Romanian road trip, just for the fun of it

By staff writer Estrella Azul. Photos Copyright © Estrella Azul.

BACK IN DECEMBER last year, I went on a day trip with the Chef (my boyfriend) and his family. We simply woke up thinking a road trip would be fun, got in the car, and hit the road.

We set out to drive through the Apuseni Mountains here in Transylvania, Romania, in the direction of the Măguri-Răcătău villages, head on to Beliş-Fântânele Lake, then come back home.

It was a nice ride through the snow-covered roads; an enchanting view followed us throughout the day. We loved it!

So, naturally, we wanted to see the sights again during summer. And that’s exactly what we did in July. Which led to this comparison article on the two just-for-fun road trips.


Through the woods

The interesting part of the road trip during winter was that, despite having a current map, half the time we had no idea where we were. So we stopped whenever the view seemed pretty enough to take a picture: icy roads and faraway snow-covered villages took our breath away.

We also stopped a few times to ask for directions, which wasn’t too helpful in the long run. You’d think people would know where they are when they live on top of a mountain. On other occasions, we simply wished there was someone we could ask; the roads were deserted!

Thank goodness for the distraction of these amazing views all around us.

Romanian-Road-Trip-somehwere-on top-of-the mountain

On top of the mountain

During summer, it was more fun to drive through the same places and recognize each spot we stopped a few months back. The pine trees covered in snow gave way to wonderful greenery. I was really happy being able to see nature’s beauty each time separately, to then compare.

The idyllic scenery reminded me of high school literature classes when we used to read about small villages and beautiful places like these.


Nature’s gifts (to make up for the sunburn?)

Also, in July, we had the option of stopping to stretch much more and not freeze. Quite the opposite. The weather was gorgeous! There was a nice breeze and one never even noticed how hot it really was. I actually got badly sunburnt while picking cranberries and decorative mushroom from tree trunks.

We drove by a house on top of one hill where I noticed Elders in full bloom. They weren’t in bloom back in the city anymore but liked the different weather up in the mountains.

I asked for us to stop and went up to the people living there, asking nicely to let me pick some flowers to dry. (Since I’m not supposed to have medication, Elder flower/berry tea is very much a part of my war plan against the sniffles.) It turned into a lovely chat where we swapped recipes for Elder flower lemonade, and I learned a new recipe for Elder flower syrup.

By the end of our chat I had a big bag of flowers to take home to dry, plus try that syrup recipe (which turned out lovely and very flavorful). Who would’ve thought I’d take home a brand-new recipe I learned on the top of a mountain?


Beliş-Fântânele Lake

From there, one of our last stops was the Beliş-Fântânele Lake. The water was low in the winter, and we could barely see anything on account of the fog. This is an artificial accumulation lake; in its place stood a village in the 1970s. Unfortunately, no one was around, so I couldn’t ask if the church tower of the flooded village would be visible.

During the summer, the place was filled with tourists and locals alike. I found a gatekeeper and asked about the church tower I would’ve liked to see. I thought it was great he had managed to see it during winter when he took his snowmobile out on the ice, but he explained that the church tower—and maybe some of the ruins of houses—are only really visible during very dry summers when the water level drops a lot.

We did have a dry summer but seems like it wasn’t as dry as I thought.

We had a late lunch at the resort there, strolled for a while longer, then headed back home. The summer air really took a toll on us, we couldn’t wait to crash into bed that night.

All in all, these were truly fun trips; we had a blast retracing our steps!


Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins,
Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

Tags: , ,


  1. Pingback: Road trip to nowhere in particular | Life's a stage – WebBlog

  2. How cool to see the comparison photos! What a lovely trip….

    • Thank you so much, Ann, that is very kind of you!
      Glad you liked the comparison photos, I know you have a good eye yourself, so this means that much more coming from you 🙂

  3. Estrella,
    What a nice countryside you have to enjoy! You’ve captured capture both the chill in the air in your winter pictures and the lovely green, and abundance of growth in your summer pictures.

    I never heard of elder flower syrup. What a nice surprise to not only be able to get your flowers, but a new recipe to go with them.
    This is what makes a day trip to nowhere so much fun. You just never know what you are going to come across!
    Great article, I really enjoyed it!

    • Such a great thing to see that you also think I managed to capture both Winter and Summer’s beauty in my photographs.

      Elder flowers syrup turned out great, I will have to post the recipe sometime (Ooh, I’ll post it as this month’s Recipe on my blog – thanks for the reminder).
      The tea is also very good for the common cold.

      Thank you so much for the feedback, Betsy! *hugs*

  4. Estrella,

    Loved the article and you have a great way with your photo collages. I love the mountains.

    I really enjoyed reading about your countryside 🙂

  5. Estrella,

    Great to see the contrast between winter and summer in the countryside around you. Both are beautiful in their own way, aren’t they? (Though, like you, I much prefer to stretch my legs in beautiful summer weather!)

    This article was also a great reminder how we can often take what’s all around us for granted; yet if we can remember to look at it with fresh eyes and share it with others for whom it is something new, well, it brings it back to life.

    I must get out on a road trip of my own! For now, though, I’ll look at your photos one more time…

    • Lisa, yes, exactly. Sadly, too often we take what’s all around us for granted. Like the simple act of walking the streets with facing the concrete instead of looking around us, instead of looking up sometimes. I notice this every day in people around me when I’m out and about.

      So glad you enjoyed the photos so much. And thank you for commenting!

  6. Wonderful scenery comparison, Estrella. I love the clouds laying low over the mountains surrounding the lake. Thank you for sharing your neck of the woods with us. Your photos make me long to travel it all and see it for myself!

    • Sharing my neck of the woods with you, that made me smile big, Cynthia! Just on account of being in the woods there (I smile at silly things like that.) 😉
      Wish you could travel here, I’d love love love to show you around so you can see it all for yourself.

  7. I love the picture of the empty road with all the green in the background. With all the traffic we have in Southern California, this kind of sight is so rare that your picture makes it that much more appealing.

    And how about that mushroom picture? I thought the random mushrooms growing in *my* yard were weird!!

    How fun that you got to go back to the same place in two different seasons. And what’s even more fun is you even have two seasons! We have cool and warm (or lately, really hot); I definitely miss the snow.

    Now you need to add one more trip: an autumn one so that we can see the fall foliage, and I can live vicariously through your seasons cuz we don’t really have any here!

    • That picture of the empty road with all the green in the background is my favorite! Living in the city, though there are green areas and I do my best to walk as much as possible, always makes me cherish these sight that much more.

      Oh, those mushrooms! They were HUGE as you can see from the photos. I personally picked smaller ones to see if I can incorporate them into my crafts.

      It was truly great that we got to retrace our steps, taking the trip in two different seasons. So many differences and so many similarities all at once!
      Wish I could send you some snow, cold weather is approaching fast here… though there isn’t as much snow in the city as there used to be when I was a little kid.

      I agree with you, I need to go back in autumn as well to see the fall foliage! Too bad the weather is more unpredictable and rain might confine us into our car seats.
      So sorry you don’t really have any seasons there. But hey, come visit Romania during fall 🙂

  8. Judith Shaw says:

    Thanks for the peek at a Romanian road trip. My husband and I are just beginning to explore Europe, and since he makes all the choices, this time maybe I’ll get to make one. Romania looks gorgeous!

    • Thank you, Judith!

      You should go read my latest article which is up today. I bet you’ll get to choose Romania if backing up your choice with taking a magical train ride in our Carpathian Forest Steam Train 🙂

  9. Pingback: Recipe of the Month: Elder Flower Syrup | Life's a stage – WebBlog

  10. Pingback: Romania. | tabras's space

Leave a Reply to Estrella Azul Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *