mess of everything seemed to be completely unpackable even in a huge backpacks, and we were still missing the essential part - food. I tried to put together the menu partly from ideas and recipes from the Outdoor cookbook, and I have to say that, for example, noodle ramen or polenta with bacon and parmesan were really good ideas, but preparing them? Not really. The powdery stuff was everywhere.

DAY 1. Let's go?

The packing was done on time and up for the train. As usual, Czech Railways did not disappoint and already on departure we made up a ten-minute delay. And to make matters worse, Flixbus wasn't better either, and with its hour and a half train easily won. Well, it all went downhill after that. The delay was increasing, fellow passengers were nervous, and we arrived at the transfer to Vienna exactly at the time when the connecting bus was supposed to leave. However, we only saw him from behind, how they open the gate for him and disappear into the abyss...

Being stuck before midnight in Vienna with knowing that the nearest Flixbus connection is only 24 hours away is just great. One night in the hotel was not the worst, and the subsequent walk around Vienna could be spent in peace.

DAY 2. All ready?

A day later, we finally managed to continue on our way. But having a closed toilet and a grumpy driver on a long-distance bus is not very nice. Fortunately, we slept almost the whole way, and we were even more surprised when the bus dropped us off near Sibiu in the middle of an industrial zone, where was absolutely nothing. Nothing except the international airport. After an unsuccessful hitchhiking, when the drivers tapped on the forehead and made gestures at us, if we were normal to hitchhike in the time of Covid, we finally set off on the local public transport (I was quite surprised by its modernity - after all, it was my first visit to the Balkans and my idea of barbarian tribes was somewhat different) to the center and on the train to Podu Olt, a stop just outside the village of Tălmaciu, where our journey up into the mountains began.

DAY 3. Climbing up.

First along the road from the train stop, then through the village of Turnu Rosu and past the church of Mănăstirea Turnu Rosu following the red sign, which is very densely marked from the start and almost impossible to miss. First, there is a climb through the forest almost to the saddle of Saua Corbului (1568 m). Due to the late start of the ascent and the falling fog, we ended up only reaching the saddle of Șau Sărat, where we pitched a tent, cooked a meal and went to bed early.

DAY 4. Sun, fog, dogs and storm.

In the morning we got up before sunrise and enjoyed a beautiful inversion, had breakfast and hit the road. Through the saddle of Saua Budislavului (2159 m), Șaua Avrig (2172 m) and the lake of the same name. Down we were forced to pass through a herd of sheep in a steep descent, which greatly displeased the herding dogs, who pounced on us with barking and bared teeth. They didn't look very mild even after the bachers yelled at them.

The next peak was Saua Scarări (2152 m) under which there is one of the many shelters and the footpath to it wound up the slope along a beautiful contour, just a shame because of the fog, because you couldn't see down. We passed to the saddle of Șau Șerbotă (2123 m) and a little further below the peak of Șerbotă (2331 m). It was starting to rain and there was thunder in the distance, so we turned around and walked back a bit to the saddle where the tent could be set up.Despite the very early camping, we both fell asleep and Honza was woken up late in the afternoon by a shepherd dog licking the rest of the polenta with bacon from our eschus. Even so, we went to sleep again in the falling darkness.

DAY 7. The landscape is finally starting to look like what everyone was inviting me to and the descent down.

I greeted the morning with joy. Again, a nice sunrise lifted my spirits from a sleepless night. I just didn't feel like having breakfast. We set out. First, the few meters up that we went down yesterday, and then the landscape rounded into grassy hills. A narrow footpath, signs every now and then, compared to the previous days, the path quickly turned into a light monotony, but it had something to it and ran nicely.

At the last bivouac (meaning a shelter for extreme cases of bad weather) on the route through Fagaraş, it started to descent and it didn't stop. First through tall grass and a forest on the left and then through a spruce forest. According to Honza, made for bears. I really didn't want to meet that. The undergrowth gradually thickened and the sign led on. At one point in the field the path got lost for a while, but then after a little wandering we found it back on the ridge.

Thick grass, burdocks and nettles accompanied us up to the saddle of Curmătura Lerescu Mic and a bit below it. We wandered there for a while, but the rusty sign sticking out in the middle of the burdock didn't disappoint. We reached a deep valley to a stream, where a wide gravel path began (marked as a footpath on It was in some places rutted by foresters, whom we soon encountered and stopped by farm buildings two and a half kilometers further. They took us to Zărnești in the evening, saving us about twenty kilometers by road. Even if we were to hitch a ride from the settlement of Plaiul Foii, we would have to walk about twelve kilometers on a wide road.

In the evening in Zărnești, we camped in a great pangate behind the village in the bushes, and the next day we slept like dead until nine. Our train didn't leave until the afternoon, so we just rested in the tent for half the day. From Zărneşti we went to Brașov, from where we also got Flixbus - as usual with a delay.

DAY 8. Way home.

Despite all the delays, the lady who scared us that we had to have a negative test for Covid to travel and a snag with a poor Romanian at the border with Hungary, we arrived (without the need for a test) for the transfer to Budapest in time, we managed to catch the connecting flight home and then we didn't care anymore. Next time to Romania again, but preferably by train.

DAY 5. Up and down, or the hardest 16km we've ever walked.

Today we were waiting for the Șerbotă peak (2331 m) to warm up, to enjoy another beautiful sunrise and breakfast on the hill. Only in the morning did we see the airy ridge to the top of Negoiu (2535 m), which we wanted to go the previous afternoon. In the end, we were quite happy that we went there in the morning and not the previous day in the rain, because some sections were rather climbing and with chains, reminiscent of a light via ferrata in places. The ascent to the summit via Custura Saratii and the saddle of Șaua Cleopatrei (2430 m) was quite challenging.

According to the maps, we expected it to be like this for an hour and a half to two hours, and in the end we went for four and we were happy to see the top. The following descent to Lake Călțun was also not easy, but the weather was kind to us and the views were great. Swimming is prohibited in the lake, which made Honza a bit sad, but fortunately it was redeemed by finding a bear paw print among the stones in the mud. Then we only had a few more kilometers to go - up and down... mainly.

Through Paltina (2399 m) above the Transfagaras road, Iezerul Caprei (2418 m) and Lake Capra (from here there is a marked via ferrata in, but it is a normal mountain footpath) to below Mircii (2470 m) to Lacul Podu Giurgului, where we could hardly move our legs and the descent was more like a helpless flight down than a walk. The trek from seven in the morning until half past nine in the evening took a toll on our bodies.

DAY 6. The highest mountain and finaly ridge tracks!

Breakfast at sunrise, nice scythe and Romanians marveling that we are filtering water from the swamp. The morning can be like that too. And the lake with the ice circle floating in the middle couldn't stay cheated either. There is nothing better than having someone with you who reads Nevrlé's Carpathian Games to you in the evening and tries to apply them to the program from time to time. So the game for a beautiful morning consisted of a song, exercise and just that ice water. I got in there too... by mistake. Apparently the ice water has really good effects because Honza sneezed after it so much that he almost pissed off the dogs.

We set off a little later this time and walked over the saddle of Șaua Podragu above a valley with lakes and a mountain hut up to Moldoveanu (2544 m), the highest peak in Romania. We got to an area where a lot of locals go for day trips or weekend trips as the traffic increased significantly around the highest peak. It probably wasn't as crazy as he was without the corona, but there were still enough people there and there was even a queue in one exposed place on the way to the top.

We took the photo and quickly get out of there. One more worse descent and a long ascent, and then the footpath straightened out a bit again along the ridge and it was nice to walk without jumping from one rock to another. At one point I met a viper that had crawled into the bushes. Honza poked him for a while because he wanted to see the viper and two Romanians came to us, in need of warning them we wanted to explain to them that there was a snake in that bush and the guy didn't understand and just said to us "No, no it's a Rhododendron" and quickly reached after the flowers right in the bush. He scared us and the "Ssss" startled him and he continued to smear.

We still had quite a few kilometers to go, but we were quite tired from Negoiu, so we decided to set up camp early. We chose a lake off the beaten track , a few hundred meters down, but we really liked it from the top. There wasn't much water down there, knee-deep water and settled things. We cooked dinner from the water from the stream and before we had time to clean up in the tent, the herding dogs from the herd that was passing by came after us again. They barked at us for a good while before it stopped entertaining them, then Honza went to clean up the rest of the things and they barked at him a second time. In addition, I enjoyed a night full of thinking about whether I would be able to open the tent when in time before I will womit. Next time, even if the water is boiled, I'd rather filter it...