When you feel that the hustle and bustle of the city and the daily stress take over you, don't stop for a second. Get out of there and head to Hunedoara County! Once in the Jiu Valley, go towards Petrila! Mount one of Călin Popa's horses, from the "Carpathian Horse Trekking" riding center, and start to gallop towards the heart of Mount Șureanu.
What awaits you there is divine. In addition to the truly "therapeutic" walk, in which the horse and the rider become one chasing the same goal, freedom, the landscapes that are revealed to you at every step are absolutely charming and healing. What could be more wonderful than to get in the saddle and start, trotting or galloping, on mountain paths. Listen to the murmur of springs, the rustling of leaves and the trill of birds. To feel that you are the master of the world that lies at your feet. To admire the greatness of the mountain and to "listen" to the silence.
And, when night falls, you sit by the campfire, taste the dishes prepared by the hosts, listen to the stories of the place, admire the sky and notice that you seem closer than ever to the stars, and before bed, you have an unforgettable gift, offered by the crickets in the meadow. Such a getaway is true therapy for the mind and soul.
A project that you rarely meet in the country put a 27-year-old man "on his feet". Originally from Bucharest, Călin Popa moved to Petrila in Hunedoara County, in 2000, together with his parents, one from Câmpulung Mușcel, another from Ploiești. At the end of high school, Călin studied law at college in the country, but also in England, then enrolled in business management, and is now a student at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Banat, Timisoara. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but Tara, the first mare that his father, a doctor by profession, determined him to change his life.
"When I returned home, initially on vacation, my father had bought a mare to ride on the mountain. I quickly caught the bug, learned to ride, and took my horse. And, because they became so dear to me, I started buying horses. I soon had four horses. In July 2017, I thought of turning my passion into a business, and in August of the same year I already started the company. We studied very well the foreign market on horse trekking, which did not exist in our country and does not really exist even now ", Călin Popa, the administrator and founder of Carpathian Horse Trekking stated for Go Hunedoara.
In the project he started, Călin Popa invested a lot of passion and worked hard to achieve his dream. That of having his own business and promoting the wonderful places that has become his home.
"I now have 15 horses. I have a few bought from equestrian centers, and the rest are horses that the owners used to work in the forest, or in the field work. I have one that I took right from the slaughterhouse. The most expensive specimen, of the Nonius breed, costs 5,000 euros, and at the opposite pole is the horse I saved from the slaughterhouse, which I gave 250 euros. He is also the oldest, he is 21 years old ", Călin Popa also stated.
If you happened to arrive in the Jiu Valley area and want to see the young entrepreneur's farm, you can do it, but don't expect to be able to get in the saddle immediately. For a walk, even a few minutes, it takes preparation.
You can't come to the gate and tell us you want to take a ride. The horses must be prepared; they are given a special food to compensate for the effort made. We organize short hikes of 40 minutes, 2 hours, which cost between 50 lei and 100 lei per person. Our guests should know that, during long hikes, they must wear long pants, helmets, which we provide, and a raincoat. Lunch is included in the one-day route and every two or three days, when they reach our cottages in Șureanu, they have food and drink, as well as accommodation, included in the price. The two-day package is 750 lei - all inclusive, and the three-day package is 1,000 lei - all inclusive ", the administrator of Carpathian Horse Trekking also mentions.
Tourists who choose to roam the mountains, on horseback, for a few days, have the opportunity to admire the charming landscapes of the place, to taste the local dishes, specially prepared for them, to recall memories around the campfire and to sleep in the heart of the mountain with only the crickets and the birds disturbing the deafening silence.
"Depending on the groups we set off with, we also choose the routes. However, all the scenery in this area is spectacular. I was, for example, with a group at Lake Iezer. It's a 70-kilometer, round-trip route, and not everyone copes. Another amazing place is Stâna de pe Măgură, a route that measures about 49 kilometers round trip, or Stâna din Frunzi, where the view is superb over the Jiu Valley, and nearby there is an old momârlănesc hamlet, which unfortunately is no longer inhabited ", states Călin Popa.
After a horseback ride, through the fairytale places of the Șureanu Massif, the travelers sit at the table, where there are dishes specific to the area, prepared with great pleasure by the hosts. By the campfire, stories are told and memories unfold, and those who want to can relax in the bar near the houses.
In Șureanu I currently have three “A frame” cabins - (house on a wooden structure with the shape of the letter A). Each with a capacity from two, up to four people, a total of 9 - 12 places being available. There is also a bar and a place for campfire, gazebos, where our guests eat and relax ", advises the young entrepreneur.
Horseback riding, through Șureanu, begins in spring and ends in late autumn.
"For short routes, up to 2 hours, we do not require a minimum number of participants, and for one-day routes, the minimum number of participants is three. All the details regarding the two-day hikes can be found on our website: www.chtr.ro. And for additional information you can contact us by phone at the phone numbers: 0787579950 or 0721217729 ”, adds Călin Popa.
This young man's dream came true thanks to his perseverance, his love for these lands, as well as his passion for horses and horseback riding. He never intended to leave the country and the places he loves, although he could have done so, but he wanted to return and show everyone the richness and beauty of these lands that deserve to be promoted and explored.