So I´m here, in Romania!
I came here with the intention to get knowledge about country not only as rambler, but also as aeronaut (pilot). All what i have is 20 kilograms weighing backpack where I have all my stuff. Lightweight tent, sleeping bag pad and great outdoor clothes gives me my sponsor ZAJO . I have also Skydrop and Skybean vario and GPS devices. Glider Aspen 5 gave me Gradient, which I am most obliged.
Traveling to Romania is secured by one friend of my friend, Romanian guy from Timisoara. He took me to Siria, which is place near Arad and Hungarian borders. Small hill upon the town is good for wind from W-N.
Hike up is little bit long, because at all pauses I looking down to flatlands, which are awesome. I can see for many kilometers of fields and villages.
At take off wind is good and in few minutes i met local pilot, Cosmin. He speaking English very good, so he explain me weather situation. It looks bad, because clouds will be so low, and it is chance for thunderstorms. He also gave me an advice, to fly just thru flats, not by straight line thru hills with almost no place for land.
I decide to use some hitch hike, because i must made it to some moutains for tommorows good weather and use it as much as its possible. I made few hiking kilometres and a lot of hitch hiking. I had nice interraction with locals, because no one speaks English or German. So we talk with hand and legs and some Italian words like montagna, tutti, bene, grande and of course parapente. Lot of fun it is because locals all the time when i say "no vorbi romaneste" they start talking, talking and talking :D
For sleeping i found old and abadonned garden near Caransebes. Sumary is 30km by air, 15 by foot and 55 by hitch-hike.
Day TwoWake up into nice blue and cold morning under Montele Mic is beatiful. Pack everything and without breakfast i start to hike. My way thru typical (for me) romanian village is full of funny experience. Asphalt road with final digestive products of cows and sheeps, staggering drunked men and womans sitting and talking in front of their homes. Everyone looking at me, what the hell i am doing here with long blond hair and big backpack. Just enjoing.
I walked for two hours, then my stomach want to eat so i stop for breakfast in valley full of threes and power lines. During my breakfast i thinking about landing here, if it will be possible. No it will not be possible because my way is to east, not to west. After this break i continue up, when car stops and bring me to moutain. There i want to take off, but wind is bad and clouds are low, so i decided just to fly down in course land on small place i saw from take off and use time for moving.
Flying into small valley full of trees just with small place downthere, in lee side of course. :) Best what i can do is to go and dont think a lot, because i can change my mind :D I landed in only one possible place and my chest almost explode from hearth rate. Nettle high as my knees working well. Everything is itching. I packed and start hiking. Road is good and my map says, there is two kilometres till crossway, from where I can go up to moutains again. But workers make some road and forgot bridge, or better to say, working time ends before they ends working on the bridge because I can see groundworks for it. Never mind, pants and boots down and cross it. Fresh and cold water it is, I like it.
Hike up to possible take off is so long. Clouds growing and start to shade big areas. On top I am sad, because it looks bad for me. Landing options i cant find, only way is to land on last grass 200m lower. Sunny areas with possibility of thermals are so far in valley, if i will not hit it and climb up, I will land down on threes.
Wind is blowing good so I tried to soar little bit, 50m up and thats all, Shadows like from Mordor cover almost everything. I flew maybe kilometer to west and then i must land, because moutains aint so steep for soaring just on wind. Pack stuff and try another strategy. Hike up to 2000m where moutain is enough steep, but there is another problem. Big rocks and knee timber, on rocks i can rip my lines and knee timber blocs my run. Almost impossible for take off. I found one place where i can run just one and half meter. One try i have, so I waiting until wind is good and some sun rise, then just wish a safe flight and jump into air.
Thermals working good, fast way under clouds i have. From cloudbase i can see other possible take off without rocks and with great steep shape. On map I cant see how it really is. Important is that i am in my kingdom, called air.
Cloudbase are low, just two-three hundred metres upon peaks, so flying here is quite hard. Circling with patience and as high as its possible able me to continue and enjoy beatiful views on green meadows wiht few rocks and small areas of snow from last winter. After 15km, i am little bit frozen, so i landed and bring some thermo underwear on legs, eat something and fly away. Clouds are big and low but i made it thru moutains.
Looking around give me awesome views of Romanian nature. I am impressed and I feel like in dream. Lone flying wanderer in middle of nowhere, i like that!
Weather is improving because i continue into smaller hills. Nice and long cloud street is in front of me so i used it as much as possible and land under takeoff Parang without knowledge about it. I just saw from air nice and steep moutain for tomorrows south wind situation. After landing, local romanian guy come and invite me into "koliba" for night. So I came. Nice day it was!
flight one, flight two, flight three = 85km, hiking around 10km and hitch-hike around 10km
Wake up around half past six. First step are heading up to Parang. Down in the valley fog wallow and here, at half of height of Parang 12m/s wind blows like from mammut ass. I hope it is only valley wind and in noon it will decrase to half :D
In the middle of my way up, I ate something and enjoy awesome view with breathtaking details, air is so clear and moutains so near!
At first antena place i meet Skyman car and local guy in gin jacket, he speaks very good English, so we checked weather and talk about flying. From him i knew that car and small house in building progress is Toma Coconea´s. He trains at Alps now, but for hudred devils, world is so small!!!
My plan is to hike only at first possible place for take of and then use strong morning wind to save my energy and soar up and make top landing. Up i will wait for good conditions not only here (parang), but i can see conditions on my possible route from top.
As i wish and hope, wind speed went down for maybe 8m/s. But i still waiting because behind Parang is blue hole. Its bad because hills behind arent so steep and valleys from my perspective are full of trees. Enjoying place and spectating flock of possible wild horses consuming time.
Around noon I jumped into it. Just two hundred metres above top i fly into lee side, in 8m/s I expected stronger rotor that it was, but better for me. Here I never continue without maximum possible altitude, because its different type of flying than normal Cross Country. Here is most important to stay in air, not to be so much fast. Landing here is possible on grassy tops and I saw some places in valleys. But landed here will end my trip, because hill are as shallow as my glide ratio, I think. Climbs are easy to find because wind is not so strong, maybe big moutain ridge south from me makes cover, but When i fly away from climb, strong sinking is everywhere, usally stronger then climb.
I can spot lot of small details thru clean air. Herds, cottages, rock. Again I am so happy to be here, to be alone, who knows where and enjoy life and physical powers by paraglide. I am looking and taking pictures a lot but, slowly moutains goes more and more up. CB is at 2700 and summits have 2000-2100, so my useful altitude is really low. Never mind, I am accustomed to this at Slovakia.
I can see end of grassy ridge, now problems will come. Wind changes because in front of me is some kind of valley, but gull of threes and so big to cross with this cloudbase. Another problem is Sibiu controlled airspace which begin maybe 3 km north from me. I decided to fly as much south as i can, and climb there and then fly not with side wind but half backwind thru valley. I think its possible but wind change my mind with force...i am going down, I cant find anything useful for climb up to CB. I landed near high voltage in rock n roll :D wind is strong like hell, only way how go forward is speed.
Angry and sad, thats me, when i landed. I forgot strong wind and rotor behind strees at landing, Now hurry! Pack all stuff and find place for take of. It will be hard, because everywhere are shallow moutains, plenty of knee timber and trees. Back into 2100m consumes lot of time because i lost "path" thru knee timber and must squeeze thru. I sing a lot to warn possible bear to not meet me, because i am as angry as i will rip him :)
When i came to "top" iam sad again, moutain shape is shallow as hell. Calculating my options I decide to try it, but wind blows like from mammut ass. At third attempt i made it into air, but staying at same place maybe in one meter altitude...hmmm what i will do? Then god of wind Ailos resolve it. Strong wind comes and took me 10m up and 10m back. Now i can hit some thermals but they are weak, so wind bring them behind ridge into rotor. I jumped thru small lee side to east and continue searching for my thermal. Soaring at half speed is neccesary because at trimm speed i will say at same place. I hit and cirle some +3m/s but they ends very soon. At half hour i decide to jump back and continue by foot.
Landing place near one cottage offers me to look inside, herds making bryndza but speak only Romanei. So we try to talk like this.
I have just dictionary book because application I cant find. This discusion takes hour :) Guys also ask me what i will do now and if I saw lost cow from sky :D
For tommorow cold front will come so i decide to use offering help, they will come down to village which is 18km away. I am so tired and fell asleep in car, wake up just at Talmaciu, where my friends end. I went to field for sleep.
´Plan for last day is to go to most pretty and cool moutain pass here, Transfagarasau and maybe just flew down. I hitch heke there with cold front behind my back, and finally when i came there, two F-16 flew less than 200m above ground.... hen cloudbase went down and i was not so speede to fly before it. So just catch nice sceneries to camera, enjoy the place and hike a bit. Then i started to hitch hike back home, i must be fast because tomorrow will be good weather at my home country.
By train back to slovakia, by hitch-hike to one of best takeoffs here, I flew a bit, but just a bit because three hours of sleeping aint enought and my mind want to sleep.
But I am at home! I made it alone! I am unharmed! I am satisfied! Thats the way I like, enjoy country, interact with locals and do it low-cost. I didnt made it only hike&fly because i want ot maximize my flying experience, so i used hitch hike. In future, Romania is place for another visit with paraglider. See you next time and thank you a lot, Romania!
DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
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