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Piatra Secuiului and Rimetea - the village where the sun rises twice a day


In the summer of 2013 we did a bike tour of the Apuseni Mountains. We didn't travel exclusively by bike but we gathered several hundred kilometres on bikes only :) We discovered some amazing places that we want to share with you.

In the second part of this tour we reached the village of Rimetea in Alba county where we stayed for 3 days. We'll write more posts about this wonderful tour we did but first let us present you one of the most beautiful villages we visited in Romania.

The idea behind the bike tour was to drive our cars with our bikes on top to several locations and stop for a few days in each location to discover the entire area with our mountain bikes. Like this, we managed to got around the Apuseni Mountains :) It was a beautiful tour, one of the best I may say :) The first adventure from this tour happens in the area of a beautiful village called Rimetea.


Gyopar Panzio - the best accommodation we had in Romania

Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
We made reservations for our accommodation in the area especially at this place since we saw pictures of this beautiful guest house/camping. It's an extremely nice place to stay. You have a great view from the courtyard as you can see in the picture above. It is mainly a camping site but it also has a guest house and some small wooden houses where you can stay. We stayed in the wooden houses, right in this beautiful courtyard. The name of the place is Gyopar Panzio (Edelweiss).

The houses in which we stayed are quite small but enough for two people. Each wooden house has two beds. There area a total of 10 wooden houses here. Behind them you have the camping side. The bathrooms and showers are shared for everyone but they are very clean and we had no complaints during our stay. The courtyard is big, covered with grass, a lot of flowers, bushes and trees. You can immediately tell that the owners take very good care of this place. Everything is where you expect it to be and everything and everyone is very civilised. Most of the tourists staying here are foreign tourists. 

Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
The courtyard has a big gathering place and another smaller place fit with tables and a fridge for the tourists to use at will. They also have a restaurant and you have to say at the beginning of the day if you want to eat there in order for them to know how much food to prepare. The food is delicious and they always ask you if you want more, but that is not the case :)

Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
view towards Colții Trascăului - Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
The garden in the courtyard is spectacular and I can only guess how much work is needed to maintain it like this. Everything fits in its place and together with the spectacular background makes one hell of a place to drink your coffee in the morning. There are fir trees, all kinds of bushes, roses and many petunias.

As I was saying, the background is spectacular because you can see a beautiful rock formation called Colții Trascăului (Trascău Fangs). Remember we are in the Apuseni Mountains and specifically in the Trascău Mountains which are part of the Apuseni Mountain group. Colții Trascăului mark the end of a spectacular rock formation that dominates Rimetea village called Piatra Secuiului (Szekeli Stone). More about this beautiful landmark later in the post :)

view towards Colții Trascăului - Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)

Colții Trascăului
We want to especially thank the owners of this guest house/camping for what they have achieved. We felt wonderful here, they were very nice and we can't stop admiring the beauty of this place. We recommend you spend a few days here, you will never forget it! :)

bird house - Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)
bird house - Gyopar Panzio Guest House (Edelweiss)

Piatra Secuiului - the stone giant

Piatra Secuiului
The village of Rimetea, about which we will soon speak, is dominated by this huge limestone landmark: Piatra Secuiului. Piatra Secuiului is a limestone hill, with no trees, elongated but interrupted by a ravine. The Northern part of this ravine is called Colții Trascăului, which can be seen from the beautiful camping where we stayed. Because of this ravine and the huge size of this landmark the villagers living in the Northern part of Rimetea witness a strange phenomenon: the sun rises two times in the same day. Everything due to Piatra Secuiului and the way it is positioned combined with the presence of the ravine. It's very strange and I never heard of this happening anywhere else :)

Piatra Secuiului
Piatra Secuiului
Rest with a view :)
Unfortunately we didn't schedule to climb up Piatra Secuiului but this is definitely on our to - do list. It's quite a climb, it's true and I understand that doing this track both ways takes about 6 hours. However we continued by bike to the next biggest tourist attraction in the area: Trascău Fortress (the old name), or Colțești Fortress (the new name).


Colțești Fortress - perfect view towards Piatra Secuiului

Colțești Fortress
I'm sure that this fortress was not built in order to have a nice panorama over Piatra Secuiului but today this is its main role :)) Colțești Fortress, previously known as Trascău Fortress, is accessible from the village of Colțești. From the centre of the village you begin climbing on a street towards the fortress. You can't miss it, it's visible from the village. The fortress dates back from 1296 and was built as a stronghold during the Tatar invasion. The almost vertical stone walls of the hill it stands on make it virtually impenetrable. As a tourists you can make a detour to the left and then climb a steep slope which takes you inside the fortress.

Piatra Secuiului seen from Colțești Fortress
Piatra Secuiului seen from Colțești Fortress
Once inside you realise what a good position it has in order to observe Piatra Secuiului from a distance. We took tens of pictures here. It's a great vantage point. The fortress itself is today only ruins. One of the few things standing is a massive defence tower. We kept walking through the fortress and discovered a new angle which overlooked yet another beautiful sight: Vălișoarei Gorges. We didn't even know they existed and we discovered them on the spot from a distance. They are gorgeous. Of course that after we finished with the fortress we went into the gorges and explored them :)

Colțești Fortress
Colțești Fortress
Vălișoarei Gorges seen from Colțești Fortress
Vălișoarei Gorges up close

Rimetea village and the buses full of tourists

Rimetea
The first thing we remarked about Rimetea is that people don't all speak Romanian, which is very strange. 85% of the people here are Hungarian ethnics. This is not a problem itself but I find it a bit disturbing that I can't speak my language in my own country as we soon discovered in a shop where we asked for ice cream and it took some time for the salesman to understand what we wanted... I don't think this is normal. It is a matter of respect to speak the language of the country you are born in and where you live.

Rimetea
Now that what bothered us is out of the way let's talk about the beauty of this village. This is the only village in Romania where we saw buses full of tourists coming to visit the village itself, nothing else. In the centre of Rimetea there is a big parking lot where we saw these many buses, the majority of which were transporting Hungarian tourists. We were pretty impressed.

Every house in the village has some kind of souvenir shop or is a guest house or is a restaurant. So it's clear that this is a touristic place. But what attracts them? Well I would say the beautiful architecture of the houses. They all look almost the same. They are painted in white and they have green windows with green wooden shutters. Almost all have beautiful flowers at their windows. It's a very nice place to be and to walk around.

You can immediately tell that the people here are very hard working and they take great care of their heritage. We admire them and encourage them to continue but they can only do it if tourists come and see these beautiful rural places. It is definitely worth coming to Rimetea because here you have many things to see: the village itself, Piatra Secuiului, Colțești fortress, Vălișoarei Gorges. And these are really close by. Just 50 km away you can visit the beautiful city of Turda and it's world famous Salt Mine and also Turda Gorges which are extremely spectacular.


Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea
Rimetea

4 comments :

  1. I found your writing accidentally. Let me congratulate you. Accurate, understandable and willing to travel after reading it. A couple of words about some sentences which were bothering me. You said it was strange that 85 % of the population is not Romanian and you felt discomfort not speaking your own language. I think you should reset your hard drive in your brain and heart or just travel a bit Europe. Corsica, Tyrol, Finland, Switzerland. You should be we are still here making this country richer and you should be sad there no more saxons and jews. You might not have been disturbed for example by a german conversation in Sibiu? Or just make a deep self analysis. Good day!

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    Replies
    1. I have nothing to reset sir. I think it is normal to (also) speak the official language of the country you live in. Of course I have no problem if Hungarian or German ethnics speak their own language. I did not say that.

      As a Romanian I want to be able to have a conversation in Romanian anywhere in this country. I'm sure that you, as a Hungarian (I guess), also wish to be able to speak Hungarian in Hungary :)

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  2. hello tyuki si silviu

    incerc sa inteleg fustrarile voastre in legatura cu limba vorbita in unele zone ale romaniei, in acest caz la rimetea.
    as putea spune ca amindoi aveti dreptate.
    eu locuiesc de 28 ani in California si cunosc cazuri destule in care cei care locuiesc aici nu stiu sa vorbeasca engleza.si aici unii sant ofensati de asta, altii insa nu le pasa.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dupa cum raspundeam si la celalalt comentariu, pe noi nu ne deranjeaza ca oamenii isi vorbesc limba materna. Asta e absolut normal. Fie ca e ungureste, germana, engleza sau alta limba.

      Nu despre asta este vorba ci despre respectul pe care oricine locuieste intr-o anumita tara il are fata de aceasta. Prima conditie pentru a fi parte din acea societate este sa ii vorbesti limba, altfel vei trai izolat si am impresia ca unii oameni isi doresc asta si doresc sa provoace.

      Asa cum mexicanii care vin in SUA sau sirienii care vin in Europa invata limba tarii in care au venit asa pot si ungurii din Romania (care apropo, s-au nascut aici) sa invete limba romana. E minimul de respect.

      Nemtii care vorbesc germana la Sibiu fiti siguri ca stiu sa vorbeasca limba romana, dar unii se incapataneaza sa traiasca in trecut, sa provoace si sa sfideze si sa aiba lipsa de respect fata de tara in care traiesc.

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