1st Aug 2012
Days 135 & 136
Monday morning – overcast sky, but warm so it was on with the walk. A quick scooter (no problems!) to the local shop to get provisions (including some really nice home-made bread), got a footpath map from the campsite, loaded our lunch into the rucksack and off we went.
And to start with (again) the waymarks were very good – but experience told us not to expect that to last and so it proved – but – we had the map! So we were able to foil the dastardly Romanian footpath markers, and found our way anyway. Various birds spotted – redstarts, shrikes, a flycatcher, some herons (including a purple one) and of course the usual unidentified birds of prey (big!).
Much of the walk followed an unsurfaced road alongside a small river running along the valley. Traffic was light (two vans, two cars and three horse/cart combos) so Tirril could happily wander to and fro with frequent dips into the river.
Back at the campsite, and took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. Don’t want to overdo it this early in the week. The campsite owner here is a bit of a character. He’s a laid-back Hungarian, but speaks very good English and even told us quite a good joke about weather forecasts! Apparently he had some students from the UK staying a few days ago who were driving to Mongolia – and in a Suzuki Alto (a very small, 1200cc car). Mad.
So tomorrow we’re finally turning around and heading back westwards, so starting our homeward bound leg – although with a few detours along the way. It’ll be an early (!) start for us as we have quite a drive to get to our next site, but need to allow for a few hours on the way to stop off at the Turda gorge which, notwithstanding what the name suggests, is supposed to be very beautiful place and good for bird-spotting.
Well it’s thunder & lightning again for us tonight – just got back from the campsite restaurant in time before the rain started. Oops – I’ve given the game away there haven’t I? Well, the thing is, it’s so cheap to eat out and the Romanian tourism industry clearly needs a boost, so it’s only right that we spend out a bit. Plus – you can’t change Lei back into sterling, so we’ve got to spend the cash we’ve got before we leave Romania (£12.50 for a two course meal for two, including wine, since you ask).
So where was I? Oh yes – well the alarm went off at the absurdly early time of 7am this morning, and we were all set to leave by 8.30. We’d reckoned without settling our account with our laid-back Hungarian host though – who insisted on regaling us with stories of bear-spotting trips he’d done in the forests here, showing us photos of the site in winter and recommending places we should visit next.
After we got away, we had a drive through pleasant scenery – lots of horse/carts on the road and passed through several villages with traditional communal water wells – where you wind a bucket down for water. They’re also very big on garden gnomes here – and we’ve passed many roadside stalls selling all manner of plastic adornments for your garden – but we weren’t tempted. No – we pressed on to Turda and had a walk through the gorge. Which was very scenic, but disappointing on the bird-spotting front. Our book had promised the possibility of all sorts here – golden eagles, eagle owls, rock thrushes, wall creepers etc etc ….. but what did we get? A coal tit. Oh well.
After a bit of a hairy exit along the uphill gravel (and deeply rutted) road from the gorge (I still haven’t dared look underneath the van to check what damage all the horrible noises may have resulted in as we drove up), we headed for our campsite host’s recommendation. Rimetea is a village where the sun rises twice every day! (allegedly). All to do with an unusually shaped mountain due east of the village. After a quick look around we were off towards our next site. Lovely scenery on the way, but we were given a full-on experience of what non-main roads in Romania are like. The guidebook had warned us, but until today things hadn’t seemed too bad. We passed one pothole where someone had stuffed the branch of a small tree down it as a warning to passing traffic – it must have been a good 18” deep!
So to our next campsite on the outskirts of Gilau – functional but not a place to hang around. We’ll head back towards the Hungarian border tomorrow.
Pedestrianised street in Oradea
Square in Oradea
Renovated building, Oradea
Oradea Town Hall
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