Carpathian, Walking, Bears & Mushrooms

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Seeing 5 bears including a mother and cub at the bearhide. Generally admiring the scenery on our hikes. Pastries and schnapps at the Saxon village! Seeing the Bears and learning some of their sad stories at the sanctuary.

What did you think of your group leader?

Udo was charismatic, knowledgable, principled and possessed a wicked sense of humour. Crucially on the walks he ensured there were plenty of breaks and waited for everyone before imparting information. In the hotel Katharina was a very inspirational person to talk to. I recommend group members try to grab 20-30 minutes of her time to talk about conservation in the region.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

I got away with walking shoes but ideally you should have waterproof hiking boots. The weather forecast doesn't apply to higher levels of the Carpathians! Lunch most days consists of ham and cheese sandwiches which you prepare yourself at breakfast. I was grateful for the snacks I brought with me as there is no food (officially!) available at the hotel between mealtimes. If you are unfit do not consider this trip. The walks are tough in places if you do not have a decent level of fitness. There are hiking poles available to use at the hotel. Most of our group used poles at some point and given the volume of slopes encountered I would recommend all but the most experienced hikers consider using them. The cable car to the top of the mountain in Brasov is not part of the itinerary but it is highly recommended for your free time there.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

On the birdwatching trip, most of the birds had already migrated so avoid October departures if this is something you would particularly look forward to. Having said that, we were privileged to see two ural owls during the week. Food at the hotel was of a very high standard (took me by surprise if I'm honest) and our one vegetarian was well catered for.