Up and down again

Sept. 3, 2011 (day 108) Romania

Our way out of Transylvania led through the last mountain range in Romania — the Fogaraş. These steep, rocky two-thousanders are known to many hikers, and also to cyclists, who are being attracted by the famous Transfogarian Route. From the very beginning of my planning of the journey, passing Transfăgărășan had been included in the route.

After having spent half of the day in Sighişoara, which proved to be a nice but very touristic city, we cycled south. Picking secondary roads, we learned that in Romania there is 50% probability of finding asphalt there. We also found out that the map we had, it not only lacked mileage for these roads, but also simplified their shape a lot. In fact, the terrain was more hilly and the distance much longer, than we had estimated. Eventually, we arrived to the foot of Fogaraş well after midnight.

Going to sleep that late meant a late start too. After fixing technical problems with my front rack, which had not withstood overnight bumpy ride, we set out at 3PM. Perfectly to reach the top just after the sunset.

Up the Transfogarian

Up the Transfogarian

The Transfogarian Route, looking from the north side, is a 1500m climb over some 28km, and the top point is located at the entrance of the tunnel, which cuts below the mountain pass. The lower half of the road is shielded by trees and offers no views, but just after crossing above the tree line, one may enjoy a beautiful scenery of the valley and the sight of the lower flatlands.

Transfogarian Road in the morning

Transfogarian Road in the morning

The late August night at 2000m was quite chilly, but worth staying there and enjoying the feeling of the morning sun, slowly warming up the rocky land. After quick and refreshing descent, we arrived to a huge artificial lake on the southern side of the mountains. Passing along a lake meant that the road would be level for some time. Actually, it was quite hilly, and, after the exhaustive previous day, it took us a lot of time to reach the dam and descend to the first settlement.

There, at one of the first bars, we met five Polish cyclists, who live in our city of Wrocław. They were travelling around Romania, and one of the girls rode a city bike (named City Shopper to be clear), on which she had crossed Fogaraş range. Impressive! We spent together the evening and the next day, visiting the city of Curtea de Argeş, and it's impressive churches. That was a nice meeting, but our further ways were leading in different directions, so we had to say goodbye.

With Polish bikers

With Polish bikers

The flat land of Wallachia had nothing more to offer to us. We decided to rush to the natural border with Bulgaria, which goes along the Danube. With one night stop — again in someone's garden — we reached Turnu Magurele, raising the record of daily distance to 164km. On this side of the mountains, the secondary roads looked better, but still we had to cycle on gravel for some kilometers. This was still better than going on the main expressways. Unfortunately, roads in Romania are not pleasant for cyclists. Beside the low quality of the surface, the culture of driving is also annoying. Romanians like speeding, regardless of the potholes and road width, and use their horns a lot, often overtaking without maintaining a safe distance. Among the countries I have visited so far, Romania is worst about road safety, being the most impressive in hospitality.

The autumn is coming

The autumn is coming

We found the border city of Turnu Magurele lacking tourist infrastructure almost completely. The only hotel offered double rooms for 240 RON, and having arrived just before midnight, we had no chance to find any host or even a safe wild camping spot. Eventually, we spent the night at some green square, sleeping in turns. After morning coffee we headed to the ferry port.

Crossing Danube

Crossing Danube

If anyone plans to cross Danube there, remember to carry some cash. The ferry ticket resulted in 5 EUR for both of us, and on the Bulgarian side we were requested to pay "terminal fee" of 0.50 EUR per person. Why the prices are in Euro, while none of these countries uses it, I don't know. Fortunately, it is possible to pay in other currency, as we did on the Bulgarian side, giving our last Romanian lei. Cards are not accepted and there are no ATMs on both sides, of course. I wonder what would happen if we had arrived to the Bulgarian side with no cash at all.

Cannabis thrives in the valley of Danube

Cannabis thrives in the valley of Danube

Bulgaria welcomed us with flat asphalt and little traffic. Tired by the previous day's distance and little sleep overnight, we cycled straight to the first tourist site, booked a cheap room and flopped down, finishing the day just after the noon.

Comments:

siostra:)
siostra:)
10 years, 1 month ago
uściski z upalnej Słowenii :) pokonanie gór naszym Peugeotem jest prawie tak trudne, jak rowerem, o czym przekonaliśmy się jadąc na rejs...
podziwiam górski wyczyn i nowy rekord:) buziaki!!!
azbest87
azbest87
10 years, 1 month ago
Co do kierowców w Rumunii odczucia mamy podobne- ciągłe używanie przez nich klaksonu i wyprzedzanie przez ciężarówki na wyciągnięcie ręki zostaną długo w pamięci;)
Pozdro!
mama
mama
10 years, 1 month ago
Miłego pedałowania przez Bułgarię! Może jeszcze uda Wam sie złapać trochę dziko rosnących moreli? Aloe chyba już po sezonie :).Gratulujemy wysokogórskich osiągnięć! Uściski - rodzice
boney
boney
10 years, 1 month ago
Witam natknąłem sie teraz na Twoją relację/podróż.
Wróciłem tydzień temu z tripu po alpach 1500km i czuje się jak amator przy Tobie.. !

życze wszystkiego co najlepsze, zdrowia, samych życzliwych ludzi na Twojej drodze i jeszcze więcej samozaparcia ;)

nie liczę za bardzo, że odpiszesz ale strasznie ciekawe jestem ile taka impreza bedzie kosztować(kosztuje do tej pory) i czy dorabiasz jakoś po drodze - czy też zawód informatyka jest naprawde tak opłacany jaksię mówi, że nie musisz....


ale to tylko pieniądze... materialne obciążenie. Liczy się to co zobaczysz i przeżyjesz. ;)

powodzenia od jutra - obiecuję - zaczynam czytać od poczatku :)
Wojtek
Wojtek
10 years, 1 month ago
Świetny kawałek drogi.
bambaryłą
bambaryłą
10 years, 1 month ago
Drum bum!
seo website
seo website
9 years, 9 months ago
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deca 300 cycle
deca 300 cycle
8 years, 9 months ago
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