Pre-child, our trips always involved pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We were aching to get back to that style of travel. After a lot of research (by Drew, not me, I did nothing) and plenty of debate, it was decided. We would take ten days to run our way through portions of Romania. This trip was going to require us to be fast and light - a trail running vacation where we run with our “luggage” on our backs. (If you’re interested in my packlist and strategy, check it out here).
The plan was to wind our way through the Carpathian Mountains - sometimes on train or bus but largely on foot - between cities, mountain towns, villages, and huts. A sort of fastpacking variation that didn’t require us to pack shelter or cooking equipment, as we’d spend each night in a hut, home, or hotel.
If Romania isn’t on your bucket list, add it now. It’s an outdoor mecca on the rise that it seems US tourists have been the last to discover. In my experience, it offers the perfect combination of engaging people, reasonable prices, stunning mountain ranges, and compelling history that’s evident everywhere you look. In the span of two days, you can see the “real” Dracula’s castle, shepherds and their flocks high in the mountains, incredible Saxon fortresses, and communist-style cement block buildings.