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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Eastern Europe retroblog: Piatra Craiului

From Sighişoara we took the train to Braşov, a medium-sized town we used as a jumping-off point for a hiking trip in the Piatra Craiului mountains. (Pee-AH-trah Cry-OO-lee.) We also made a day trip to Rasnov, and spent a very wet afternoon at the fortress there:

While we were in Braşov I also got my first (and last) taste of polinka. If the bartender had served me battery acid I wouldn’t have known the difference.

So, the hiking trip. We left our extra stuff at the hostel in Braşov and took a train to Zărneşti, a rather frightening little place–ramshackle cement huts, muddy unpaved roads and way too many stray dogs–and hiked to a cabana we’d found in Lonely Planet. We weren’t sure what to expect, because the guidebook description was pretty vague (which is a sure sign the author hadn’t actually been there; don’t ask me how I know); but we were pleasantly surprised to find the place was basically a hotel–rustic but clean and comfortable. In the restaurant Kate and I ordered more polenta with sour cream and defrosted veggies (and we were lucky to find that much!), while Elliot got, ahem, adventurous. To this day I bet he still isn’t precisely sure what he ate for dinner.

This dog followed us out of Zărneşti all the way to the cabana. It became such a nuisance that Kate and Elliot named it Sophia, after Kate’s crazy freshman-year roommate, and we only got rid of it the following afternoon (yes, it hung around outside the cabana overnight) when some farmers’ dogs went after it.

Anyway, we spent most of the following day on a walk deeper into the mountains. When we passed farmsteads with people outside we felt quite awkward, but fortunately nobody laughed at the dumb tourists, or yelled at us to get off their land. We didn’t encounter any other hikers, as far as I can recall.

It was getting pretty nippy as we climbed; towards the end we were walking in snow.

Me: “I can’t feel my butt!”
Elliot: “Don’t worry. It’s still there.”

We were going to climb this. Then we decided we’d rather just go back to the cabana and watch Elliot eat some more cat intestines under a giant moose trophy (why didn’t I get a picture?)

On the walk back we played GHOST. I insisted that “xylophonic” is a word, but Elliot was having none of it.

Next installment: Sinaia.

1 Comment to Eastern Europe retroblog: Piatra Craiului

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Sophia! Remember the army of flies that she had following her around?

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.