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Cota 2000

When I think of snow and skiing, I always picture this place above all others – a peak in the Bucegi mountains at 2000 metres above the sea level.

Besides having childhood memories related to the place, here is where I feel something special: that time freezes, just like the winter air. There’s no rush, and there’s nothing better to do but to experience the glory of the day – the views, the snow, good company and a warm lunch: life in its simplest form.

Here, people rarely talk about time, or ask what time is it. They do talk in all details about the weather, about how good the snow is on some parts of the mountain and how bad on others, about the wind that may stop all ski installations for a full day, but nobody’s in a hurry.

Up in the mountains, at 2000 metres altitude, the day is simply divided in two, from when the cable car starts, and people go up, to when the cable car stops, silence falls and everybody goes back in town, except for the few ones who may stay at the caban – a great experience for anybody who likes the powerful effect of being almost alone on top of the world and saying, Jane Austen style, “adieu to dissapointment and spleen, what are men to rocks and mountains?”

Cota 2000 is reachable from a small town at the mountains base, Sinaia, 900 metres lower than the peak, and connected via two cable cars. From 2000, several ski slopes go into all directions. The best snow is on the north-facing slope, Vârful cu dor, but the best ride is on the south one, right under the cable car.

Sinaia was my one-winter residence, and living here for four months mainly according to weather – snow, wind, fog, and sunlight, was a remarkable experience. There’s not much to do in the town itself besides visiting a castle and having dinner at some two or three decent eateries. But being up there at Cota 2000 on almost daily basis brought me closer to that understanding coming from the heart, not from the mind, that the fascinating part of the mountains is that they make everything feel small, and help me sort out what’s important in life. They are a true refuge for the soul.