Gradina Zmeilor – Dragons Garden

Grădina Zmeilor is a protected natural reservation in Salaj, the county where I am curently living. It is situated about 30 km from Zalau and it can be easily reached by a car.

It is well known for it’s interesting rock formation in shapes of towers, mushrooms, nidle and other shapes. Personally I find it very similar to the rock formations I have seen in Vietnam, and in the Avatar movie 🙂

I consider this place to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Salaj and decided to explore it a little bit with my mom on a sunny Sunday.

Here is a little video about the place, I hope you will enjoy it.

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My passion for cycling

I have been cycling ever since I remember myself, but I have started passionately cycling a couple of year back in the UK. Together with my buddy Ciprian planned to go cycling in the highlands, so bought myself a hybrid bike, or more of a road bike and I totally fell in love with it.

Cycled all around UK and now as I have moved back to Romania, started cycling in here too, but kept it local to Zalau. Done a few routs up to the Meses Mountains, also a 70Km route, surrounding the mountains and other short ones to the Virsolt lake and back.

I am planning from next year to get more into mountain biking and offroad cycling so really look into that one.

Till then here are a few of my cycling videos.

 

Guys weekend away – Belis, Romania

Weekend away with the guys. I met these dudes shortly after I have moved back to Romania and we immediately became BFFs 🙂 due the our great passion, driven by the same purpose, our core mission, that one big thing we have in common which is …well let me start from the beginning.

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Sabin, the dude who spent about 10 years in Germany, became the Charles Parson of their country, a symbol of engineering, changed their entire industry until the day he was driven by a bigger purpose.

Koh, the one and only Japanese Jedi engineer, whom The Force sent on a special adventure to serve his biggest mission as of now.

Patric, after his 5 years in the stunning highlands of Scotland, the land of the finest whiskeys, the birth place of the Loch Ness monster and the horrible midges, he was drawn by a new purpose and a new place.

Matteo, the Italian godfather of metallurgy, sole scientist of Tony Stark, the man who made Iron Man happen, after smoking from his wooden pipe, which he received from Gandalf itself, had a vision about a place in the heart of Transylvania, the place of the biggest roman settlement and without any hesitations followed his vision.

…and there’s me, after 5 years serving the Queen of Great Britain I was sent back to my home land, where together with these fellows united our dream of making Zalau and Romania great again… hahaha :)))

We organized a weekend away in the amazing Natural Park of Apuseni, in Belis at over 1000m altitude, to have some fun over a good BBQ.

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We nicely put the meat in a deep ceramic bowl to marinate. Salt, pepper, paprika, soy sauce, wine, wurst and brandy, I think everyone can guess who put which ingredient :)))

Believe it or not, it became the most epic bbq I had in a long time.

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Further on, we have visited the Belis lake, the waterfall and ended our evening with a great camp fire.

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Here is a clip capturing some of the greatest moments of the weekend.

 

Discovering the wild Carpathian Mountains in Romania

Discovering the wild Carpathian Mountains in Romania | Muntii Rodnei – Pietrosul Rodnei 2303m

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I am just like every other person, without a fortune, working a full time job, which leaves me with limited time and resources. One thing we cannot buy, cannot spin back is time, so we need to learn how to manage the little time we have, not to waste it but enjoy it.

I have returned from Slovenia, which was an amazing experience so do make sure to check out my video and photos. You can find all the content here on my blog and YouTube Channel.

I have set a really challenging goal at the beginning of this year, I am half way through the year and not even close to achieve my goals, but I am trying to focus on it as much as I can in my free time.

One of the goals was to hike 30 summits for my 30th. I have turned 30 on the 18th June and I have done a few trails, but I wanna get as close as possible to that 30 summits.

  • Vladeasa – 1836m
  • Cliff Lespezi – 1173m
  • Black Lake – 1337m
  • Presihajoče lake – unfortunetely, I didn’t made it to the lake due to the snow, but I have reached an altitude of 1500m. The lake is situated around 1600m.
  • Iezer Lake – 1825m
  • Pietrosul Rodnei – 2303m

Second goal is to run 300 km, well I am falling short here too. I have done only about 16km so far and hoping to crush that 300km.

Third goal is to cycle 300km, I am doing somewhere better here achieving 91km so far. I should be able to go above 300km easily.

My final goal was to visit 3 new countries. I have visited Ukraine, Slovenia and planned my trip to Italy and Morocco so by the end of the year I am hoping I will be able to achive it.

Yes, so after returned from Slovenia I have perused my goal in reaching another summit in Romania and to explore the Carpathian mountains. After a hell of a week with a lot of business trips all over the place I woke up early in the morning around 3am and started driving to Rodnei Mountains.

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It’s a 4 hours journey there by car, so not that close when you don’t have a highway in this country 🙂 and making it back by the evening in the same day. I have reached the place around 8am, but i got lost a bit with the GPS taking me into a wrong place, however I am glad it did because I encountered some great landscapes.

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The hike was really difficult and long, took me around 5h to the summit and just about the same back, more or less, with a few stops here and there.

This was my first 2000m mountain, the summit being at 2303m altitude. The journey was beautiful, some of the greatest landscapes I have seen so far. The mountain was entirely covered by a red flower which gave a really moody atmosphere to the journey.

At 1800m I stopped at the meteorological center and Iezer lake which offers a stunning landscape where you can camp to enjoy your evening. This time I went without a tent, but next time I will not make the same mistake.

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Continued my journey trough a couple of more snow patches up to the crest from where you could see the other 3 summits that can be done within a day, however the time was flying fast and I was not able to go to any of them because I wanted to return home in the same day.

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Finally made it to the summit, the highest places I have every been in my life – except when I was in an airplane :))) I have touched the summit and chilled for about 40 min having lunch and a nice coffee.

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I did spent quite some time in capturing the moment by taking many photos and flying my drone, so without further details check out my YouTube video bellow and make sure to check out my gallery for all my pictures.

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I have just opened a Patreon account, so if you wish to support me achieving my goals, travel more and inspire other to do the same by taking advantage of the limited time we have than feel free to support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/adiseres

Enjoy my video and please subscribe!

 

Beautiful Lake Bohinj – Slovenia

Beautiful morning at lake Bohinj, the fog is slowly lifting up from the lake and the stunning view of the mountains reveals. We prepare our backpack and off we go, motivated to do at least one of the summits.

Having no food supply left, we go to our favorite place to have our childish breakfast and with all the energy gained we are ready for a day full of adventures.

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Our first stop is the well known Slavica Waterfall which is known to be the biggest waterfall in Slovenia with a 40m drop, streaming out from the cliff which is fed by the underground karst channels from the Black Lake. Yes, the path to the waterfall is good, relatively easy, but it’s way too touristy and packed with people. We also had to pay an entrance fee of 3 EUR. Was it worth it? It was nice, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t impress.

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We continued our journey to our next destination – the Black Lake, but not before we stopped for a quick Slovenian cream cake to get our boost of energy before climbing the cliff up to the lake.

The Black lake is the lowest Triglav lake lying above the Komarca cliff which is connected to the other Triglav Lakes. The Black lake is also the starting point to the Triglav Valley which holds the 7 Trigalv lakes and the trail to the mount Triglav itself.

Climbing the cliff was challenging, very steep, dangerous but with an astonishing view over the Julien Alps and a great waterfall.

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After a 3 hour hike we got to the top of the cliff where the temperature suddenly dropped and started walking on ice and snow till the Black Lake.

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We took a well deserved break at the lake, eat whatever food we had left and just took in the beauty of the view.

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The plan was to walk to the upper meadow at 1600m and off we go with our snow fences on and start walking on scary 4-5m snow. We found our way to a 1500m altitude, but struggled to find our way further on and due to lack of time we decided to return. Once again we are back at the lake, got some more water from the lake and decide to try our luck with another trail down.

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We walk and walk and walk, and after about an hour we can’t see any more footsepts, and we make it official – we got lost. We found eventually a sign that told us we were walking on the Triglav Seven lake trail and not what we originally had in mind. Once again we decide the return and this time we went down on the trail we got up.

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We got back to the base about 8pm and finished our day with a rich 3 course dinner at our favorite place “Hotel STARE Bohinj” (link) – amazing service, cheap, great presentation and great quality food. If you are not camping and looking for a great place to relax around Lake Bohinj, this is the place.

We went to Slovenia with the expectation of having a lot of rain and it took us by surprise with a great weather throughout our stay.

On our last day in Bohinj we walked around the lake with a few stops on the way to relax and take in the amazing views. Made some friends on the way too, 2 ducks swimming on the lake from one side to the other following us without fail. We stopped at the other side of the lake at a bench and the two ducks came to the shore and said hello 🙂

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After an enjoyable day walking around the lake, we packed and left Bohinj behind with a great sunset over the Julien Alps and the promise to return once more next year.

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We arrived in the evening to Ljubljana where we spent a few more hours in the city and slept at a Hostel where we almost fall asleep and miss my flight, but everything turned out well eventually.

Such a great place, Slovenia, it has all my respect. Friendly people, great cities, great mountains, great rivers, lakes and awesome food.

Here is a short video of my last 2 days in Bohinj, hope you enjoy it and make sure to stay around by because I am continuing my journey in further exploring the Romanian Carpathian Mountains.

 

 

 

Mostnica Waterfall, Slovenia

Bohinj Lake

Our 3rd day in Slovenia, so far it’s been amazing. We left Bled in the morning towards Bohinj via a bus that travels every hour to Ukanc which is the camping site next to lake Bohinj. The road to Ukanc was full of great mountain views. We tried to keep our eyes open not to miss out any great views, but regardless our heads were falling down every now and then.  After a 45 min journey we arrived to the camping site and looked for a place to set up our tent. Being end of April at that point of time, nothing was open in that area, some of the hotels felt abandoned and when we asked about a place to eat…other campers had a laugh and explained is not the season yet so the only chance in finding a place is in the other side of the lake, in the city.

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We went into the forest just a bit above the lake, set up our tent and we went into the city, hoping to find a place to have breakfast and go on our first trail, up to Mostnica Waterfall. In the same way as in Bled, most of the places open in the evening and the best they can offer is a coffee, but lucky enough we did found a panini place and a supermarket from where we gained our energy for the rest of the day.

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Vango Soul 200

Mostnica Waterfall is just about 4h away from Ukanc, the trail offers a great experience walking near by the beautiful Lake Bohinj and along the Mostnica gorge up to the waterfall.

Mostnica got it’s name from the Slovenian word “most” which means bridge and this is due to the fact that the place holds four stone bridges among which the devil’s bridge. The gorge was formed by the flooding water came from the Bohinj glacier which created some spectacular passages where the blue water runs down into the lake.

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Just before the waterfall there is a brilliant meadow with some really cool huts and amazing mountains. It is a great place to take a break, have a picnic and relax. Only another 40min – 1hour away from this place you arrive to the Mostnica waterfall.

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I have seen quite a few waterfalls in Slovenia and this one was one of my favorite because there were no tourists, it felt wild and isolated which I found to be very satisfying.

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From the Mostinca waterfall you can continue to Triglav which is only 7 hours away, or to the closest summit which is Velo Polje at 3h30min away. We decided to slowly go back to the town and try going to Velo Polje the 2nd day.

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We have been advised by the locals that it’s not safe to go up to any of the summits because there is still a lot a of snow. As we were running out of time and not being well prepared, we went back to the city and enjoyed the rest of the evening next to a great deer stew and a cool burger. I think I have gained around 5kg during this trip, because I spent more time eating rather than hiking. 🙂

 

Lake Bled, Slovenia – things to do

Lake Bled, Slovenia, a must visit! Probably the most popular place in Slovenia and it has all the reasons for being that. It’s romantic town at the foothills of the Julian Alps, is set along the glacial Lake Bled. On a cliff overlooking the lake is the 11th-century Bled Castle, which houses a museum, chapel and printing press. Atop a small island in the lake’s center is the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, with its steep staircase and bell tower.

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Bled

Dragos and I arrived to Bled around 10 pm and we have decided to camp at Bled Camping which is just next to the lake. It is a great place to camp as it comes fully arranged with hot showers, washing machine, dryers and electricity for extra comfort! I wasn’t that lucky with the hot showers, I guess I was the only unlucky person on the campsite who didn’t get hot water when everyone else was doing sauna in their cubical. It was one hell of a night, cold shower and we where laughing out loud until figured out a way to fit into our 2 person Vango tent. We did fall asleep eventually due to exhaustion after the flight to Ljubljana and great day spent there visiting the city.

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Our empty stomach woke us up early in the morning and started our day of visiting Bled, but not before finding a place where we can have breakfast. We were surprised to hear that things open at 11am in Bled and to be honest it was kind of the situation everywhere in Slovenia. A country after my own heart, they love their morning nap. We got in and out from many B&Bs without having breakfast because they were closed. Eventually we found a place to eat, an all you can eat breakfast and we took advantage of it. 🙂

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Bled Island

“Made friends with our enemies” so we can continue our journey in visiting the place. We took a boat to the Island where we spent 1 hour visiting the church and going around the island. How this works, you get the boat which is a 5-10 min journey and you have 1 hour to spend on the Island and the driver will wait for you. Time is more than enough to roam around and enjoy the view. Got the chance to pull the bells which was pretty cool and after some point annoying cause the bells were ding-dong all day long.

The weather wasn’t great, but wasn’t too bad either. We got a couple of showers while visiting the Island and the castle, and it got a bit worst when we wanted to visit Vintgar Gorge.

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Bled Castle

About a 1h walk from the lake to the castle from where you can look over the lake. The medieval castle of Bled offers you a great view over the surrounding mountains and the lake, but also a pretty nice tour in the castles museum. Just a few steps below the castle there is a restaurant also, a great terrace where you can enjoy an ice-cream while looking at the stunning view. Even on a rainy weather.

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Vintgar Gorge

Our final visit of the day supposed to be 2 km gorge carved by the Radovna River, it became a rescue mission for Fren, a lamb stuck into a fence far away from the flock. The rain became heavier and heavier so we where just about to return to Bled when we noticed a lamb stock into a fence. Dragos, having a soft heart towards animals, he jumped right away into rescue. After a good 10 min he did manage to sort out the trap and released our new friend Fren. You should have seen the joy on the lambs face and the way she ran to her mom…shouting “Mom, mom, guess what just happened!” it went more like ” beeh beeeh beeeh” …but wait I have it on camera, so make sure you check it out.

After we both felt like heroes, although it was more Dragos than me, we went and treated our-self with a good healthy meal…wait, was it a lamb burger? :))

On our way back we stayed a bit longer at the lake and enjoyed the sunset, or at least as much as we could get through the clouds and finished our day in this cool place, Bled.

You can check out all the photos from Bled in the gallery of this blog – link

 

The best places to visit in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Looking out from the airplanes window I could see the mountains breaking through the clouds, I was eager to arrive and learn more about Slovenia.

Ljubljana is a great place to start your journey in Slovenia. It’s the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Ljubljanca River divides the city’s old town from its commercial hub and holds many beautiful bridges. Ljubljana has many museums, vibrant streets with many tourists, great places to eat, drink and a really cool architecture.

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Everything is at a walking distance and really easy to get around. I took a shuttle from the airport to Prešeren Square which is a 30-40 min ride from the airport and it costs 9 Euro’s. The shuttle leaves as soon as has at least 4-5 passengers, otherwise another option is to take the bus which leaves every hour from the airport and costs only 4 Euro’s.

Prešeren Square

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Right at Prešeren Square you have the Franciscan church, a great view over the Triple Bridge and the tower of Ljubljana Castle.  As soon as you cross the the Triple Bridge you arrive to the Robba Fountain, a marble-&-limestone 18th-century fountain with an obelisk, pool & 3 sculpted figures holding jugs.

Walking along the streets you can hear predominantly German and Italian tourists which gives you the impression that you are not even in Slovenia.

Ljubljana Castle 

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Walking from the square to the Ljubljana Castle is a great experience, pedestrian streets and great terraces where you can have some good food and good beer. Talking about food, I found the Slovenian food close to the Romanian and Hungarian dishes. A great bone marrow butter for starter, a nice deer goulash with bread dumplings, Kremšnita cream cake will never disappoint. Among others you can opt for great stews, brilliant burgers, sausage and a mix grill.

Ljubljana Castle offers a great view over the city and the surrounding mountains, great history and legends about the local dragons. The entrance to the tower and the museum cost 7 Euro’s, but it totally worth getting it.

Metelkova Street

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Walking back from the Ljubljana Castle a great visit is the Central market with fresh fruits, vegetables and others. Just next to the central market you can cross Lubljana’s river via the Butchers Bridge where couples put padlocks to prove their love to each-other. Ljubljana Cathedral is also a great place to visit, a Roman Catholic cathedral with a baroque interior, including gilded columns & ceiling frescoes. As soon as you walk near these places you head towards the Dragon Bridge and  just after a 10 minutes walk you arrive to Metelkova Street which holds many weird and cool graffiti and street art. You will find many retro, hippie bars, pubs, places to eat and a cultural divers mix of people.

Just about enough to visit in a day in a relaxing pace.

I’ve found Dragos by the end of the day, we quickly had some great traditional food and went to the bus station to go to our next destination, Bled. You can get a bus from Ljubljana to Bled, it’s only a 50 min ride and it costs 4.10 Euro’s.

Here is a video from my 1st day in Slovenia, exploring some great places in Ljubljana – enjoy the ride with me.

The best of Slovenia 2018

I’ve spent five days in Slovenia with my buddy Dragos, where each day we visited a new place and we were blown away by the beauty of this country.

The idea of visiting Slovenia came out of nowhere, well I was actually looking at google maps and researching about the neighbor countries of Romania because I do have in plan of visiting them. While doing this I spotted Slovenia and by curiosity I dropped the little yellow man into the Triglav national Park and I was immediately drawn by the place.

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I shared the idea of visiting Slovenia with Dragos and within a few days we booked the plane tickets without thinking too much about it.

Ljubljana

We started off our journey in visiting the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, a wonderful and welcoming city. It has a really nice architecture, a mix of Italian and Austrian influence. As soon as I arrived from the airport, I was dropped right in the city center next to the Franciscan Church and a great view over the Triple Bridge, the Ljubljana Castle and Robba Fountain.

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Walking on the streets I noticed a lot of Italian and German tourists and endless other nations, no wonder, the city has a vibrant atmosphere. People riding bikes, singing on the streets, a vast variety of cuisines, weird art and loads of places to grab a beer.

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Bled

Our 2nd destination was Bled, just about a 40 min by bus from Ljubljana. We arrived to Bled where we camped over night at Camping Bled, a really cool place just next to the lake. We enjoyed this place a lot, the clear water of the glacier lake, the church on the island in the middle of the lake surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains and Bled Castle from where you can witness an epic view of the lake.

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Bohinj

On our third day in Slovenia we continued our journey to Bohinj lake where we camped for 2 nights in Ukanc. Now this place, no doubt looked like out of a postcard. The amazing turquoise clean water and surrounded by the gorgeous Alps. A great view of Tosc, Vernar and Slovenia’s highest mountains and the nationals symbol Triglav.

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On our 1st day in Bohinj we visited the Mostnica river and Mostnica Waterfall which we found really cool due to the fact that it was wild and it wasn’t packed with tourists.

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On the 2nd day we visited Savica waterfall which was really nice, but did not enjoy as much as Mostnica because it was way to overcrowded and we had to pay to get in.

The Black lake

From Savica waterfall we continued our journey to the Black Lake which is at an altitude of 1300m. The trail to the lake is challenging steep climb but comes with great rewards. It offers an amazing view over the Alps and some great peaks like the Vogel. On the way you will find a stunning waterfall which is way nicer than Slavica with a fall around 30-50 m. The Black lake is a beautiful glacier lake with crystal clear water from where you can drink without any worries.

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We had an attempt of going to Presihajoče lake wich is around 1650m altitude, but due to the big snow we lost track of the trail at 1500m and decided to go back as we where running out of time.

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After a 10 – 12 h climbing and walking we decided that on the third day we will enjoy the lake and the surrounding landscapes.

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These amazing places totally convinced us to return in 2019 and do a longer hike. The plan is to go from Bohinj to Triglav on a 3 day journey.

Here is a short video summary of the trip. In the coming days i will post separate videos about each day spent in Slovenia for even more details.

Exploring the Apuseni Mountains

I have been talking about exploring the Carpathian Mountains in Romania for quite some time now and so have I started doing it by reaching the summit of Vladeasa and just recently went to the Bride’s Veil Waterfall and the summit of Lespezi in the Apuseni Mountains.

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I always wake up early in the morning so I can skip the crowd in some of the touristic places I visit, just like the Bride’s Veil Waterfall ( Cascada Valul Miresei ). The place is just 1h20min away from where I live in Salaj, so it is an easy to get to if you go early in the morning.  I left about 7am and got to Rachitele village by 8:30 and walked for about another 30 minutes till the waterfall. Although I tried getting there as early as possible it was already packed with people, trying to capture that perfect selfy or proposing to the one. It seams it is quite a common thing… hmm, hence the name. 🙂

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It is a really nice place and one the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen so far, it is totally worth going there. If you visit the waterfall, a must do is to go to the summit of Mt. Lespezi – 1173m. The summit is a rocky cliff, just a 1h away by foot from the waterfall. You will get an amazing view of the Apuseni Mountains, a great view of the waterfall and even spot the Vladeasa ridge.

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On the summit of Lespezi, I have met 3 polish guys who came specially to explore the wild nature of the Carpathian Mountains. They were fascinated by the wild life you can still find in the deep forests and the beautiful views. It is a breathtaking view from the cliff, I could have stayed there for the rest of the day and not get enough of it. Well, I decided to leave at some point because I have noticed from above how the road from the village to the waterfall gets really busy and decided that it is the time for me to go.

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I was really glad I parked my car close to the village because otherwise it would have been a nightmare to get out of this place. Tens and tens of cars parked all over the place and they still tried getting close to the waterfall to eventually find out there is no space. I did warn some of the drivers, but it was kind of pointless, they did go anyways.

Yes, so this was my second trip to the Apuseni mountains, I did fell in-love with it and will definitely go back shortly. I still have in mind the visit the Dragan dam and the summit of mount Bihorul. In the meantime my next destination is Slovenia and the breathtaking Alps. Stay close because the stories from my trip to the Alps will follow soon.