Photographer's Note

The Transylvanian Alps are a place of peace, solitude and tranquility at this time of the year. The winter skiers have gone, but the summer hikers have yet to arrive. On the morning I took this photograph, I had this whole mountain to myself. I spent over an hour on this ridge, taking in the silence and the beautiful 360 degrees view. The weather was glorious – I felt like I was on top of the world.

I had taken the first cable car up from Sinaia to Cota 2000. I was the only paying passenger on the cable car that morning (the other passengers were workers manning the cable car station at the top). I was intending to hike to Babele and then take another cable car down to Busteni, but I discovered the snow was still too deep. After hiking less than a kilometre, I gave up because I was sinking up to my knees in snow – I guess I was about 2-3 weeks too early to make the hike without snow shoes or cross country skis.

Instead I climbed to the top of a ridge to take in this panoramic vista. For someone who lives in Asia, where three billion people makes it hard to find a place where you can see no other human beings, this was an experience to savour.

The ridge from which I took this photograph is part of the Bucegi Mountains, and those across the valley in the distance are the Fagaras Mountains – both part of the Carpathian Mountains (commonly known as the Transylvanian Alps) which cut a broad crescent-shaped swathe through the middle of Romania. The peaks in the distance are around 2,500 metres high

I should qualify my comment that I had the whole mountain to myself – there were a couple of men working in communications stations which I passed by on my mini-trek. But I was the only visitor on the mountain.

As I was struggling through the snow on my climb up the ridge from where I took this photograph, a man carrying a rifle came out of a microwave repeater station to tell me that I was in a restricted area and photography was strictly forbidden.

I asked if I could continue to the top of the ridge and take photographs of the mountains in the other direction. He gave me permission to do that, and when I got to the top I was very careful not to point my camera back in the direction of the repeater station. I didn’t want to tempt fate :)

Later, after the exhilaration of being the only visitor on the mountain had worn off, I thought to myself that maybe I would have had second thoughts about going up there if I had known that the only person I would meet that morning would be a stranger with a gun!

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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