20-Apr-2002 -- Last weekend my girlfriend and I took a short trip to her grandparents’ village (Mircesti), to spend a little time in the countryside, away from the city. Saturday, on April 20th, we decided to try and reach N45E24, which is located about 90 kilometers (ca. 60 miles) northwest of Mircesti. We left at 11 am and drove to Dragasani, the nearest important town. Dragasani lies on the banks of Olt river, is surrounded by sunny hills and is well-known in Romania for its vineyards and wines. We crossed the river Olt, one of Romania's main
rivers, and took road 67B to Targu Jiu. After 30 kilometers we turned right to Horezu, on road 65C. We were driving through the nice hills of Valcea County (for a brief description about the administrative divisions of Romania see N44E25). The road was along a small river and we crossed many rural settlements which laid along the river’s valley. The hills rose on both sides of the river, mostly covered with forests. The locals seemed to grow mainly cattle and sheep, but cereal fields could also be seen. Being a hilly region there were also lots of orchards, mainly planted with apple-trees and plum-trees. Plums make a great traditional drink, a sort of whisky or brandy, called ‘tuica’ in these parts.
Getting close to the confluence we took at one moment a road left, to the village of Cernisoara. From this village the confluence seemed to be over a hill, so we found another road that took us to the village of Copaceni. We were in another river valley, and the confluence looked to be above the village, on a forested hill. We started to look for a dirt road and found something that could hardly qualify as one: it was more like tractor trails that led to a small field in the direction of the confluence. We climbed the first slope and after some 500 meters we found ourselves surrounded by forests, except for the small agricultural field. The confluence was 200 meters on our right, eastwards, over the field, into a forest. We left the car and ran to the confluence, as the GPS started signaling the soon-to-come-extinction of the batteries, and we didn’t want to fail just near the confluence. We climbed down a little bit, entered the forest and after only 50 meters we reached all zeros! Quickly I turned the GPS display contrast to maximum and took a picture, which fortunately came out right, checked the elevation, looked for north (so I could explain the photos) and the GPS turned itself off. Luckily the car was near, so there was no need of GPS to find the way back.
The elevation was 408 meters. The view, in any direction, was only trees. So we took a few photos at the right spot, and then walked back to the car to shoot the pictures for a panoramic view. Photo#1 is looking southwards from the confluence. You can see few meters away a descending slope. Photo#2 is taken westwards, and you can see the field that we crossed before entering the forest. In photo#3 you can see the visitors: me and Andra. Photo#4 shows the location. Photo#5 is a panorama, taken from near the car. The left side of the panorama is looking westwards. The confluence lies in the nearest forest. The forested hills farther away westwards are on the other side of the road that we took to reach Copaceni. You can also see the small field that we crossed to get to the confluence. The center of the panorama is looking southwards, towards the valley where Copaceni lies. You can see that the farther slopes, on the other side of the village, are not forested, but cultivated. Farther there are other hills, many kilometers away, so you can get an idea about the landscape. On the right side of the panorama, eastwards, you can see the road. Here it is in a good condition, as it’s on flat ground, but where it climbs the slopes it’s almost impossible to drive on.
We started back. As we saw the first houses of the village we took photo#6. Shortly we got to the main village road, and decided to get back on another way: taking a road to the Olt valley, then driving by the river back to Dragasani and then back to Mircesti. So we stopped by a house and asked a local how to reach the road along Olt river. He started explaining, but his wife was curious about what we looked for on that road that goes nowhere, as she thought that we tried to get out of the village taking that road. As I said ‘we had other business there’ the husband very nicely put a stop to her curiosity saying ‘ok, other business’ and then continued with the explanation. No more questions came from them, but one more from me: I wanted to know the name of the village, as I realised that we had no idea where we were (I forgot the map home and we reached the surroundings of the confluence based on my memory, as I had looked at the map just before we left in the morning). That’s how I found out that we were in Copaceni. Now I’m sorry I didn’t think at the moment to ask them their names or to take a picture of them, as it would have been nice to remember them in my story. But maybe it’s better that I didn’t, as they may have become suspicious. Instead I included a picture of a turkey that seemed to be theirs (photo#7).
So we headed back to Mircesti, where we got around 4 pm, and started barbecueing.
20-Apr-2002 -- Saptamina trecuta am plecat pentru 2 zile la tara la prietena mea, aproape de Scornicesti, in satul Mircesti. Simbata, pe 20 aprilie, ne-am gindit sa dam o fuga pina la confluenta 45N24E, situata cam la 90 de kilometri, inspre Rimnicu Vilcea, in dealurile ce marginesc valea Oltului. Asa ca la ora 11 am pornit spre Dragasani, de unde am
luat-o pe DN 67B spre Tg. Jiu, si dupa vreo 30 km am
facut dreapta pe DN 65C spre Horezu. Drumul era de-a lungul unui riu si trecea printr-o multme de sate. Jur imprejur dealurile erau in mare parte impadurite, sau acoperite cu livezi. Dupa inca 30-40 km am facut stinga spre Cernisoara. Ajunsi in Cernisoara, confluenta era la 2 km in directia unui deal. Am gasit si de aici un drum asfaltat care ne-a trecut dealul si ne-a adus in satul Copaceni. Confluenta era pe un deal, deasupra satului. Am gasit o ulita printre case si am urcat prima panta. De acum ajunsesem la un cimp arat, inconjurat de paduri. 45N24E se afla spre est, in dreapta cum urcasem, peste cimp, la 200 m, intr-o padure. Lasam masina pe drum si o luam la picior.
Cind ma uit la GPS vad ca bateriile erau aproape terminate! Am luat-o la fuga (sa nu se termine bateriile), am coborit o mica panta, am intrat in padure, si, dupa inca 50 metri, am ajuns la confluenta. Repede am pus contrastul pe maxim, sa se vada mai bine in poza, am fact o poza la GPS, am verificat altitudinea (care era de 408 m), am verificat punctele cardinale dupa care GPS-ul a murit! La limita! Era sa ne inecam ca tiganu’ la mal!
Eram pe un fel de ridicatura: inspre sud, est si vest terenul cobora destul de abrupt. Confluenta era aproape de locul unde terenul incepea sa coboare. In jur numai copaci, deci privelistea era ca si inexistenta. Am inceput sa facem poze. Foto 1 este spre sud, se vede clar panta. Foto 2 este spre vest, si printre copaci se zareste cimpul pe care l-am traversat pina sa ajungem in padure. Foto 3 suntem noi. Foto 4 este dovada locatiei. Foto 5 este o panorama facuta de linga masina. In stinga, inspre est, se vede in plan apropiat cimpul arat, imediat peste cimp se vede liziera padurii care adaposteste confluenta, iar in plan indepartat un deal impadurit. Drumul de la Cernisoara spre Copaceni este printre dealul pe care ne aflam si dealul indepartat. In fata se vede cealalta parte a vaii. Primele dealuri sunt cultivate, fiind probabil terenurile satenilor din Copaceni. In plan mai indepartat se vad dealuri situate la distanta mai mare. In dreapta imaginii, spre vest, se vede drumul pe care am urcat. Aici pare bun, caci este pe teren drept, dar pantele care trebuiesc urcate din sat sunt aproape impracticabile, mai degraba sunt urme de tractor decit drum.
Am pornit inapoi spre sat. Cind am vazut primele case am facut inca o poza (foto 6). In sat am intrebat un batrin care e cel mai rapid drum spre Olt, caci vroiam sa ne intoarcem pe soseaua Rm. Valcea – Dragasani, de-a lungul Oltului. Omu' ne-a explicat (trebuia sa ajungem inapoi la soseaua de Horezu, iar mai apoi s-o luam spre Babeni). In timp ce ne explica, sotia s-a mirat ‘da ce, vroiati sa ajungeti la Babeni pe aici?’, la care i-am raspuns ca am avut alte treburi pe ulita lor. Aici mosu a fost de milioane: i-a retezat imediat babei curiozitatile, adresindu-se mie ‘alta treaba’, dupa care a continuat sa ne explice cum ajungem la Babeni. Apoi mi-am dat seama ca habar n-aveam in ce sat ne aflam, si l-am intrebat si asta (uitasem harta acasa si pina aici ajunseseram numai din ce imi aduceam aminte de cind facusem planul calatoriei). Asa am aflat ca eram in Copaceni. Dupa ce ne-am asternut la drum m-am gindit ca ar fi fost frumos sa le fac o poza si sa-i intreb cum ii cheama, ca sa-i amintesc in povestire, dar poate e mai bine ca nu mi-a dat prin cap, ca poate ii speriam sau intrau la idei. In schimb va ofer o poza a curcanului (sau curcii?) lor (foto 7).
Am ajuns inapoi la Mircesti pe la 4, si ne-am pus pe gratare, ca eram deja lihniti.