We left Braşov and headed down the Prahova River valley towards the town of Sinaia, with the hopes of backpacking in the Bucegi Mountains. The train ride down was nice, through the forest of the Carpathian Mountains. The Prahova river was a sorry little river surrounded by nice forests, with ample amounts of trash in it and hung up on the vegetated creek banks, and it had a tint to it that was too dark given all the clear tributaries we noticed coming out of the forests.
Along the way, we also saw some decrepit old factories that reflected some inhuman communist system that directed huge factories be built in the middle of the forest, with no real towns around them. But never fear, the factory seemed to include some old apartments or jail cells, it was hard to tell which. There were great old Romania style houses visible from the train along the way, reflecting older and very detailed architectural styles that seemed very traditional.
In the distance we saw the towering rocky slopes of the Bucegi Mountains. They are a large, horseshoe shaped mountain range with steep rocky slopes with a relatively flat plateau on the top. The local mountaineering shop told us it may be ‘ a little wet on the top’, but our views of the towering peaks seemed to include what we call ‘snow’.
Sinaia is a ski resort town, with blocky, communist style ‘luxury hotels’ surrounded by nicer ski-chalet type houses. We took a cable car from the center up to the top of the mountains to look into backpacking. Watching skiers enter the car as we got off on top was a good indication of the ‘backpacking’ conditions. We got off in the snow and headed down to a mountain chalet to stay for the night, since snow camping isn’t really our thing.
After we left our bags in the warm hut, we spent the rest of the afternoon hiking along the snowy ridge to get some views of the mountains. We were reprimanded by a security guard for getting to close to some cell towers and weather station looking things, although we weren’t taking any pictures, as the signs indicated. The funny thing was that another couple we saw in a similar predicament had used a huge camera to photograph the forbidden technology on the mountain top. Maybe they had Romania’s most top secret listening equipment next to the bustling ski resort, or maybe they thought we were American spies who where trying to steal their top secret technology, the mysterious “cell towers” we have yet to utilize in the United States.
We viewed the massive plateau (snow covered) and the ridges from the trail the security guard warned us to stick to. Once our feet where wet and our hands were numb, we retreated to the hut for the evening.
The next monring we headed back to town and viewed the massive Peleş palace and a orthodox church before catching a train back to Braşov.
***click to enlarge photos***