CARPATHIAN CULTURE AND WILDLIFE

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

"If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise" - Well we certanly had a surprise.  We saw close-up in their natural habitat, a Mother bear and her three cubs and then a Male bear appeared, all this watched  in a hide. In the bear conservation sanctuary we also saw a number of rescued bears including one from Tibet-all had a story to tell. We also witnesed a altercation between a pack of wolves.  So experiencing closeup bears, wolves, birds and the ocassional dragon fly(to keep David happy!) was the highlights for me.

What did you think of your group leader?

The experience was made all the better by Cosmin, our guide, who was very enthusiastic and compassionate about animal conservation.  He was able to share his knowledge with us.  Just wish he wouldn't keep stopping for every bloody bird he met (feathered kind I mean) Katrina, was our accomodating host at the guest house.  She equally shared Cosmin's passion for wildlife and always around if we had any questions.  Katrina gave us a guided tour around the bear conservation sanctuary.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The accomodation was excellent. We stayed in a swiss style guest house in Magura in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Carpathian mountains.  I had a balcony view which overlooked fields and meadows and the local church.  The food was out of this world and every evening after each days trekking or sight seeing a different traditional transylvanian three course meal was laid on. There was free beer and wine, courtessy of the help yourself drinks refridgerator, well so it seemed until we added our tallies up on the last day and even then the bill was incredibly cheap. Finally, I met a great bunch of fellow travellers from around the UK and U.S.A who were all very interesting and supportive to one another and who I will endeavour to keep in touch. And congatulations to everyone on the final gorge walk for completing it - in the words of Edmund Hillary "We knocked the bastard off"