We want to see Cheile Turzii Gorge today. We have heard different reports on how far it is. 6km, 10km, 20km. No one really knows. Apparently we can get a bus most of the way, so we went through the market, looking at the veggies and flowers on sale. It was mainly produce,and a lot better in the supermarkets!
At the bus station, we found a couple of people that were willing to point out the right bus. These are minibuses that do the circuits between the villages. It was not long before the bus headed out. We were a little worried it may be similar to the Moroccan system of waiting until full to go, but it isn’t. It seems as if they work to some type of schedule, as a group of people came for the bus just as it was leaving. The driver knew where we wanted to go, and when we got there, he let us know. Also telling us it is another 4km away.
This turned into a long walk. Up hill as well. Not so good. There are the hills, grass, goats and horses, but not anything that makes it stand out as an interesting walk. On arriving at the end of the road, there is a small hill. Below this are a couple of tourist souvenir stands, so we knew we were in the right place. A bus load of school kids had passed us on the way up, and was disgorging its occupants. Giving them a chance to go ahead, we walked up the hill to appreciate the view of the gorge. It is a beautiful scene. The cliffs broken down the middle, with trees and forest around. On the fringes of this are a few buildings. Mainly a hotel and a few related buildings. Then grassy hills. While we were sitting here, all the school kids came up. It was nice and quiet one second, then a teacher yelling at the kids, giving a lecture. We decided to give them their space and head down the last kilometre. They decided to follow us, joined by another bus load of kids. Kiss goodbye to any chances of seeing any wildlife.
We did get to see one of the locals coming down with his horse and cart. It was amazing that the horse was not overtaken by the cart it was so steep. They made it down ok though, and every opportunity the horse could, it stopped for a feed. We did get a glimpse of a spotted lizard though, before it disappeared into the bushes.
At the start of the Gorge there is a small camp ground and another couple of places selling food and beer, passing these by, we headed into the under-bush. Dark and gloomy, with a wet and slushy path to follow. Coming up to the stream, we saw a couple of signs saying we would have to pay an entry fee, but they were fairly old, and we thought that we would have passed where they would set up an entrance booth. Tuns out there is an entrance fee, and it is a good couple of hundred metres into the track through the Gorge. Paying the fee we continued on. It is a nice walk, but there are not that many sections where you get to look up at the cliffs towering over the river. Even when you do, it is hard to comprehend the heights of the peaks. Mostly you just get to see the river itself. Occasionally there are bridges from one side to the other, and these present fantastic views. It is a narrow gorge, and the cliffs are popular for rock climbing. Finding a nice pretty place, we stopped for a late lunch, then finished our walk. The annoying ting was that the return trip is the same way, over slippery rocks, carved sections of wall, and wood bridges. It is quite nice, but a different way would have been good.
Back at the entrance, we were preparing ourselves for the walk up the hill when a car came past. Anna flagged it down, and we got a lift. Only expecting to do the hard part of the walk, we were pleasantly surprised when they offered to take us all the way to Turda. Trying to talk to them turned out to be impossible, as the driver was on the phone, or talking to his friend, but the lift was very appreciated! A lot of people have told us to hitch in Romania, but with Tanzania, we are still a bit apprehensive of getting into cars with strangers. This was a good start though.