This year (which in the mean time is already last year) we decided to celebrate Romania's National Day in the region of Moldova, in the hearth of Ceahlau National Park. For the both of us this is new land as neither have been here so it is double the excitement!
Unfortunately we forgot our flag at home but we had our love in our hearths. The long road seems never ending as we slowly make our way from Timisoara to Izvorul Muntelui (Mountain Spring – pretty cool name for a village). The only upside of the road is the thought that we will stop and visit the salt mines of Praid. But in the meantime nothing is appealing anymore as we miss the last tour by 10 minutes. Since the mine will most probably not go anywhere any time soon we thought to postpone the visit for the return trip.
Where will we sleep?
There are plenty of accommodation options in Izvorul Muntelui even if you won't find much info on the Internet. Before we left we made a reservation at Cabana Izvorul Muntelui located in Izvorul Muntelui (Mountain Spring), that is next to a mountain spring at the footsteps of the mountain. Little bit of mountain inception here!
For the price of 100 lei per double room the place doesn't offer much. From the outside the cabin complex looks really good and the thematic names of each hut give you a good vibe but on the inside one of the big minuses is the tidiness. Nothing extremely bad but I just don't feel it is correctly aligned with the price. Besides this you have a private bathroom, shared kitchen that is equipped with most things you would need, private parking outside of the complex and a large restaurant in the premises. The people there are hospitable and there is also a really cute dog. We did not test the restaurant so we have no feedback there.
The hike and the story
Having VIP conditions you will find the hike starts right in front of your accommodation. At the start you will notice a small ticket office where you can ask for information and where you can also pay the entrance fee of 5 lei / 1.2 euros per person required for visiting the Ceahlau National Park (cash only, no POS or foreign currency).
There are four different tracks that end up at Cabana Dochia (chalet) but we chose the shortest which is accompanied by Blue Tape markings.
The forest path doesn't give you much room to breathe and in some regions it is pretty steep. My respect to the people that take care of the footpath as it is in great shape. Wherever you will find spots where the risk of slipping is great they have placed wooden handrails and the marking are easy to spot so you don't have to worry about loosing your way.
The route per say is not that interesting because it lacks panoramic views and sights that would overwhelm your soul but when you take a big breath of fresh mountain air your forget about all that and remember that your are in the right place.
Slowly Karina forgets about the mountain surroundings when her old friend starts knocking at the front door – her knee pain. From this point on she is constantly thinking "how much longer do we have to go?".
There is no time to whine as we finally reach some imposing cliffs, rocks and boulders and… pfff… a dense cloud.
Just when we entered the upper alpine plateau and were closing in to the chalet the clouds overwhelmed us and we couldn't distinguish our surroundings. This is totally unacceptable and it seems we will need to return to these mountains.
We entered the chalet to grab a hot cup of tea and some warm air. The place looks really nice and as far as I've seen the reviews are really positive. I didn't look at the room but the dinning area and the toilets were appealing.
We finished our tea and we left for our car coming down the mountains on the same footpath with a small variation – the last section from where your path intersects the road we deviated on the main road in order to catch some sunset photos.
- Time: 7 h (5 hours walking time)
- Distance: 11.6 km
- Altitude difference: +/- 1000 m
- Markings: Blue Tape