The home of Dracula it may be, but the forest of Hoia Bacui and nearby Cluj-Napoca, a Romanian cultural hotspot, are full of life
There is no one around, the only sound is the whisper of leaves falling. Surrounding us are maple groves and copses of beech, ash and elm, blocking out the midday sun. Southwards is Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania’s unofficial capital, but we are heading north, picking our way along a shepherd’s trail in Hoia Baciu, the famed belt of old-growth forest often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Romania.
With local guide Alex Surducan leading the way, we set off from the Someșul Mic river for a morning ramble to see where our journey might lead. His company, the Hoia Bacui Project, has pioneered photography, riding and camping tours in this fold of the Carpathian foothills, and few know the 55,000-year-old forest better than him.