Hiking in the magical land of Buzău. Beauties from the land of the mythical king Luana, to be seen in Romania

For those who love nature, hiking and landscapes, so wild that they are frightening and, last but not least, want to avoid crowds, the land of Buzău is the perfect choice.

The mud volcanoes of Buzau PHOTO Antonia Ispas

The leisure options are countless and inexpensive, and there is so much to see that it is virtually impossible to do even a brief review in one day.

The mountainous region of Buzău is shunned by tourists: it is not promoted, it cannot be reached by highway, there are not so many accommodation options, but it has at least as much to offer in terms of landscapes and legends as the Prahova Valley.

Mud volcanoes

We only had 12 hours, so we set out to cover the quintessence. The first and most well-known stop in Buzău, but also the easiest, is at Vulcanii Noroiosi, an area of ​​undisputed bizarre charm. There are four distinct plateaus, where you can reach Sătuc from National Road 10. From here the signs send us for another 20 kilometers on county roads to one of the plateaus, of your choice: La Fierbători, Pâclele Mari, Pâclele Mici and Beciu.

The mud volcanoes in Buzău source foro Antonia Ispas

The mud volcanoes in Buzău source foro Antonia Ispas

There are parking lots in all the areas where you can leave your car, and from the parking lots it is about a ten-minute hike, on scenic paths, to the volcanoes.

The selenary gray landscape, the bubbling volcanoes spewing clay water from the depths, the trenches dug by the tireless outpouring… it's all worth the effort. It feels otherworldly, and although you couldn't ask for anything more Instagrammable, the tourists are in their dozens, even though it's lunchtime.

The entrance fee is more than affordable: 4 lei for adults, 2 lei for students and 1 lei for students. If you don't want to visit and take pictures of all four plateaus, there is enough time for other wonders in the area.

The bizarre trovans from Ulmet

The road to the trovants of Ulmet is a picturesque nightmare. Dotted with houses, camouflaged by trees, with splendid scenery and farmers selling water onions, potatoes, berries and jams on the side of the road, it is a real car trap.

Where there are no potholes, there are craters, and in some areas, the footbridges are being rehabilitated, so the passage is made on dusty shortcuts that go down steep slopes of all horror, slopes on which two cars can hardly fit. It took us more than an hour to get from the volcanoes to the trovanti, driving only on county roads with low speed forced by the bumpy road.

The Trovantians from Buzău photo source Antonia Ispas

The Trovantians from Buzău photo source Antonia Ispas

The sign in the landscaped parking lot shows that it is only 400 meters to the abode of strange stones that are attributed with magical powers and extraterrestrial origins. In reality, tourists have to walk about a kilometer and a half, uphill, because the last part of the road is accessible by car only to brave riversiders, who probably own carts: otherwise it is inexplicable how they would use the shady path sown with boulders.

Compared to the access to the volcanoes, this is a challenge: budding troubadours cover the entire path that winds upwards past lovely old houses with wooden fences, and the trees are so densely crowned that they form a tunnel of greenery over the road.

After the long hike that requires sports shoes, we arrived at the foot of the slope where the merchants offer homemade shock, even necessary for the last part of the road: a steep, old staircase, with the only merit of having benches for rest, made of logs, at each level.

You feel the coolness of the climbed mountain with every step until finally the landscape opens up and you feel it was worth it. Alien ships carved in stone, children's heads, gigantic spheres thrown on the meadows without any explanation or logical use and a final slope to the Babel of Ulmet, a group of huge stones, which seem to consult on a plateau of a beauty that cuts you breathing.

The Trovantians from Buzău photo source Antonia Ispas

The Trovantians from Buzău photo source Antonia Ispas

It is said about these stones that they actually grow out of the ground, that they sometimes change their place, that they have magical powers. The entrance fee to this silent land is 10 lei for adults and 5 lei for children. In terms of tourists, I met a few brave ones: a group of Hungarian tourists of the third age, whom I envied for their physical condition, and some Romanians happy and amazed by this incredible landscape, a must see in Romania.

The mystical land of Luana

So much has been written about the Land of Luanei, the mythical king who once ruled these lands, that it is surprising that it has not become a place of pilgrimage. Whether the magic of this place makes you fight to see it, or the authorities just don't care, it's incredible how steep and unpaved the road leading to this area is: after all it's winding, it's 99% unpaved.

Our goal was to get to see the cells of the hermits, dug into the rock of the mountain, admirably preserved and spoken of only in superlatives.

Tara Luanei photo source Antonia Ispas

Tara Luanei photo source Antonia Ispas

Arriving in the village of Nucu, we understood that we had to part with the car, which we had tried so hard to get there. For nature hikers, this is probably the ideal, perfect trip. For a group of townspeople, like us, no!

The old women at the gates of the last houses at the entrance to the forest discreetly made the sign of the cross over us and printed their signs well, probably to know what to say to 112 about the unconscious people leaving for Romania's Athos in t-shirts and without water supplies with them .

It took an hour to travel through the forest: the signs on the road don't tell you exactly what to expect, so you don't backtrack. The explanatory panels had enticed us by explaining that there was once a sea here, that you can see fossils of marine life embedded in the rocks, and that there is evidence that the area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age.

Tara Luanei photo source Antonia Ispas

Tara Luanei photo source Antonia Ispas

The road is actually a forest: fallen trees, muddy slopes, boulders at every step, the temperature drops degree by degree and it's as if you expect a creature to jump in your face. You climb, and climb, and climb, without seeing a human scream, without hearing any other sound than the Nucu River, which is said to be, in fact, the legendary living healing water, with which King Luana healed his subjects. Above us, the incredible blue sky, probably these are the “mouths of Heaven” through which the ancient inhabitants believed that the earth communicated directly with the Divinity.

Romania's Athos

The road to the cell area was just the gentle initiation: when we thought we had reached the port, the indicator showed us that we still had five minutes to go. Five minutes of actually climbing the mountain, vertically, with the help of roots and bushes to the cell of Dionisie Torcatorul. We didn't leave. We arrived with difficulty and with the fear that the missing phone signal will not help us to call Salvamont in case of need. We put our hope in God and in the fact that the sun would stay in the sky for another two hours, so we could go back.

The cell is small, as befits a hermit, who slept on the rock-hewn bench. It makes you think that, if you didn't see it, it would be hard to believe that a human being would have chosen to wander into this wasteland, with no other companion than the gurgling river in the area, no human scream regardless of the season, as if he wanted to deal only with himself and God. Which is probably true…

Dionisie Torcătorul's cell photo source Antonia Ispas

Dionisie Torcătorul's cell photo source Antonia Ispas

We are alone here, but the believers who came before us left icons and candles.

Miles away are even more spectacular cells, such as Joseph's Church, carved into a perfectly round rock like a hobbit's house, or the Old and New Agathon. Unfortunately, these wonders remained inaccessible to us, as it was already evening.

Once again, we found the desolation incredible, the lack of climbers and photographers, nature lovers, leaving this place without tourists. Likewise, I noted the lack of guesthouses, which in other areas of the country are built right on the slopes, sometimes even in the heart of the forest.

Dionisie Torcătorul's cell photo source Antonia Ispas

Dionisie Torcătorul's cell photo source Antonia Ispas

As one day was not enough for all these amazing visits, we decided to leave for another trip the visit to the Aluniș cave complex, which specialists say is not only amazing, but also certified to be 700 years old .

Stop at Pleșcoi

The beautiful town of Pleșcoi was by far the biggest disappointment. Just as you don't take cucumbers to the gardener, so our small group hoped to enjoy the most famous delicacy of the area, directly from the source, not from the restaurants far from the town, which put on the menu aromatic sausages Broiled, broiled or fried.

Well, the surprise was total. There was no restaurant on the entire main road in the town made famous by sausages. Lustful visions of barbecues on terraces, on the side of the road, with brown dishes and a mouth-watering smell were soon extinguished and luckily with a craft shop on the main road, where I was able to get supplies to cook them the home.

As in many areas that hope to make money from tourism, in Buzau all the infotourism centers were closed. For an area that already has a poor infrastructure, to do no promotion and for foreigners to have nowhere to get information or guidance, this is really serious. The only step in the field of promoting areas that have something to offer visitors is done on the website of the Buzău County Council, which is surprisingly filled with information in this direction.