At Home in the Mountains

Two weeks ago the company I work at has organized a ‘survivor camp’, which is basically a team-building activity to which our partners/family is also invited. On that weekend around 240 people have gathered, so a grand hotel was needed to accommodate everyone. The decision has fallen to Grand Hotel Bálványos a hotel in Bálványos, a remote resort very close to the town I was born in (Kézdiásárhely – Rom:Tg. Secuiesc). So, in a way, this was an opportunity to actually go home to the mountains I grew up in. I must say, although I am used to them, there were still quite a few surprises.
First of all, the hotel itself was recently renovated and compared to the old hotel, that was in its place before, the new hotel looks awesome: a true 21st century four star hotel. There were some minor inconveniences with one of the internet plugs not working, but other than that our room was excellent. I would recommend anyone who decides to stay in the hotel, to take a room located on the front side of the hotel, with a view upon the valley: it is breathtaking 😉 .

During the weekend we have organized a few trips to some local attractions. There was a possibility to take a long hike on the Puturosu Mountain, ending it at the ruins of the Bálványos fortress. It was a long trip and because of the weather and some health issues I recently had, I decided no to choose this (although from what people say it was fun).

The other option was to visit the St. Anna Lake and the Mohos swamp. I must say the lake itself looked rather empty: I was used to the tons of people lying on the shores of it in the summer. The place is usually full of life, not really resembling a natural reserve. Now, however, I got the chance to admire it in peace. If the weather wasn’t so cold I would visit it in October more often 🙂 .
To the swamp itslef there is guided tour, because it is not really a safe area: keep on the tracks and you’ll be safe. A word of advice: do not visit it in October, none of it’s plants or wildlife will be visible then. Choose a warmer month, it is much better then. (You can imagine the speed we went through the swamp considering the cold, and the fact that there was not much to see 😀 )…
And… although we, fat tourists, went by bus, some of our more sporty colleagues chose to rent bikes from the hotel and to just get to the lake with them. It is a good alternative, but it is advised only for hardcore people in October (it was really chilly…).

Last but not least, there was a possibility to visit the Sulfurous Cave, which was just a few minutes hike away from the hotel. We decided to visit the cave on the 3rd day (it was actually included also in the long hike that I mentioned above). There is not much to see on the cave itself, but much more to smell and feel once inside. The sulfur concentration coming out of the cave is so high, that people can actually smell it from hundreds of meters away. Once inside, there is a level below which it is deadly to breathe, but the tingling feeling which covers your body below that line is funny. Also if people look closely the sulfur pouring out of the cave is visible with the naked eye: the air is shaking 30-40 cm-s above the ground (it is best visible while looking out from the cave), just as if water would be pouring out, down into the valley.

In the end I can say it was a good experience. For me it was about re-visiting the places I always knew since my childhood, so I should have said it was boring… it was actually not. Granted, I haven’t been up in Bálványos for quite a while, but still, I knew every inch of it and even so it was a pleasant experience. I never knew the area is this relaxing in the more quiet months (also more the more chilly months, but for me, the mountain boy, this is no problem 😛 )…

You can find some low-q picture taken with my phone here


One Response to “At Home in the Mountains”

  1. Hegi says:

    Glad you liked it in the hotel 🙂 sorry about the problems with the internet plug