In an age of technological advancements and mechanical conveniences, it becomes more difficult to stay connected with nature. Maybe it is in the way that we have found all our conveniences at home that we do not see any reason to come out. Yet during one sunny day, I was compelled to come out and go to the mountains for the project. We had to hike up a mountain. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I dislike hiking, but hiking I went anyway!
We went to Parcul Național Cheile Nerei-Beușnița, where we followed the yellow track for around 2 hours until we saw the Eye of Beiului (Ochiul Beiului). This is one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. Clear as crystal, it reflected different shades of blue and green. The lake is shaped like an eye where the colors were a magical mix of the earth and sky.
There are different legends about the lake but my favorite one goes like this: It is said that a young noble of the Ottoman Empire fell in love with an unsuitable maiden, a shepherd’s daughter. The Bey (governor during the Ottoman empire), his father, ordered the death of the maiden. Upon her death, the young man sorrowfully shed tears. His tears filled the lake, which now is said to be the exact color of his eyes. Realizing that she cannot be brought back to life, he took his own as well. Local folklore also believes that faeries gather around the lake in the Midsummer. They attribute the occasional disappearance of people to the faeries. Another interesting thing about this lake is that it never freezes, even in the winter. It stays a constant average temperature year round.
Hiking further up the mountain, there is a waterfall called Beușnița. We went in the middle of August, which, ironically, is the height of summer, so the waterfall was a bit dried up. Water falling became water copiously dripping. Nevertheless, because of the drying up of the falls, we were able to enter a chamber within the rock formation. Entering the chamber was like walking in a rainy autumn’s day. It was cold inside from the constant flow of water. The water is clean and refreshing, so we filled our water bottles and we drank thirstily from it.
The total time it took us to hike to and fro was 4 hours. We could have been faster but the beauty of the park delayed us. The river was our constant companion, cooling down the air while the trees were our protectors from the sun. Hiking is not too shabby after all. It requires focus and will. Although it was tiring, it was not tiresome because the lake and the waterfall were worth it!
On the same day, we rode our bus to see one of the most charming waterfalls in Romania. Its name is Bigar (Cascada Bigăr). It’s a 5-minute walk beside a highway from our parking area, no hiking for this one. In fact, you could easily have been dropped off right in front of it. The waterfall is not level with the highway. This means that one has to go down to be able to see it as it’s depicted in the photos.
The waterfall is a lovely moss-covered mushroom-shaped affair. The water was not gushing down; rather, it was gliding smoothly over the dome, ending without splashing into the river. The rhythmic pitter-patter of the water was hypnotically soothing to mind. This is definitely a must see waterfall!
Connecting with nature was definitely one of the things I did not expect to do in Romania. Who knew that such beautiful scenery could be found here? Not me definitely. I’ve gained a renewed appreciation for nature. It seems that my preoccupation with university, friends and whatnot has made me a tad bit disconnected with the mountains and their majesty. I did discover more about Romania, more than that, I’ve discovered more about myself.
Note: The Bigar and the Beușnița falls are not wishing wells!!! I’ve written in my previous article (The Cave) how people have the habit of throwing coins into water, it’s happening even in waterfalls!!!