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Monday, 25 February 2013

Project Székely Land [Székelyföld]



I was away on an unexpected journey, which became this year’s first travelling experience. A fabulous one, actually. See for yourselves!

Project Székely Land [Székelyföld]:
  • Day 1:
-          As this journey was sparked by Marcel’s wish to buy a guitar, we drove from Braşov to Reghin and reached the store of ‘Hora’ Musical Instruments Factory right before closing time [opening hours: 7:00am-2:45pm (Mon-Fri)].
-          We continued with a part of Tg. Mureş we had never experienced before: the upper part. This area is charming and gives you tons of fresh air and closeness to nature! We had heard many good things on Tg. Mureş Zoo, so we decided to visit it! It is very well endowed (and will be even more attractive if certain buildings continue to be renovated), the animals have large spaces to roam around and it is very important that the zoo supports the recovery of many species of (especially) large birds and releases them back in the wild. Opening hours: (winter, daily) 10:00am – 5:00pm, last admission at 4:00pm; Admission fee: 5 RON (adults), 2 RON (children, students, retired)
My first ever 'face 2 face' with lynxes
-          Before heading to Sovata, we stopped to have dinner at Laci Csarda, which is an amazing place! The food is simply fabulous and the prices are low! I recommend a visit to this restaurant to everybody travelling to Tg. Mureş!
-          When arriving to ‘Danubius’ Health Spa Resort in Sovata (34 EUR/person/night, breakfast and spa facilities included), we realised that we were only back there for the sake of past times and that 6 years of travels had changed and consolidated our travel style. Staying in 4- and 5-star hotels is not our cup of tea! I am searching for personality and an out-of-the-ordinary ‘welcome’ and ‘Danubius’ could not provide them!     
   
  • Day 2:
-          Following a very diverse and tasty breakfast, we decided to walk around Bear Lake and remember the moments spent there back in 2007.
-          We headed to Praid and after buying the tickets for the salt mine, took the bus into the mine [across the road, check the operation times ahead! Opening hours (daily, September 15th – March 15th): see hours): 20 RON (adults), 12 RON (students, children)]. For me, this was the highlight of the trip – I was absolutely amazed by the hugeness of the mine and it felt more like being a character of a fantasy novel (possibly a visit to Moria described in ‘Lord of the Rings’) than a visit to a real world attraction. Do take the time and walk around the visiting area, as there are many well-structured information panels (the minimum period to be spent in the mine is 1 hour). While you’re there, try out the only adventure park in Europe located in a salt mine – ‘Club Aventura’! It only takes 45 minutes to complete the tracks (although they are about to open a new and more difficult track this summer, so that should extend the time you spend in the park), but it’s great fun and it’s also good for your health! Price: 25 RON (adults), 20 RON (children); Opening times: (in winter, February 1st – March 15th only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between 10:00am and 4:30pm).
-          We continued to Izvoare, where we had a wildlife park tour booked. We were a little bit late, but our guide was very kind to wait for us. Our stroll in the snow was very nice and we saw several specimens of mouflon, roe deer, red deer, and fallow deer. We even got to see tracks of hare and fox (as this is the only carnivore that can dig its way into this 300 ha privately-owned park). It is a must-see if in the area and you might be in for some unforgettable surprises! Price: 20 RON/person/2 hours; book ahead!
What about THIS for a surprise?...
-          Our evening ended at the very classy ‘Honor’ Villa (15 EUR/person/night/10-bed dorm, breakfast included) with our pre-ordered dinner: game specialties vs. cheeses and vegetables for vegetarians. The portions are huge and they taste and look great! You are also offered dessert and it all costs between 15 and 20 EUR/person. It felt so wonderful to stay here: the house was perched on a hill, the wind was hurling outside, and the dogs were barking at who-knows-what wild animals from the mysterious forests nearby.   
  
  • Day 3:
-          After an amazing breakfast at ‘Honor' Villa, we prepared for our riding tour and headed to ‘Izlandi Lovak’ riding ranch. We were instructed on how to prepare the horses for riding, were given the necessary equipment, and started with some on-site practice before heading into the hills surrounding Izvoare. The ride was very scenic, we had great weather, and all our riding companions were extremely kind and willing to help with advice meant to improve our riding style. The most impressive aspect for me was bonding with my horse, Vidalin. We didn’t really hit it off, but ended up really close, caressing and trusting each other. Price: 100 RON/person/4 hours; book ahead!
-          We left very cheerful and confident to Dârjiu, but made a quick stop at the ‘Honor’ store located in the centre of Izvoare. I really recommend the cheeses and sweets sold there to all ovo-lacto-vegetarians visiting! They are of excellent quality!
-          The Unitarian fortified church in Dârjiu (World Heritage Site) dates back to the 13th century and is undergoing massive renovation, so you can only look at it from outside. However, it is still worth the trip. The entrance fee is normally 6 RON and you can try and enquire at the house found next to the attraction.     
-          Our final stop for the day was Sighişoara. If you are into photography, head to Vila Franka for lunch or dinner. The latter applied in our case. The food was good though not extraordinary, but the view was terrific and it provided us with a different perspective over the beautiful Sighişoara. We headed to our accommodation (‘Citadela’ Guesthouse; 14 EUR/person/night, breakfast included), excellently located in the centre of Sighişoara with stunning views of the imposing Clock Tower. After a romantic stroll in the Citadel in the crisp evening air, we decided to taste some famous sweets from ‘Casa Cositorarului’. The ambiance and the desserts are truly special – we went for carrot cake (served with vanilla ice cream and fruit topping) and chocolate/orange cake. Both exquisite and a perfect ending to our evening!
Delicious evening in Sighişoara
  • Day 4:
-          We took off immediately after breakfast (be wary that it is served between 7:30am and 9:30am!) and headed to Cloaşterf. You can ask for the key to this beautiful early 16th century fortified church at house no. 99 (Ms. Kerekes). The fortified church is under renovation, but the works are nearly completed, so the attraction can be visited.     
-          The same applies for the beautiful fortified church from the 14th century, perched on a hill this time and resembling more the style of Viscri’s church than that of Sighişoara and Saschiz area – the church in Meşendorf. You can get the key from house no. 102 (Mr. Relu).
-          On our way back to Braşov, we couldn’t resist paying a visit to Viscri, which is one of our favourite places in Romania, and enjoying the peacefulness of the village, the colours of the houses, and the prints of time.

One more thing: if visiting the fortified churches on Sundays, be wary that the key keepers might be at church, so try your best and arrive after noon!
I was convinced once more that Romania’s list of hidden treasures is immense… good news for those keen to discover them!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your feedback about us at "Club Aventura". We are happy that you enjoyed your "adventure", with us.

    best regards,
    Club Aventura Team

    P.S.
    The third level is ready and the new red-colour parcours with a 70m long tyrolean at over 14m heigh is waiting. ready for a new adventure ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. :) I did and and I'm definitely ready for a new adventure! Will visit you again this summer!

    ReplyDelete