OK, so I have made the list a bit longer today. It might make it more interesting!
This morning we made the attempt on Focul Viu or the burning mountain. There are mixed reports on how far away it is. 4km from Lopatari, or 4km from Terca, a small village within the greater community. After walking all the way down the hill, and on through into town, we started looking to see if there was any other pensions or even a restaurant. The pensions for curiosity, to see if there were any and the restaurants for a place to eat. There were neither. A couple of the magazines (the name for a small shop here), one even had seats out to act as a bar as well.
After walking all the way through town, which although not wide, it is long, we decided to see if we could find out some more info. Asking a couple of guys, we found out that it was at least 15km away. On enquiring about a bus, we found out there was one in about 5 minutes. Getting to the bus stop, we waited. 5, 10, 15 minutes. No Bus. Anna went and asked at a shop next door if the info we had was right. The hill was 15km away, but the bus did not come until 4:30, 5:00 in the afternoon. No good for us, so we decided to try and hitch. A car finally stopped for us, and it turned out to be the Professor! Unfortunately this was not to give us a lift. He was doing some shopping at the magazine! Darn it.
We continued trying to hitch, but this is a very quiet town, with almost no traffic, and the cars that were going past were not willing to stop. Eventually we gave up and walked back to the centre of town. Picking up a beer to drown our sorrows, then out the other side to get a better look at the salt formations. On the way down the hill this morning we had passed a whole group of students going up. The bus that had brought them here was still there at the base of the hill. We said hi to the driver, and then spent the next hour talking to him, about travel, Romania and life in the country villages. It was a good talk, and was only broken by the students returning. Wandering a bit further on, we came to the side of the hills with the salt. Occasionally there was water seeping out of the hill. Sometimes the hole is tiny, and once there was an entire cave carved out of the hill. This only went back a couple of meters, but the salt build up in it was amazing.
We followed one of the valleys up a fair way, looking at the sides, and following the stream. It was quite a pleasant walk. Especially as the clouds had disappeared by now and the threat of rain was over. There had been a few drops, but nothing came from it, and with the sun out it was turning into a very nice day. After going as far up the gully that we wanted, we made the trek back.
By now we felt that we could go to the pension without being too embarrassed about doing nothing today. Going up the hill is not so pleasant though. We put our thumbs up for the passing traffic, and struck a homerun on the first one! It was a young guy from Bucharest, and he was willing to take us up the hill. Fantastic. He dropped us at the turn off, still a fair distance from the Pension, but most of that bloody hill was done. We walked up a ways, and decided to sit and enjoy the fields. The view out over a valley, with houses crawling up the sides, and the field in front of us full of mountain flowers. Yellow being dominant as it was taller, but pinks, whites, purples, yellows and reds putting in an appearance. It was beautiful, and I have never seen so many wild flowers as I have in Romania!
We were put to shame here, as a little old lady came climbing up the hill. She was, well, we don’t know, as we didn’t ask,but she was old. Walking up the hill with barely a pause, and as she passed was not out of breath at all. I know she has grown up doing this, but still it is amazing to see. Back at the pension we relaxed for a little bit.
Going down stairs we met Giulia, she is one of the students staying here as they study the region. We had a great time talking about reptiles, Australia, Geology and all things in between. She has also invited us to go with her group tomorrow to see what they are doing, and we happily accepted. The only issue is that we cannot stay at the pension as it is booked out, but we will sort something out. The Professor has promised to help, and although we are now starting to feel guilty from the special treatment (we were given dinner again tonight, we had bought supplies during the day, but this was much nicer than what we had planned!) we happily accepted.
So, we will wait and see what happens tomorrow.