History & Nature Ride

Transylvania Romania: (IT-ROSR04)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/romania_carpathian_history.aspx

Introduction
Transylvania Romania
The Carpathian Mountains represent the largest area of pristine nature in Central and Eastern Europe. More than one third of all wolves, bears, and lynx west of Russia roam this impressive mountain range.

At the foot of the Carpathians is the village of Sinca Noua or “New Shinca”, a small and picturesque village of some 2,000 inhabitants. Time stands still here, the shepherds still take their flocks into the mountains as they did for centuries and in the evenings, the cows and water buffalo are brought back from the pastures to the village. There is little noise except the buzzing of insects and the twittering of various sparrows and swallows. The crowned Hoopoes, colorful Bee-eaters, Black Storks and even the Lesser Spotted Eagles are commonly sighted in this area of incredible richness with its plentiful flowers in all colors. The village has seen the signs of the times and proudly wants to keep this place a treasure: it has declared itself the first “ecological village” of Romania!

The home base for your ride is a lovely and newly built riding center that combines many local traditions with the growing Western standard. The center has a new, tasteful and modern guesthouse with private bathrooms and offers mainly organic food from its own gardens or from the neighboring farms in the surrounding areas.

Winter riding weeks are also available.

Accomodation
 

Accommodation
This is a stationary ride so you will be staying at the same location every night.

Description
The guesthouse has 9 double rooms, each with a bathroom. Downstairs, there is a nice dining room and there is a large veranda outside where guests can sit in the summertime. An extensive living room with open fireplace and bar is inviting for relaxing evenings. We heat our guesthouse with a modern wood central heater and treat our sewage with a reed bed for biological cleaning. There is now good cell phone coverage and wireless internet access at the farm. It is possible to do your laundry for a small fee.

 

The two-day trip with overnight camping depends on the weather conditions. In case of bad weather forecast we reserve the right to change the two-day trip into two single day trips with overnight at the guesthouse.



Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, the single supplement fee does not apply.


Meals
All meals are included with this trip and wine is served with dinner.

We use mainly locally produced food in our kitchen. People in Sinca Noua generally don't use pesticides or artificial fertilisers, and the livestock is still kept the old way, that is, outside on the pastures. Our own vegetable garden delivers fresh onions, salad, zucchini etc. Other food such as milk, potatoes, lamb, and veal is bought from the farmers in the neighbourhood. We support the village on their way certifying their whole agriculture as being organic.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with advance notice.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This ride is tailored to strong intermediate riders and above. Participants have to be competent in all speeds and able to fully control a horse at a canter. Every day, we will have opportunities to canter and even gallop! At times, there are some steep slopes where you need to lead your horse.
We ride mainly on grass-covered trails and across pastures, and occasionally come through oak and hornbeam forests.

Pace
Over the course of the week, you will have 3 day-rides in the saddle, returning to the guesthouse each evening, as well as a 2 day trek with an overnight stay in tents.
The rides are a good mix of walking, trotting, and cantering.
We cover around 20-30km a day and spend approx. 6 to 7 hours in the saddle per day (incl. lunch break).

Horses
With an assortment of horses to choose from there is a suitable horse for everybody, from calm horses for the lesser experienced, to fast and fiery horses for the demanding rider. All horses have stamina, are fit and are used to the mountains.
Our stock of over 40 horses is a good mixture of pure and half-bred horses, mainly breeds of Hungarian origin such as Shagya-Arabian, Kisberi, and Gidran. All these breeds are characterized by an outstanding willingness, endurance, beauty and good nature and proof their qualities again and again on all our rides.
Our horses live in two groups in open stables with sand paddocks, that allow them to move freely and complies with their need for social interactions with members of the same species. In addition, they are regularly turned out on large pastures.
The upper stables cover approximately 300 m2 and hosts about half of the horses (as well as our donkey Maja), which have the possibility of moving around freely. The horses have an open stable with two large boxes (50 m2 and 35 m2) and approximately 1,000 m2 of paddock. Furthermore, we have a separate box (18 m2) for horses that we want to temporarily separate from the herd (e.g. for fowling), and a box for a stallion with 16 m2. The lower stables also consist of an open stable for the remaining horses and the other animals.

Hard Hat
A HARD HAT IS MANDATORY FOR ALL RIDERS, NO EXCEPTIONS! We have a few hats that other guests have left, and that can be used, but we do not know the history/size or fit of these hats and therefore cannot guarantee them.

Guides
You will be accompanied by 2 guides.

Your Hosts
The owners of the riding centre, Barbara and Christoph Promberger, have been leading the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project over the last ten years, the largest research and conservation project on large carnivores in Central and Eastern Europe. During this time, they have gained a great deal of experience about large carnivores and are happy to tell their stories about wolves, bears, and lynx. They are now again involved in a large conservation programme in and around Sinca Noua, which intends to develop the area into a large conservation area with certified organic agriculture around the village and unspoiled and protected forests in the hills and mountains around Sinca.

Conservation Contribution
We ask all our visitors for a donation of 40 Euro per week for our regional conservation and development fund, which supports sustainable projects in and around Sinca Noua. Furthermore, we are personally involved in a number of conservation projects.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary: Centre-based ride - subject to changes

This center-based one week riding program includes 5 riding days and one 2-day trip with an overnight stay in tents. The trails lead us through meadows and forests of the Carpathian Mountains and their foothills between 500 and 1,400 m altitude. We ride mainly on grass-covered paths and trails, or on forest roads. Sometimes, we come across tracks or markings of bears, occasionally even of wolves.
To protect our horse's joints, we dismount and lead the horses on steep descents.
We cover between 20 and 30 km daily which takes us between 6-7 hours, including our lunch break. The rides are a good mix of walking, trotting, and cantering.
If rain would not allow a full day of riding, we can offer alternatives to riding.


Day 1: Arrival  
Fly to Bucharest airport (please be sure to arrive by 4:15pm), where you will be picked up and transferred through the spectacular Carpathian mountains to our guesthouse in Sinca Noua (ca. 3 hours). Receive a welcome drink upon arrival, a great dinner and spend the evening with the staff to prepare the week.

Day 2 and 3: Trips over the hills and into the mountains
After breakfast you will be shown around the farm and introduced to the horses. Soon we take off for the first ride along the meadows and through the forests at the foot of the mountains. The hills offer a fantastic view over the area and the meadows invite for some first trots and canters. You will be stunned by the variety of wild flowers and we often come across tracks of bears or wild boar. There are lots of possibilities for canters over the meadows. We do our lunch breaks on beautiful meadows with spectacular views and return in the afternoon back to the guesthouse. 
After dinner, you have the choice to watch video presentations about the research and conservation projects, which the owners have carried in recent years. You might also opt to spend the evening under the willow pavilion by the open fire place or have a drink at the cosy bar.
One evening, you will have the possibility to visit a bear hide in the forest not far from the riding center, where the chance to see wild brown bears is very high.

Day 4: History of Transylvania (no riding)
Today we give the horses a rest and experience the true history of Transylvania. We leave Sinca Noua and drive north for about 2 hours through sleepy villages, until we reach the medieval town of Sighisoara, one of the cultural centres of the Transylvanian Saxons.
Thereafter, we continue to the village of Viscri with its famous fortified church (UNESCO World Heritage Site) from the times of the invasion of Turks. A gravel road gets us the last 10 kilometers to Viscri, a settlement of the German minority, founded 900 years ago. In 1990, most of the villagers left for Germany, but a small number of people stayed to continue their traditional life. Prince Charles, who visited the village many times, is a great admirer of the village.
We will be served a traditional Saxon meal with food from their own gardens and home-made wine and plum brandy: Atfter a relaxing lunch, we visit the fortified church, stroll through the village and return back to Sinca Noua for the evening. Your local Romanian guide is passionate about the history of Transylvania and once you have spent the day there with him, you will be as well.

Day 5 and 6: Round trip through the Transylvania forests
A 50 km roundtrip leads us through the endless forests of Transylvania, home of the large carnivores. We pass through forests and cross beautiful mountain meadows where you will have the possibility for some long canters. In the afternoon you will arrive to an area where people’s life has changed little since the Middle Ages. Their little mountain farms are still being worked with oxen or horses, while people even still lack facilities such as running water or electricity. Camp is set for us atop a ridge on a farm with fantastic views all around. We will enjoy a rustic dinner cooked on the campfire and have a long evening around the fire to tell stories enjoying some beverages.
If you don’t fancy camping out in tents, we are happy to pick you up after dinner (20 min walk is necessary) and drive you to the guesthouse for the night and back again the next morning.
The next morning we pack our stuff and ride along forest trails and roads through the wild forests of Transylvania. We enjoy the spectacular view over the Carpathian Mountains meanwhile tracks of wolves and bears are commonly found along the trails. In the afternoon, we arrive back at the guesthouse.

Note: The two-day trip with overnight stay depends on the weather conditions. In case of bad weather forecast we reserve the right to change the two-day trip into two single day trips with overnight at the guesthouse.

Day 7: A ride through time and a visit to Dracula's castle
On our last ride for the week, we ride for about 3 hours in a large loop around Sinca Noua through wild forests, beautiful meadows, enjoy canters and great scenery. We are back for a late lunch and continue the afternoon to the nearby Bran castle, commonly known as Dracula's castle. However you will learn that the history is much more exciting than the legend...

Day 8: Time to say good-bye
After breakfast we pack our luggage and are being brought back to Bucharest. Please do not book flights departing before 2:00pm.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sample Itinerary: Winter ride - Subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival  
Fly to Bucharest airport (please be sure to arrive by 4:15pm), where you will be picked up and transferred through the spectacular Carpathian mountains to our guesthouse in Sinca Noua (approx. 3 hours). Receive a welcome drink upon arrival, a great dinner and spend the evening with the staff to prepare the week.

Day 2 and 3: Riding in the Snow
For the first two days you ride 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. In between, return to the guesthouse for a warm lunch and relax in front of the fireplace. Cantering through the snow is one of the most beautiful experiences on earth. (Although snow cannot be guaranteed, it is still very likely that there will be nice powder snow all throughout January and February)
In the evenings there is time to relax with a home-made liqueur or brandy in front of the open fire, have a drink at our bar, or watch video presentations about the research and conservation projects of your hosts.

Day 4: History of Transylvania (no riding)
Today is a break from riding for the horses and yourselves so you can experience the history of Transylvania. The group decides as a whole, whether to visit Bran Castle (the so-called Dracula Castle, but you will experience the true history of the place) and the old town of Brasov, or Sibiu (European Cultural Capital in 2007) - or some of the smaller medieval villages of Transylvania.

Day 5, 6, and 7: Winter Rides
Again, head out for a morning and an afternoon ride through the hills, forests, and meadows of the surroundings of Sinca Noua. It is very likely we come across tracks of wolves, lynx or red deer and with some luck, you may also see some of the forest inhabitants of the Carpathians. Evenings are spent in the cozy guesthouse. If you wish, we have the possibility of organizing a trip with a horse-drawn sledge.

Day 8: Time to say good-bye
After breakfast we pack our luggage and are being brought back to Bucharest. Please do not book flights departing before 2:00pm.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sample Itinerary: Special Weeks for Novice Riders - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
We pick you up from Bucharest airport, and transfer you through the spectacular mountains to our guesthouse in Sinca Noua (ca. 3 hours). You will receive a welcome drink, a local dinner and will spend the evening with the Team to prepare the week.

Day 2 and 3: Riding lessons
After breakfast you will be shown around the farm and get an introduction into horses. Throughout the next days, we will explain you all about equipment, horse care, saddling and whatever you want to know about horses. For the first two days, you will get two riding lessons each day to learn some basic skills of riding. The rest of the day there is plenty of time for walks through the nature or to hang out on the veranda and read a book.
On Monday evening, you have to possibility to visit a hide in the forest not far from the center, where the chance to see wild brown bears is very high.

Day 4 and 5: Riding lessons and half-day trips
On these two days you will continue to learn. Each day, you have one riding lesson in the morning and after lunch you will be taken to some of the interesting spots in the surrounding area.
One day we go by minibus to the famous Dracula Castle, learn about the true history of the place. Then, we visit the farmer’s castle in Rasnov, which is less famous, but also very interesting.
We can also go for a hike into the Zarnesti canyon in the nearby Piatra Craiului National Park. Stunning rock-walls are along this hike, which will take us for about 2.5 hours through one of the most amazing geological highlights of the Carpathians.

Day 6 and 7: Riding lessons and first trips on horseback into the country side
Again, you will get a riding lesson each morning and in the afternoons you will go on a your first trail ride (about 1.5 hours) through the stunning nature.
On one of the days, we will drive into nearby Strîmbisoara Valley and visit the virgin forests there. Here you find huge, hundreds of years old beech, fir, and spruce trees, fallen giants make way for the next generation. An impressing nature!

Day 8: Time to say good-bye
After breakfast we pack our luggage and are being brought back to Bucharest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator's Notes:
-- Due to weather conditions, the order of the program might change.
-- We reserve to change the program, as long as it doesn’t change the character of the trip.
-- Guests are kindly asked to contribute with a 40 € donation to our conservation project.
-- The bear hide is a service from the local wildlife management organization (extra cost) and so we cannot guarantee the visit 100%. However, all our guests over the last 3 years have actually seen wild bears.


Rates and Dates for History & Nature Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations with one night in tents (during summer only), all your meals and beverages for dinner (drinks at the bar have to be paid for seperately), 5 riding days and a sightseeing trip to Viscri and Sighisoara

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, AP, Center-based- Forests and Bears (high)€1100$1265
  • B
    20208 day trip, AP, Center-based- Forests and Bears (low)€975$1120
  • C
    20208 day trip, AP, Center-based- Winter Ride€975$1120
    • Group discount (7+)(€100)($115)
  • D
    20208 day trip, AP, Special Weeks for Novice Riders - inquire for dates€1000$1150
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.15

Rates Note:

Commonly a tip of around 40 Euro is donated to the Conservation fund please.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Commonly a tip of around 40 Euro is donated to the Conservation fund please.


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from Bucharest airport included at set times (around 4pm) 0 $0
2020 Recommended donation to Conservation Fund
- to be paid locally
40 $45
2020 Non-rider rate, dbl, pp 625 $720
2020 Single supplement (if requested)
- to be paid locally
105 $120

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
C 2020 01/11 - 01/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
C 2020 01/18 - 01/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
C 2020 01/25 - 02/01 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
C 2020 02/01 - 02/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
C 2020 02/08 - 02/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
C 2020 02/15 - 02/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
B 2020 04/11 - 04/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
B 2020 04/25 - 05/02 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
B 2020 05/09 - 05/16 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
B 2020 05/23 - 05/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Sold Out
A 2020 06/06 - 06/13 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Sold Out
A 2020 06/20 - 06/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 07/04 - 07/11 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 07/18 - 07/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 08/01 - 08/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 08/15 - 08/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 09/05 - 09/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
A 2020 09/26 - 10/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Reserve
B 2020 10/10 - 10/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP, Center-based... 3 /6 Sold Out

Dates Note: Other dates for Center-based- Winter Ride available on request.

Rates do not include:

Single room supplement (paid locally) - but waived if willing to share. There are only a limited number of single rooms available! bear hide visit (not guaranteed) €30 (paid locally), gratuities.

Other Info
Meeting: Bucharest
Airport: Bucharest
Transfer: Bucharest

Climate:
                                                Brașov area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

32

37

48

59

67

72

77

77

69

58

45

34

Average Low Temperature (°F)

19

21

29

37

46

52

55

54

47

38

29

21

Average High Temperature (°C)

0

3

9

15

19

22

25

25

20

15

7

1

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-7

-6

-2

3

8

11

13

12

8

3

-2

-6

Source: NOAA

 
Seasons

Spring (April to May)
Spring is usually short but is one of the best times to visit as temperatures are relatively mild and the landscape is covered in wildflowers.

Summer (June to August)
This is peak season. It can get quite hot around this time, so we usually leave earlier in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. The occasional thunder storm is likely during summer.

Autumn (September to November)
This time of year is pleasant, with September and October being the driest months. Temperatures usually drop again but remain warm until November. The fall colors on the October trails are incredible and it is our favorite time of the year.

Winter (December to March)
Winters tend to be long and snowy, which is why we don’t offer our tours during this time.

What To Bring:
We recommend you bring your own helmet if possible for this ride as they are mandatory.  If not, there are a limited few around to borrow, but they are not property of the outfitter (they are forgotten helmets of past riders at the riding centre) and will not assume risk for their use.
All camping gear for your one camping overnight is provided, including plates, knives, forks, spoons and cups and glasses ... sleeping Bags are available for rent (please let Hidden Trails know if you need to rent one in advance) or bring your own. Bottled water is provided, along with water bottles and saddle bags for the horses. $USD or Euro will be fine; no need to change money into RON.
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Personal Travel Insurance
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding breeches
High riding boots
Riding helmet **mandatory
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Rain coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sleeping Bag
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra batteries
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Hair dryer - none available at accommodations!