Călimănești Adventures: Day 1

Last time, I mentioned all the mysteriously empty buildings on the way to a holiday location. As the title suggests, we arrived at the region of Călimănești.

Technically, we were in the next village over called Căciulata. This place is situated within a bunch of forested mountains and built along a river. Naturally, it looks great, visually appealing in all directions. On the other hand, the gimmick of the town is that there are hydrothermal springs dotted throughout the area, and these contain sulphur.

Accurate picture of me.

Sulphur is not normally a nice smell. So every once in a while you get a get a waft of foul air like someone ate a dozen rotten eggs and farted in your general direction. You can sometimes see it coming too, as you walk down the street, there will be a wave of scrunched up faces and hands-waving-near-noses slowly making its way over to you.

You might think this is a major downside, but I thought it was hilarious. Really keeps you on your toes, you know? More on this later.

Our first day arriving here, we had to go look for someplace to stay. I’m told it’s more of a thing in Romania to just turn up to a location and wing it when it comes to accommodation, a bit like me going to old PTQs. Most touristic areas have tons of random places to stay in and local people eager to offer them. Also, for more old-fashioned or isolated spots internet booking is somewhat thin on the ground, reserved for larger hotels and whatnot.

Unluckily, on this occasion we had to walk around quite a lot for a place to stay. This took up the majority of the late afternoon/early evening, which wasn’t too bad. It was a pleasant day, everything was interesting to look at, comedy whiffs of fart gas to keep you alert, what more could one ask for? A castle?

Ah yes, Camelot, the first thing thought about when you hear “Romania”.

The first place that had a room available wanted 70 Lei (about £13) for 2 nights which seemed like a bargain, but surely had a catch. The catch in this instance was not only that the room was quite basic (not a problem for me) it also didn’t have a bathroom in it. It also didn’t have one on the floor, and needed you to head down some creaky wooden stairs on the side of the building to get to them. This was acceptable if we had no other options, but far from ideal.

The next place was (almost definitely) built during Communist times, a big  brown-and-white monolith that really stands out against the surrounding buildings. It was apparently focused on being a healing hotel, where old people go to receive special recuperation treatment. There is a doctor working on the premises full-time and the reception desk has a selection of tonics and lotions ready for sale. And boy were there old people all over the place. I think we lowered the average age of the place by 20 years just by popping in the door.

Inside, everything was “very communistic” my local expert attests.

Still, I figured that at the very least that a room here would be functional with working en suite facilities… and I was right! We looked in one of the only 3 available rooms on the 9th floor, and didn’t find any dead bodies in the room so I was sold.

After lounging about for a bit, we set out for an exploration trip as the sun was low in the sky. My companion informs me that there is a Roman ruin somewhat nearby, and we set off in that general direction, checking out the various food options near the hotel.

Progress towards the ruin immediately hits a snag when we encounter a stray doggo with a squad of four freshly made puppers. The puppies were so fluffy and adorable we had to stay to watch their antics for a while, attempting to suckle on the mother dog while the mother really didn’t seem to give a toss that they were trying to. It kept walking off with the puppies still going for the teats, leaving them tumbling down all over each other like a house of extremely cute cards.

Offspring be damned, mother is hungry!

I did make sure to warn about animal parents getting protective of pups, occassionally being dangerous. After a quick look at us, the mum decided to continue having exactly zero cares and peaced out somewhere, leaving the puppies to wander up to onlookers and whine at them and sit on their shoes.

A wild hairy mutt. Also pictured: a puppy with tiny blurry tail.

This was all obviously great, but with each passing moment the danger of adopting one grew ever greater, so we left. After a brief attempt at following some markers towards the ruin, we instantly took a wrong turn and were barked at by a bunch of much less friendly dogs, so we ended up retreating. (saying hello to the pupsters again on the way home)

Food was in order at this point, (back at the preivously shown Camelot) and I battled a hefty serving of excellent Tochitură while player 2 selected a pizza to take on. It turns out their idea of a medium pizza utterly defeated her only half way into the thing, since it was outrageously dense with every topping and cheese and so on. 10/10 says I, would buy pizza there again. This was a good outcome, because it meant we still had 2 slices to take back to the hotel for breakfast. Hurray!

So that was the first day. It’s pretty hard to top puppies, can it get any better?

Probably not in sheer joy factor.

See you next time, ciao!

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