So we took the "telecabina" up to the mountain top at 2000 meters. Maybe we would have thought twice, had we noticed the "Built 1970" sign, or the crud-covered emergency handle, or the picture of the Virgin Mary above the emergency phone. However, we hadn't and up we went, high above the tree tops, swaying madly to and fro. "At least", Doug said, "we'd all go down together". Not much of a consolation that was. (Click on the pictures to see the full versions!)
We walked up the last five or so elevation meters to reach the plateau and were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the southern part of the Carpathian mountains, a few of which had snow crusts clinging to them. The air was so good, so clean - our lungs had a little fest up there. It was quite nippy but the sun shone and we happily set out to hike down the "Red Trail" to the mid-mountain station. We figured that as a first, a two-hour hike with the kids would be enough. The trail turned out to be erratically marked. Sometimes, we'd have a cluster of two or three signs quite close to each other but other times, the signs were barely detectable. The trail itself was often washed out and barely visible, so we ended up asking people for directions. Those people usually reacted a bit confused when Doug asked for the "drum rosii". Only hours lately it came to us that "rosii" doesn't mean red ("rosu") but "tomato". Well, if I encountered some tourists asking me for the "tomato trail", I'd be confused too. We did find the mid-mountain station, though, and in no bad time, either. David slept through the entire hike; Alan was pretty well-behaved and was rewarded with a stick and was allowed to walk the last 500 meters down the rocky trail. Oh, if I could ever be as happy as a little boy with a stick! It was a great day for all of us - we got some color in our cheeks, worked up an enormous appetite and our muscles were nicely sore the next day. Definitely something worth repeating.