Călimănești Adventures: Final Day

It’s time for the gripping climax of the spring-town trilogy. Let me tell you about a waterfall and spotting crimes.

The third day has us going on a nature walk up some forested hills to reach a waterfall. It’s not a special waterfall or anything, no historical significance as far as I can tell. The attraction is just that it’s a nice walk to reach it. Another plus point for me that due to the landscape the temperature is nice and cool, compared to ‘oppressively grilling’ down by the road. The route had a few families walking up and down and the occasional car, but it was mostly free of people making it nice at quiet.

I find there’s something inately pleasing to find cliffs covered in vegetation. Plants: Gravity hates them!

Along the way up I kept noticing some walls with some mysterious holes in them. While I’m sure they had some boring practical use, I couldn’t help but wonder about more interesting possibilities. Secret entrace to a cave? Air holes for a hidden base? Ruins of an ancient civilisation? Reminded me of Attack on Titan, for various reasons, and of Lord of the Rings, it felt a lot like the forest ruins area where *Warning! Shocking, utterly unsurprising and 15 year old spoilers ahead! * Sean Bean is killed.

Maybe some sections of Shadow of the Colossus too.

Hey, if my brain wants to entertain itself with sillyness on a pleasant day, who am I to deny it? We did arrive eventually and I could officially nod my head and say ‘neat’. It honestly wasn’t that big, but it was more about the pleasant journey than the destination after all. And it was pretty easy to just wander up to it and check it out.

Just out of shot to the right: death drop. Just out of shot to the left: wobbly stones I jumped across.

Afterwards we checked out another monastary. This one was near the village, and thus less nice than the hidden palace zone that was the previous one. It did have a few more features, like a mini-museum featuring more of that old-timey religious art where everyone has the same stern face, just different hair and clothes. A bit like a cheap anime really. I saw some signs with cameras crossed out so I didn’t take pictures, but a few of them were top comedy, with one dude that seemed to have a bum for a forehead with no explanation given and some excellently sassy-looking holy people. Here is a picture from the previous monastary I have been saving for such an occasion.

“OMG Lord give me streng-oh… wait.”

Lunch pizza was had. Slightly underwhelming considering how excellent the previous pizza from this place was. I was really looking forward to it too, the lesson here is never look forward to anything. Guessing the evening chef was the MVP and the day shift were the reserve team.

Chilled out for a bit after that with card games. Magic featuring the Speed vs. Cunning duel decks, then I was beasted at Star Realms. That’s right, not ‘bested’, but ‘beasted’. It’s like bested, except more of a mauling. We then decided to head our for a cool evening walk.

One thing I haven’t yet dedicated a post to (but will one day) is the Bucharest/Romanian driving experience. For all that Italy/Rome has a wild reputation, I have never seen a place like this. Not to digress too much, but while we were walking outside, I was just about to mention that we’d broken a certain streak.

So, every single time we’ve gone on a long (2+ hour) journey by car, we’ve come across the aftermath of a recent car crash in both the outward and return journeys. That’s about ten trips till this point, finding either a wrecked car, or recently smashed barriers with loose parts scattered on the road, police surrounding cars that have been sheparded off to the side of the road, whatever. Except on the way here! Streak broken!

I was just about to remark that perhaps this area was a bit better, and we’d get home without seeing anything too crazy, and instantly some arsehole on a Mercedes appears on the road we are walking along, blatantly wildly over the speed limit, overtaking multiple cars at a time in darkness, with an engine so loud I expect he added something to make it louder.

So this guy is breaking the law for sure, breaking speed limits, driving incredibly dangerously into oncoming traffic and so on, when he almost crashes directly into an oncoming car.

A police car.

“Oh daaaaang it is on now” thinks me. That police car has plenty of room to do a u-turn, turn on the lights and go after that guy, he has to. Right? Right?

No. The police car just had to do an emergency brake not to smash into the guy speeding at them on the wrong side of the road, and then they decided ‘whatever’ and just started moving again after a brief pause I assume was them deciding if they should do something. So I’m flabbergasted at this point, then about 20 seconds later, I hear some screeching tires behind us. Some white van from out of nowhere decides to slam the foot down and overtake cars stopped at a pedestrian crossing with people on it, also an actual crime. There were cars on both sides of the crossing waiting too, it’s not like there was tons of space and one slow-moving person. Luckily they didn’t plough through the families, but not by much.

Once again, the police car did not bother to give chase. At least the other car I could see them thinking “Well, we’ll never catch that car in a chase.” but this was just a van. People driving recklessly and dangerously, which may happen any time, but if the police aren’t going to stop you even when it’s them you crash into, well that explains why they were so brazen about it. My companion informs me that possibly they’re the “wrong kind of police” that don’t have powers to stop someone on the road.

Of note, while trying to find some information on this, I found this gem on the USA-Romania embassy website:

“In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way.”

Seems like I know where this guy learned to drive.

Anyway. After all this excitement we ate dinner at a restaurant near a spring on the riverside. It might be getting old reading by now, but it remained an amusing Russian Roulette when trying to eat there, are you opening your mouth to eat, or be ambushed by a mouthful of fart gas? We also investigated the springs, installed with taps so people can fill up as many bottles of spring water as they like to take away with them. Some people drink this fart juice, I did not. This time. I was afraid for the safety of my recent dinner if I did it now.

I also located where some of the excess water escapes into the river, perhaps confirming where it (the fart gas) was coming from, to float into the town.

The next morning was time to leave. On our way home, I observed two things more of note.

First, the most ambitious roadside McDonalds sign I’ve ever seen. Sure, you see them fairly regularly telling you they are a few kilometers away, or you just missed one, do a u-turn. But this sign had the moxie to tell us to do a u-turn then drive for over 15 minutes in the opposite direction to get to it. No, I don’t think I will be up for that.

Second, a modern-looking convention centre in the middle of nowhere. Looked like it could be a great venue for something… if it were remotely close to Bucharest or an airport or have good roads to it or…

Fun fact: after going unused (I wonder why) since it was built in 2010, it is now home to shops that bulk-sell Chinese mechandice.

Phew! Congratulations for making it to the end. Oh, if you are wondering, yes, I spotted the evidence of a road accident on the way home too.


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