Romania is turdally beautiful!

After two nights in Cluj we set off to our next destination, stopping at a couple of interesting places along the way. The first was an old salt mine called Salina Turda, which has been turned into a tourist hotspot. This may not sound interesting but it was one of the most fascinating places we visited. 

As we entered down the steps, the temperature dropped from 25 degrees to a much more wintery 8 degrees. We were not prepared attire-wise, but our enthusiasm to learn kept us warm as we educated ourselves about the history of the mine. There was a really long tunnel that was quite freaky to walk down because it went on for over a mile. We were very keen and walked right to the end, which nobody else could be bothered to do, meaning that eventually we reached a point where all we could see was empty tunnel stretching out ahead and behind us, without another soul in sight. Freaky.

The next part of the salt mine completely blew us away. They had converted the huge, cavernous pit into an underground theme park for kids. It looked like something out of my first (unpublished) novel, Centum 184 - a magnificent subterranean and futuristic world. It really was something to behold and pictures do not do it justice. It's one of those things that you have to see in order to appreciate the design and scale. There was a ferris wheel down there, for goodness sake!

We left the mine after an hour or so and headed to the nearby Turda Gorge for a walk. We were a little blind as to what this was and how long the walk would take, but we drove down a dirt track road and parked up by a gorgeous gorge view. We decided to hike along the gorge from there and see how far we could get before having to turn round so we could drive to the next town by bedtime. 

We ended up hiking for a few hours and seeing some wonderful things: birds, insects, and two gigantic moths. They had a 10cm wingspan and were very beautiful. We also crossed many bridges, some more rickety than others. 
Google informs me this is a female giant peacock moth, which can grow up to 20cm in wingspan!

After a long day of driving and adventuring, we arrived quite late to our hotel in Sighisoara. We were only staying there one night, and hadn't been able to call to let them know we were running late so the owner had gone to bed before we arrived! But he was very pleased to see us and made us neck a shot of palinka before allowing us to sleep! I'm all for being polite and honouring local customs but they're not always welcome...

Tune in next time as our adventure continues in unpronounceable Sighisoara!
Heading down the long staircase into the chilly, dark, weirdly wonderful mine

All of these photos do a great job of showing how weird everything looked and how hard it was to
understand exactly what we were looking at most of the time.

We descended into the fairground pit in a lift and our minds were blown by the view

The beginning of our gorgeous walk