One of the most adventurous and challenging experiences began on the 24th of September 2021, when I received the invitation to participate in the Silver adventurous journey trip to Cheia. I was really excited to challenge my abilities and skills, and learn how to cooperate with my teammates. I didn’t expect to be able to finish the Silver programme so quickly and go on the trip, due to the actual Covid situation, but receiving this great news from my sports teacher made my day the best! A three-day trip, I have been waiting for since the beginning of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Project, was ready to begin 🙂

First day 

Full of positive emotions, courage and an incomparable feeling of enthusiasm, I stepped together with my colleagues, in the reception of the hotel, left our bags there and started putting our special equipment on, together with the map of the city. We took the meal with us inside our backpacks, a bottle of water in order to stay hydrated and went from Cheia to Brasov, as that was the place where the journey took place.

During our way to Brasov, inside the bus, we have completed a table with all of our objectives that we had to reach throughout the day, set times for meetings with our coordinator, and organised which member of the team is going to take photos, deal with the limited budget and encourage the team during hard moments. The weather in Brasov was sunny, we were surrounded by happy people, animated places and the beautiful medieval buildings.

A pleasure for all of us to visit tourist attractions in Brasov, but without using Waze, Google maps, our telephones or any other electronic devices. We were just on our own… interesting, right? I wasn’t afraid, or maybe worried, as I knew from the beginning that me and my team would do a great job together as every single one of us had a different skill. During the first day, we visited “The First Romanian School ” where we were asked to sing the Romanian anthem. The moment when I saw how talented my teammates are at singing and how good their vocal abilities are:) It has then continued with the visit of the Black Church, where I helped with the translation of a paragraph written in German, as we needed the information for our tour guide, followed by the Ecaterina and Schei Gate.

We were a little bit disoriented in looking for these tourist attractions, but I am glad that one of our colleagues was brave enough to ask a local man to help us. We were continuously looking at the clock, to see if we were on time, and we never had the problem of being late. We deserved a break:) Two more objectives for that day: the Synagogue and Sforii Street. I came up with the idea to write on the walls of the street our names and a message (the street being full of writings and messages), in order to have a memory of us being together there.

The day was beginning to finish, and we didn’t want this to happen, we were feeling so accomplished and satisfied with our work, but we wanted more. It was one of the best days of my life. I couldn’t believe that I was able to orientate myself, wait for the other members, as we all had different ways of walking, some of us were slower than the others, so I had to fill myself with patience, and last but not least listen to the others ideas. My knowledge and experience is far greater now, and I am confident enough to say that even if I will be on the other part of the Earth, I will be able to reach any place, just using a map and my speaking abilities:)

Second day 

Another day was ready to start again…, but now I am being less nervous and much more confident. Actually, I was really excited for it! I knew that we had 6 more objectives and that we were going to reach all of them in time and also have time for relaxation. This was exactly what had happened. We went straight to check the White and the Black Tower, but unfortunately we spent more than 25 minutes searching for them, when they were exactly next to us. We were so agitated and enthusiastic so we forgot to look further, in front of us. I felt so guilty at that moment, as I couldn’t help my team be more effective, but at the end of the day, we have learned from our mistakes. We continued walking, to the Bastions which were located in the upper part of Brasov, so we had to pass a beautiful and well-known street, called “The Castle” Street, that we had no idea about.

Some situations put us in the position to experiment new places, without even knowing. We were mesmerized by its old beauty, and also took some pictures there. The smell of fresh cookies and cakes was irresistible while being in the Main Square(one of our objectives). The Fortress of Brasov was our last objective, and we were sad about it, as all of this process was really enjoyable. It was the hardest objective to reach, being situated on a hill in Brasov. We were tired of walking, and wanted to quit, but what made us continue, was the encouraging words we were all giving each other, and the small amount of ambition that was still living inside of us. We have finally finished our adventurous journey, that was incredible and really unexpected! 

Feelings after the trip

It was an experience I would repeat at any time! I have learned how beautiful our country is, how to appreciate small things in life and learn from others. We are all different, and I am glad that I have been part of this amazing journey, that made me realise I am capable of doing everything I want, when I am surrounded by the right people, at the right time. We had fun, we discovered new places, learned how to work better in a team, learned from our mistakes and how to navigate the city using only a map. I can’t wait to go on other trips and see what the Gold journey is waiting to show us! Congratulations, everyone!

Sara C. – Grade 10 student at Avenor College International High School