Friday, May 09, 2014

Sibiu: Part Two

The 2nd day in Sibiu, we had planned a hike in the Cindrel (Cibin) mountains.  The young woman in the Sibiu tourist office tried to dissuade us -- there has been snow and rain the last few days -- the conditions are bad.  We promptly scoffed at her caution.  All we were trying to do was to take the bus to Paltinis (1450m) and walk down to Gura Raului, already shortened from our original plan.

From Sibiu, we took bus #22 at 7 am for Paltinis, a ski resort in the winter.  We rode the bus to the end of its route, right where the Red Circle Trail blazes started!  As we predicted, there were very few patches of snow and some ice on the trees; the trails were clear, if a little muddy.  From Paltinis, it is a straight descend to the Cibin Gorge.  Once we reached the Cibin Gorge, we followed the river down through the gorge, except there was this monster pipe between me and the river, under construction, for the whole 5 km to the lake where the Cibin is already dammed.  Why were we NOT warned about this, instead of the nonexistent snow?!  I was heartbroken -- I could hear the river tumble down but couldn't see, except every now and then I could peer under pipe.  I was so distracted;  I could not enjoy the gorge, besides, the aesthetics of the place is already ruined. This is the kind of project that one reads about.  I have to endure this first hand?!

At the end we finally came to see a sign informing us about this "clean energy" hydroelectric plant.   It's a good thing we came now -- we could hear and occasionally see the river.  Once the plant is operational, the river would be only a trickle!  This project is exactly at the intersection of energy, environment, and conservation, issues John and I are always discussing with each other and with our friends.  Throughout this trip, we have noticed how free people are with heat.  Rooms are always kept warm enough so one can be in shirtsleeves.  Often John informs me that he is burning up or he is in an inferno.  Couldn't we wear warmer clothing to reduce the need for new power plants?  Are they decommissioning/reducing coal-burning plants because of this hydroelectric plant?  Why couldn't they do some hydroelectric at the dam instead of this obtrusive intake pipe?  Is it presupposing to value preservation of nature over development/progress?  Ultimately how do we prioritize and balance all the different driving forces?

Woohoo! Dropped off right at the start of the Red Circle Trail.
Sibiu, Romania

A touch of snow at the resort.
Sibiu, Romania

Headed down the Red Circle Trail with wool caps and gloves on.
Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, Romania

The trail was poorly maintained in spots.
Sibiu, Romania

Greens.
Sibiu, Romania

The gorge before we encounter the pipeline.


The start of the pipeline.
Sibiu, Romania



Sibiu, Romania

Tents around the welded joints.
Sibiu, Romania

The pipeline goes right down through the heart of the gorge.
Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, Romania

Sun-Ling tries to get a look at the river.
Sibiu, Romania

And finally after 5 kms the pipeline ends at a turbine station.
Sibiu, Romania



The sign touting "clean energy".
Sibiu, Romania

The new power lines.
Sibiu, Romania

The massive existing dam located below the new project.
Sibiu, Romania

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