Last week-end was filled with adventure- just the way I like it! We indulged ourselves to a road trip, away from the crowds and noise of the city.
We started early, on Saturday morning, with Curtea de Arges Cathedral. The legend says that architect Manole was unable to finish the walls, and, therefore, prince Neagoe Basarab threatened him and his assistants with death. At last Manole suggested that they should follow the ancient custom of placing a living woman into the foundation- and that she who first appeared on the following morning should be the victim. The other workers warned their families, and Manole was forced to sacrifice his own wife, the only one who showed up to bring her husband food. Thus the cathedral was built. When Manole and his masons told the prince that they could always build an even greater building, he had them stranded on the roof so that they could not build something to match it. They fashioned wooden wings and tried to fly off the roof, but, one by one, they all fell to the ground. A spring of clear water, named after Manole, is said to mark the spot where he fell.
Very close to it we found the 'Domneasca' Church (Biserica Domneasca), finished in 1352:
We continued over the spectacular Transfagarasan, the second-highest paved road in Romania. Built as a strategic military route, the 90 km of twists and turns run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians, between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu and the second highest, Negoiu. You can see what the guys from Top Gear thought about it here- go to minute 6:17.Of course, there is a lot to see on the way:
Poenari Citadel or Poenari Castle (Cetatea Poenari in Romanian), is a ruined castle in Romania, on the cliffs of the mountains (at a height of 860 meters),notable for its connection to Vlad the Impaler and erected around the beginning of the 13th century by the rulers of Wallachia. Its placement on a cliff, near a canyon formed on the Argeş River valley, close to the Făgăraş Mountain, is not nearly random. From this citadel one can have easy and permanent control of the surroundings. The location offers the advantage of good scouting of the area. Due to its size and location, control of the castle was difficult to take, even by natural forces. Access to the ruins is made by foot, climbing 1480 steps through the woods
. It is not hard to climb those stairs but it takes time to do it. However, I can promise you that the effort id totally worth it, as you will be rewarded with an amazing view!
|And back down. Check out how high I had just climbed!|
Next stop: Lake (and Dam) Vidraru- an artificial lake, created in 1965, in the shadow of Fagaras mountains, by the construction of the Vidraru Dam on the Arges River.
|The Statue of Prometheus|
Last but not least, Balea Lake (Romanian: Lacul Bâlea), a glacier lake situated at 2,034 m of altitude in the Fagaras Mountains, Sibiu county. It is accessible by car on the Transfagarasan road during the summer, and the rest of the year by cable car from the 'Bâlea Cascadă' chalet. Another attraction is the Balea waterfall, but we got there too late to photograph it by daylight.
Curious to read about the rest of my trip? Stay tuned, as day two is set to follow in a following post.