I met him when I was very little, about 6 years old. I had in mind an image of an old grouchy man and I wasn’t too keen on meeting him on the trip to Sinaia. To my surprise he turned out to be a very nice man with incredible stories and actually very fun!
I was with my mum and he took us in the woods and showed us secret paths in the same time telling us stories about the places we were seeing. He was like an encyclopaedia of adventures. A dedicated mountaineer with so many stories about his trips and adventures. I don’t remember much about that time apart from this.
About 5 years ago I met him again, this time with my dad. We stayed at his place, in Sinaia. A small, cozy apartment in which living room we would gather in the evening and share our little “adventures” of the day and his real adventures of a lifetime. One evening he told us of a place where he had built a bench and a table near a spring because the view from that point was so nice and he wanted everyone to sit, relax and enjoy. The story somehow deviated from its actual point because he began telling us how after a week when he went there the benches were ruined and there was a lot of mess around. So we started talking about something else and he forgot telling us what he actually meant to say. The next day we went for a walk without a certain route. We stopped at a point and we tried to look on the map to see what mountains were ahead of us. We figured there were the same that he told us about the night before. After that, we’ve seen what was left of the benches. When we got home we started bragging about it. He looked at us and he just stared for a few seconds. He then asked:
“Did you like the bear?”
Then, he told us that there’s a bear there and when there’s someone around, he comes, sits in the middle of the trail and won’t leave until you feed him. (Yes, bears in some parts of Romania are used and self-trained to beg for food. They do come down at night in cities like Brasov and search the trash bins.)
He was sure that most probably he was near but we didn’t see “little teddy”.
That evening ended with another story of him and his wife sitting in the woods at a picnic when in front of them came 3 little bear cubs. Two steps away - their mother. They didn’t move or breath until they left, they didn’t panic until they got home when they thought: “can you imagine what could’ve had happened?”
His name was Mr. Belu. (i can’t remember his first name, or maybe this was his first name?!). I don’t know much about him, but I know he is a real mountaineer ready to join in adventures, share his adventures, passion and knowledge of the mountain and to direct you on the best trails.
When I saw Ice Age 3rd and got to the Buck scenes…I just thought about him! Excited about adventure, knowing the way and knowing the dangers. But a little nutty to face the danger and know there’s no fun without it. He lives for the mountain!