(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quick trip to Apuseni Mountains

Alpine meadows of the Apuseni Mountains
Just two hours from Cluj are the Apuseni Mountains, it was another beautiful day, so we rented a car and went.  These mountains are home to some world-class caves; ScariÈ™oara Cave, a glacial ice cave, was our goal.  Our car rental agent knew of a pension in a small village nearby and made reservations.  Off we went.

The pension owner had won several regional cooking awards, and most of the food was grown or raised in the garden behind the house.  She gives cooking lessons, so we have to make a reutrn trip to learn some traditional dishes.  After a fabulous meal we went to bed early.  The next morning the rooster woke us, and as we snuggled under the warm comforters, we heard the clop, clop of horses, lowing of cows, occasional squeals of pigs from in front of the house.  We looked out front in the dawn light and the sleepy little village was completely packed with livestock and the street was lined with vendors as far as you could see: it was market day!
Happy customer getting his pig in a poke.

We wandered the animal market near the pension as buyers and sellers negotiated their prices and new animals were herded in around us. It was like we had woken up in Middle Earth among the Hobbits.

The trailhead for the hike to the cave was at the other end of the village, so we wandered through the vendors selling everything rural villagers would need:  horse tack, animal supplies, clothing, wool blankets, skins, shoes, hats, pots and pans, furniture.  It looked like every horse drawn wagon in the county had come to this village.  Of course, I had to try on a traditional Romanian hat.

The ice cave was really cool (pardon the pun), but the four hour hike through the alpine meadows was even cooler. 

Sigișoara Ice Cave

Tourist in a traditional Romanian hat.

1 comment:

  1. The Apuseni ice cave is not called Sigisoara. It is called Scarisoara. I have been there many times. A wonderful place!