Our journey started on Saturday, July the 30th in the early morning hours. After collecting the expedition team we started off at around 7 o'clock to Romania where Paul Dolea was waiting for us for a chat and the presentation of his observatory in Mărişel.
On the road we encountered some rain, and we had to wait for at least half an hour at the border, so we arrived a bit late at Cluj-Napoca where Paul was waiting for us. We also had our teammate Zoli Molnár there who has some Transylvanian roots and played an important role in organizing the meeting. Originally, he was to join us with his family, but unfortunately a few days earlier ha had a leg injury, so he was not able to come with us. After saying goodbye to Zoli, we looked around in Cluj with Paul as our guide, but we were not lucky with the rain this time either. So we only had the chance to visit a few sights, like the statue and birthplace of King Mathias, as well as some parts of the city center.
After the short walk we set out on the road to Mărişel. We stopped at a dam over a valley where we could enjoy a wonderful view of the mountains and the valleys. The sights, the magnitude and the depths cannot be described either by this article or the photos.
Driving on the road of the almost vertical slopes of the mountains we arrived at Mărişel, 1200 m high in the mountains, where grassy pastures and groves, springs and cows and cold greeted us.
The observatory was to be found 300 m north and 50 m below our accommodation. The facility is in a hollow that protects it from the earthly light- and radio pollution. There is an astronomical telescope, a 3 m amateur parabola, a 4 m professional parabola, and the service equipment belonging to them. Every year, Paul organizes a summer camp here, where kids can do some astronomy and hunt for the signs of satellites. The bigger antenna can be used to receive the signs and determine the position of satellites (with the help of another parabola that is found in Cluj). The smaller antenna will be used to receive the cubesat video signs in the frames of the GOLIAT program.
Next to this facility Paul has a small weekend house, where we found shelter, as the weather was not getting better. We could not use the telescope, unfortunately, but we were offered all kinds of food and drinks (plum brandy :-)), and we had a nice chat. Paul is a great host, he made our time there unforgettable. We had a barbecue evening, and we tried a local specialty, mici. Although it was 13°C outside, the radiator inside made it all warm and comfortable in the room. As we had to wake up really early for our back trip we returned to our accommodation at around midnight.
Sunday morning greeted us with beautiful sunshine, and we walked down to Paul who obtained some goat milk for us and was boiling it already. During breakfast the clouds arrived again, and the temperature was less than 11 °C. We found refuge in our warm accommodation where we had a talk about Puli, the GLXP competition and other topics about space exploration.
The journey is pretty long between Budapest and Marisel, so we had to leave at about noon. We left on the opposite side of the mountain, where the road was equally bad, but the environment was breathtaking with wonderful views. On the road, we stopped at the Belis reservoir, then to watch some horses, then to have a hot chocolate in Hunedoara. Although the weather was not improving, we went to discover the castle of Bologa, then headed to the border, and arrived at Budapest in the late evening.
Hazadi Mátyás, Bosnyák Zoltán, Pathy Miklós
Last Updated (Sunday, 14 August 2011 10:30)