And the churches are behind us as we hit the road, beatin’ a trail to Turda and the much anticipated…salt mines? Whatever, I heard they were a bit chilly all underground and stuff, kinda like the caves we went to near Sloavkia, so I was down with the temperature relief.
It wasn’t too long of a drive which meant I didn’t get much of a nap and subsequently was fairly cranky when I got there. Also, I was still reading The Fountainhead at this point of the trip, so I had become quite cynical when approached with neo-classic architecture. I didn’t go to the salt mines with much hope, but again, I wanted the cold. Good thing for the salt mine though, we were greeted by a kitten at the entrance. I perked up a bit.
The entrance into the cave actually turned my once negative thoughts right upside down. We had a 500 meter walk through a tunneled hallway into the excavation area, and it was sweeet.
We got a tour once we were inside. They took us through an echo room where you could curse at a high decibel level and listen as it reverberates 16 times. You just have to scream very loudly if you want to hear it so many times. Otherwise all you’ll hear is a measly ten. We also got to see where over 850, I believe, horses died during the mines operation. The pulley system used to pull the salt up from the bottom of the mine previously was powered by the equestrians. Our guide informed, to the dismay of the four ladies in attendance, that the horses brought down to work would be blind in a week and dead in a month, and it took three horses to run the thing. I felt like I was back in the Terror House.
The obvious highlight of the mines is the vast emptiness that once supplied Europe with it’s salt rations when there wasn’t things like refridgerators to keep their meat. I don’t even remember how deep it was, but check out the pictures, it’s major.
There were cats down there playing soccer against the side of the mine and others engaging in some spirited volleyball. Before we descended down, however, we got to walk the perimeter of the area. The walkway was not what you want to put your feet to. Gaps between boards, way too much creeking, no supports below them, just the boards stuck into the sides. Needless to mention how quick and crowded the line moved around to the stairs. It was much nicer when we reached the bottom. You could check out the stalagtites of salt that had formed.
The last cool thing to mention about the mines is that on the stairs down about every level or so, there’s a plaque on the wall marking the year the mine was at that level. It get’s into the 1900s. Oh yeah, no humidity so no dust or allergies.
We skipped out on the nearby “Dracula” castle to head over to what excited me most about the day, more promises of ruins like the first day. And these, oh these, they were promised to be better.
The Fortress of Leta at Magyarleta is another 13th century bastion that was built for the Mongol invasions. Unfortunately, my camera died before I actually got to the ruins, but the trek up there was a vision itself. It was the rolling hill countryside of Transylvania and all that jazz. We passed some menacing sheep dogs and a horse just chilling out in the hills.
We hiked up a while in this stuff and it was quite the view the whole time.
Once atop a what we thought might be our final ridge, we saw what was our goal, dead ahead.
It’s the ruins on the small middle peak if you can’t tell.
I took some time before trudging through the valley to explore some of the neighboring peaks. Spencer snapped this pic of me and Jordan enjoying the vista.
Anyways, the ruins were sweet. Pretty much jumping around on old rocks and stuff. They were definitely way cooler than the others though. It was getting dark though, so we hit it back to the bus and got barked at again by even more fierce looking sheep dogs and went back to our little village for dinner.
That night was another one at the bar and getting shalacked this time at foosball by some locals. I think they don’t have anything else to do.