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Romania's Road to Heaven - romaniantrip.net
Imagine a path that led you along a dramatically changing natural landscape of spectacular waterfalls, rugged mountains, ancient underground temples, volcanoes, and prairies where wild buffalo still roam. You might believe that it was the path to Heaven itself. In fact it is Romania’s own road to Heaven; a brand new superhighway under construction, costing about 2 billion EURO, with an expected completion date of 2010-2012. This new highway will ultimately connect Romania with Europe and Asia, as it connects with other super highways in the region. It will also transform out-of-the-way Romanian “boon-dock” towns into blossoming resort oasis-es. They say that there is no such thing as Heaven on earth. However, after recently following the path of this new highway, I am convinced that if Heaven is not on earth then at least the road that leads there soon will be. If a picture paints a thousand words, then what follows, short on verbiage and heavy on visualization, provided by photos taken along and near the path of the new route, should give good expression to the magnificence and sheer raw beauty that I encountered on my journey along this soon-to-be highway to Heaven. We began our journey at the border town of Bors near Hungary and continued along it until we soon reached our first destination. Retezat National Park And Surrounds At over 38,000 square hectares, 800 square kilometers, Retezat National Park is a monumental tribute to the beauty of Mother Nature. In the lower part of the park there are deep narrow valleys, while the higher parts consist of glacial plateaus with more than 80 glacier lakes. The largest single area of pristine mixed forest in Europe covers the lower levels of the Park. Visitors experience alpine pastures, wide plateaus covered with flowers, extraordinary passes, gorges, and cavernous limestone caves. There are also sky-scraping peak-pyramids, deep ravines and ice-scoured parable sync-lines decorated with glacial lakes. Glaciers have helped to create terraced valleys that end in magnificent glacial bays, lakes and waterfalls. It is a virtual cornucopia containing the vast diversity found in the awe-inspiring majesty of nature. A network of tourist trails is currently being renewed in the Retezat. Camping and parking sites will be established around the park. Visitor centers and information points are also being built. The park is gearing up for an onslaught of tourists that will start to come as the new highway is constructed. There are many towns, villages, and resorts as you explore the county of Hunedora – the county where the Park is located. As the area is not economically developed, the region also offers some of the best values on land and home construction in all of Romania. Labor costs here are likewise very low. At the same time, foreign investment is on the rise, helping to develop resort towns in Hunedora county, some which include modern ski slopes and modern accommodations. There are a number of locations both for the establishment of inns and personal homes in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty and within close proximity to the national park. These areas will all go from being “out-in-the-boondocks” towns to centrally located resort villages after the new highway is completed. In the meantime, excellent opportunities to invest exist. After several dazzling days basking in the unspoiled beauty of nature we are ready for a little city-life in nearby Cluj-Napoca. Cluj-Napoca Try to imagine a medieval fairy tale village and then turn that village into a small city and then bring it into the 21st century and you have Cluj-Napoca or as the German residents and tourists here refer to it “Clausenburg”. Filled with a warm and hospitable population, the city of “Cluj” (the shorten name of the town), is a delight. The city, a business, artistic and cultural capitol of Romania, is also considered by many as the country’s best maintained, cleanest city. I believe that Ina, a tourist to Cluj from Macon, Georgia, described the city best when she said “It’s a mixture of old and new, of tradition and experimentation, definitely a destination for people breathing the past and the future with the same breath.” Thanks Ina, I couldn’t have put it better myself! This city is definitely worth a visit, or as a place to live. After spending several days in nature and several days in the city, the only thought on my mind was how wonderful it would be if you could live in both nature and city simultaneously. You can, the places are called Brasov-Predeal-Sinaia. Brasov-Predeal-Sinaia Brasov (Brashov) is Romania’s best known, year-round resort mecca. A city in bloom, Brasov offers an old and new city putting a variety of attractions and conveniences at easy reach. There is a new international airport under construction that will allow visitors to bypass Bucharest and fly right to the heart of Transylvania. The city makes a great base for travel to resort towns and natural landmarks in the region. My favorite resort station in the area is the charming village of Predeal. Predeal often surprises tourists to Romania as it is one of the few towns in Romania that looks like it is newly constructed. Many of the buildings were constructed after the 1989 collapse of communism and the new town which has sprung up here looks like a Swiss village with a touch of Romanian flair. I happened to have met several Swiss tourists while I was in Predeal. They told me that they have been coming for several years now to Predeal, as the environs are very familiar to what they are used to back home, but with prices a mere fraction of what they would have to dish out in Switzerland for a similar vacation. From there, it’s just a little further south until I reach Sinaia – technically outside of Transylvania – it is still considered the “Pearl of the Carpathians (the famous Romanian mountain range).” This resort town is home to Peles Castle, one of the most stunning and well-kept...