Apuseni Mountains, Romania

Sour cherries, Devil’s Fingers and amazing views

We were looking for a place to hold our annual gathering, Told, 2020 edition.

Through an acquaintance, we met some nice people who own a land that, from what they told us, perfectly fits our needs: it is close to our city but also remote, surrounded by forest and crossed by a stream. We agreed to meet them in their village, Stolna, to show us the location. 

From there, the road was not suitable for a regular car so they took us with their SUV.

As we already explored part of the area in our hikes, we weren’t expecting to see anything new.

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But we were wrong. The trip was fun, leaving the village behind and going up to the hills through the forest.

And the view up there was awesome: the fresh green landscape bordered by the sky and mountains, coloured by wild cherries, cranberries and sea ​​buckthorn.

We immediately fell in love with the place; and having the locals as guides made the experience even more pleasant.

They told us how they spent their childhood there: 40 kids from 12 families, living in 4 hamlets: Prigonești, Izvoare, Plopi and Bordesti. They spent their days cultivating plants and livestock.

Nowadays, some of the names don’t even appear on the map, trees have grown where they used to plant vegetables, and all that’s left is wilderness and some remains of their houses.

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The most unique thing we found about this place was the presence of Devil’s Fingers. Also referred to as octopus stinkhorn or octopus fungus, it’s a species of fungus originary from the Southern Hemisphere, which resembles a starfish. 

It hatches from a white, gelatinous ‘egg’ and grows 3-4 red coloured tentacles. It has a strong unpleasant rotting meat smell which attracts insects.

We saw many beautiful photos of this strange fungus on the internet but we never imagined we would see one in reality, in Romania.

Staying up till morning to see the sunrise was really worth it.

The Sun has given us a stunning spectacle.

The Moon did not let herself be outdone.

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