Romania - this little visited country seems unchanged from the Middle Ages, despite its entry to the European Union in 2006 . Bears and wolves roam its woods and mountains, buffalo bask in warm valleys while eagles and vultures soar above its glistening schist peaks. Traditional cultures still celebrate in song and dance and festivals are commonplace - Gypsies and Hungarian Magyars still dress in traditional costume. Even Ceausescu's oppressive regime could not crush the Romanian's Latin spirit and the country has not looked back after the 1989 revolution.
We spend our time in Transylvania, an area shrouded in legend - vampires, Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, fact or fiction? But in reality, it's little known beyond these stories. The backbone of the region is the Carpathian Mountains, some of the best mountain scenery in Europe and still unspoilt. The whole area is one of the most diverse in Romania, the fortified towns and churches are a fascinating mix of Saxon, Hungarian and Romanian cultures, reflecting the pivotal position in European trade that historically Romania enjoyed. In a region so wooded it's fitting that wood played a major part in construction - the painted wooden churches, castles and even everyday houses, all feature elaborate carvings depicting rural scenes and festivals still celebrated today - The Measurement of the Milk Festival and the King of the Fir Trees to name but two!
In this essentially rural area, the people are warm, the meals are hearty, and the views breathtaking. But our main reason for selecting Romania as a destination for our expedition is, quite simply, the great off road driving, set in fantastic scenery high in these mountains