“A walkers retreat with plenty to recommend it.” Our host, Roger, met us at the 'local' supermarket and we followed him back up a mountain road past waving local villagers to an eagle's nest of a location high in the hills. The road up is tarmac to about half way then becomes a dirt track which is no real problem to travel even in a small hire car. As we drove up we passed view after view which became progressively more impressive as we climbed the hill up towards 'Casa Roger', the self-catering holiday let that was once our host's main residence but has now been modified to suit groups of 2-6 people (there are three separate bedrooms and a large, open lounge and dining room area).
The kitchen has all the requisite fixtures and a view across the valley to the hills beyond. Outside are several seating areas including a table to site 8-10 around and a garden benefiting from the presence of many of the local wildflowers.
Eagles soar overhead with only the occasional farm vehicle bumping past carrying shepherds from the high meadows or the supplies that go up to what must be the remotest 'shop' we had ever seen! Roger, for the price of the fuel only, took us in his 4-wheel drive up to the very highest terrain where we met some of the Romanian people who recognise him on sight and were always hospitable and helpful. Because of the charitable work he carries out for the local community, Roger is a bit of a local celebrity and if ever caught out on a long walk where poor weather or injury intervene, just flag down any vehicle that passes and say 'Casa Roger' and you'll be guaranteed a lift home.
The weather is very changeable and hard to predict - even by the locals on a day to day basis. We had temperatures up to 32 degrees, plenty of sun and a few thunderstorms thrown in for good Transylvanian dramatic effect.
Walks are from the front door and can be from an hour to a whole day according to how adventurous you feel. All of them are completely safe and there is plenty that passes you by as you travel - flowers, birds (including two species of Eagle) and assorted reptile life scuttling away as you approach on the track. Although there are wild bears and wolves in the hills they don't come down to the area where the property is located. Earlier in our trip we were lucky enough to see three brown bears on a hillside opposite our accommodation and it is possible to arrange 'tracking' tours to go to the areas where the bears are if that's your thing.
All in all, the property is warm (with a very efficient log burning ceramic faced stove), comfortable and commands excellent views of the fantastic countryside. As a host, Roger is attentive but not intrusive and his knowledge of the area, the people and their customs is a bonus for those who wan't to learn more about the hardest working people you'll meet up a mountain.
Well recommended for couples or small groups enjoying walking and tranquility and for whom phones and the internet are things to be avoided when away on holiday. Families with small children will find it too remote I suspect and there are few 'attractions' to amuse the average 5-12 year old.
We took a chance on a country and region that we knew very little about and would recommend that readers do the same and experience it for themselves. Living is VERY cheap (a week's food shop including wine was around £30, coffee in a bar or cafe around £0.80p) and the scenery is spectacular and unspoilt.
No vampires either by the way.