Having impulsively changed our trip duration from a weekend to a week meant that we needed to rent a car to best discover Northwest Romania. We searched for the cheapest options and just chose one renter in the end. The car we received was completely dirty like it just came from a mud wrestling competition. It had barely any gas in it, could be unlocked only from the passenger’s seat side and had even a half empty coffee cup there waiting for us to spill it. Also, it did not have any glass cleaning liquid in it. That’s a bad thing to discover while you are driving and it starts to snow heavily. The windshield becomes completely dirty, you can barely see anything through the glass and the wipers are useless. Still, we had fun with it.
One day we decided to drive to lake Tarnita, which has beautiful views. The lake is not very far from Cluj city, but it is very long itself (close to 9 km) surrounded by gorgeous landscape. There were many houses on the lake and I imagined how fun it must be to spend time here in the summer. Despite the cold weather, you could still see some people with a boat on the lake.
After driving for a while the road took us higher and higher up to the mountains. The fuel gauge showed us quite a low level of gas. We were doubting if to go on because the map showed no gas stations on the road ahead and we did not have any cash either to pay a local in case we get in trouble. Luckily we were not too careful and decided to keep driving. The extra drive after the lake was completely worth the risk. The views from the top, over 1000 meters high, were wonderful.
Later on, we arrived at a little village and I just could not believe that some people really live on top of the mountain. Every morning they wake up, they pull their curtains open and see an absolutely amazing view. I imagined how magnificent the views must be in different seasons. In summer everything will be bright green, in spring the mountains are decorated with flowers and autumn is a show of colours.
Fortunately, the car also took us back from the trip. If the weather wouldn’t be so cold, I would not mind being stuck there.
Cascada Valul Miresei waterfall
The day we were exploring lake Tarnitsa, we also discovered that there is a waterfall in that area. Thus, the next day we decided to go and see it ourselves. The name of the waterfall, Cascada Valul Miersei means the bride’s veil and it was given to the waterfall due to the fact that it looked like one. When it gets really cold the waterfall freezes and you can do some climbing on it. Either way, I was excited to see it.
We chose to take an offroad to our destination to enjoy the surrounding nature. When we got off from the national road to the curvy mountain road, I was not sure anymore if the views were as good as the day before or even better.
The drive there was over an hour, but we made constant stops to make pictures and for this reason, it took us even longer. The stops were short, though, because it was so cold that you could only stay a maximum of five minutes outside.
Again, I can’t understand how people live there in small villages in the middle of mountains. Life there must be so simple. I guess people just do their daily chores and take care of their land and that’s it. What amazes me that every once in a while you see a church. Sometimes it is in the middle of a little village, sometimes it is literally in the middle of nowhere. In general, Romania has unbelievably many churches, even though it does not look like an extremely religious country.
Other things I noticed during the ride were the sheep herders. Nothing different from other sheep herders in other countries, except sometimes I found them on the very peak of a mountain. Why are they herding there? They could easily roll off with the whole herd.
Just before dark, we arrived at the waterfall. I think the ride there was more special, but the waterfall was beautiful too. The last bit of the road we decided to walk to enjoy the cold but fresh air. The mountain air makes me really tired. I am so used to the polluted city air that after one trip to the mountains I already pass out early and sleep like a baby.
Our bellies empty, we wanted to eat before getting back to the city. Nearby the waterfall were some local pensions. We had to ask around where we could eat. In one pension a lady was pondering what she could cook for us since they did not have a menu or much prepared. After a while, she asked if mamaliga (porridge made of maize flour) with meat would suit us. This is a very traditional meal in Romania. Thus, we decided to stay there. The pension had a very homey and welcoming atmosphere and the meal barely cost us anything. It was a perfect end to our day. Now we could just fall into deep sleep and be ready for the remaining days of our trip.