We leave Bucharest and drive through Walachia to the Iron Gates where the Danube crosses through the Carpathian Mountains in Drobeta-Turnu Severin. There we stop to admire the new monument built as a memory of the Trajan’s Bridge. Can you imagine that in 103 AD people managed to erect it only in three years, where the Danube is about 1200 meters broad? Then we pass the Oriental Gates ridge where the Roman legions crossed the mountains searching for the Dacian capital. And finally, in Slatina Timis, we leave the national road to venture deep into Semenic Mountains where for the next few days will take place Garana Jazz Festival, The 20th Edition.
Garana Jazz Festival has already 20 years behind. A lot has changed. And some things are just the same as in 1996 in the Crossroads Inn (La Rascruce). You will find a very friendly and comfortable atmosphere, quite a lot of people coming here know each other for many years but meet only once a year and their emotions feed the spirit of happiness.
You already know about Adventure-Romania’s special accommodation option – billion star hotels. This time, we arrive very late and darkness is so strong that an outstretched hand is taken by the night. As expected in any respectable hotel, The Wolf Meadow welcomes us with compliments. The brightest Milky Way we’ve ever seen up in the sky and an old good friend with cold brews down on the ground. He is one of those whom we meet only here but every time we resume our conversation just as we halted it yesterday.
Listening to the jazz is not the only way to spend time at the festival. The main concert starts at 7pm and you have nearly the whole day to do anything that will make you happy. Relax in a hammock in the shade of the fur-tree forest, walk or ride a bike, go swimming in one of the nearby lakes… If you come here with Adventure-Romania you also can take part in a unique team cooking performance with our ingenious chef Vali. He is so excellent in doing it that can inspire the whole team and even more!
And the most restless ones can go exploring what’s around.
First of all – the ghost village Lindenfeld (Linden Meadow). The village where only 2 people still live, the rest of the villagers left over 30 years ago, because of the harsh living conditions in the mountains. Today the village is taken back by nature. Houses have collapsed, trees are growing where you don’t expect them. In the church, several swallow families guard the place in the summer. The road to Lindenfeld is a bit of a challenge but, in a dry weather, it is a perfect training to sharpen your off-road driving skills.
Garana is just 90 km away from the 45th parallel north (if you go by a normal road), the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. We prefer to use a shortcut, a secret path only 45 km long, across the dense forest of Semenic – Cheile Carasului National Park. The reason to go there is the Bigar Spring, more commonly known as Bigar Waterfall. It is one of the most unusual waterfalls in the world and one of the most beautiful in Romania. According to The World Geography, there is a number of facts that place it as number one on the list of eight unique waterfalls around the world due to the way the water spreads and falls in tiny shreds of water, and also the fact that it is located exactly on the 45th parallel.
Another remarkable place to visit is a historical train from Oravita to Anina. The Oravita–Anina was the first mountain railway in today’s Romania, opened more than 150 years ago, in 1863. It is still in use today and it is one of the most beautiful railways in Europe due to very charming landscapes, viaducts and long tunnels. Definitely, it’s worth telling a separate story, stay tuned!