SE EU: Paean to the Obscure

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Rock Climbing, Hiking, Scenery
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SE EU: Paean to the Obscure
Created On: Dec 13, 2008
Last Edited On: Jul 20, 2017

Hiking across SE EU (then behind the Iron Curtain)

The acronym stands for the South East of the European Union. The author's objective – besides making himself feel happy by doing something for the very pleasure of doing it – is to advertise several rock wonders and hikers' paradises scattered throughout the lesser known – at least to the Westerners – mountainous areas of Romania and Bulgaria.


NE Face of  Great Parângul
Despite the better-known Făgăraş being the vastest, highest and most alpine mountains of Romania, the country's third highest peak is Parîngul Mare in the Parîng (Parâng) Mountains, several dozen km west of the Făgăraş. And a little further west, across the River Jiu rise the Retezat Mts - both ranges are over 2,500 metres high. To the south-west of the Retezat stand the Mehedinţi Mts – relatively low but stunning karst terrain.


Great Scrambling on Horizon, NW Rila

SP pages on the Rila and the magnificent marble ridge of the Pirin are expanding fast but much less can be found on the granite Pirin – a fabulous hiking area that teems with crags and ridges to climb, picturesque lakes, brooks full of potable water. You can round the Pirin trek off with a day or two in the tiny town of Melnik, whose badlands resemble the southwestern US. And while stopping over in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, you might still/already feel hard rock on the mountain of Vitosha, just on the outskirts of the city.


Call It Backpacking
Bigger Critters
Barkbound RosaliaLittle Critters

I hope I can see some of those places again someday. These pics of mine were taken in 1977-81 on transparency film (see the note at my Spitsbergen album)

It wasn't until the 1990s that the average citizen of Poland was allowed to see the West of Europe, or other continents. Even the then Yugoslavia, its communist leaders not on good terms with the Kremlin, was barely within reach. So when I was at university, I would board a train bound south-east and spend much of the summer – actually August since July tends to be very rainy – trekking in the mountains of Romania and Bulgaria. And I loved it.



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yatsek - Dec 14, 2008 4:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Sounds and Letters

According to this source, "Romanian has undergone several spelling reforms, the most recent in 1993 reversing changes introduced in 1949, as a result of which the î/â sound is usually represented by â, except at the beginning and end of words where î is retained. The earlier usage is still common however."


visentin - Dec 21, 2008 9:53 am - Voted 6/10


Although they are a bit less let'say "adventurous", I recommend you the Pyrenees, Yatsek ! I read the landscape & atmosphere in granitic Bulgarian mountains for example is very similar to granitic places in Pyrenees. As for limestone parts, there are many places similar to Piatra Craiuli, dixit what a romanian fellow told me.


yatsek - Dec 21, 2008 10:46 am - Hasn't voted

Re: nice

I guess you wanted to say "more adventurous":) Pic du Midi d'Ossau is like Kamenitsa squared. One of my problems is my back will refuse to heave more than just one third of what I used to carry in the pack. Surely it's all much lighter now but still comes down to at least 13 kilos, for a few days' trek. Still I'll be thinking of the Pyrennees (the huts might help a bit:)) and would've definitely gone in those old days, had the ruling party allowed us to without asking any favour, and had we not earned $20 per month then.

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SE EU: Paean to the Obscure

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