Ice Hotel for Romania's Carpathian Mountains

Much of the high quality hemp used for apparel, bags and footwear comes from Romania. So too does this story about an odd way to stimulate eco-tourism. An 8 bedroom "Ice Hotel" has been built at 2,000 metres above sea level on the shores of Balea Lac. Cable car is the only winter access. Shaped like an igloo (well, sort of) the hotel took one month to build, costing less than 10,000 euros ($12,000 USD). Serving wine at room temperature might be fun, because this will be between 0-2oC (maybe that's why they offer Palinca, a Romanian form of plum brandy.) The idea was to attract people "and their cash to the unspoilt forests of some of Europe's greatest wilderness." The Carpathian mountains is a haven for brown bears, wolves, bison, lynx and a wealth of other wildlife and plant species found nowhere else, but "the region needs money to tackle the poverty that environmentalists say could threaten the mountains." According to news sources a "seven-nation plan to protect the Carpathian mountains, backed by the United Nations, came into force last month, seeking to protect wildlife, promote sustainable development and preserve the cultures of the up to 18 million inhabitants." Via the ::Bucharest Daily News and ::ABC OnlineLake photo via www.cherciu.com