When it comes to Romania, trips to the countryside are do-it-yourself ventures. How much fun you have depends on how willing you are to forego convenience in exchange for some shockingly wild experiences. For example, there’s Geamăna: once a sleepy little mountain town, it now resides deep beneath a slurry of toxic mine drainage thanks to communist-era vicissitudes. Today, only the church remains above the noxious sludge, as it was the highest point in the town.
Geamăna is southwest of Cluj, nearby Roșia Montană—another destination worth visiting—and is only accessible if you have or rent a car, preferably an SUV, as the roads get rough and stay that way. It’s a rocky ride and takes forever, but there’s nothing like it once you see it with your own eyes.
Even better than the view and the peculiarity of it all is the sense of freedom you get at Geamăna—the sense that nobody is going to pop out of a security booth and tell you what you can and can’t do. Here you’re entirely free to make your own fun, which you should have no trouble doing.
The floating boardwalks across the lake are just sturdy enough for you to traverse, but also just rickety enough to make your butthole pucker the whole way across. It’s hard to put a price on the unsettling confluence of fear and freedom this place brings, but even harder is getting the same sensation in the city, especially while sitting in front of a keyboard.