Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Transylvania

An old man told me that Romania as we know it today was once three separate countries. Moldova, Transylvania and Wallachia. Romania, he said, is not that old. It was formed as recent as 1866. To him that may not be old but to put it somewhat in perspective: Australia as we know it today was only formed some 35 years later... European history is complex and goes back thousands of years, today we rode further into one of those places that has captured the imagination of many: Transylvania!

Transylvania is by most known for two things: Dracula and Vampires. To us it's known for a couple of other things too: very friendly people, beautiful landscapes and castles! Having been here it's not hard to imagine why the Dracula novel was written here. The landscapes have something mythical and the building style only compliments it. In Sibiu the buildings changed. They have something of a German style, but... different. Can't quite put my finger on it. The other thing that surprised us were the colours. Strangely enough it reminded us of Mexico and Central America! A place we had enjoyed so much. So guess what we think of Transylvania? It's stunningly beautiful in a very special way.



The houses, the horse drawn carts, the colours and the people. It all blends together to form this beauty of a place called Transylvania. Forget about vampires and Dracula for a minute and have a look at the photos. This place is truly amazing. The feel, the culture, the colours... We just love it!

We rode through the southern part of the Carpathians today and were in for a treat. The day started perfectly. We were the only ones staying in the guesthouse and were served a traditional breakfast. We have no idea what half of it was but it sure tasted good! The day before we had already found that tea in Romania is not made by soaking Chinese leaves but from local berries. They also make syrup from Dandelions! Beautiful stuff and as we found out very healthy too. The Dandelions have a lot of beta-carotene, vitamine C etc and are good for kidneys, heart and promote blood circulation. The pollen even have anti-bacterial properties. It tastes good too!

Secure bike parking!
Romanian breakfast
Grandma, who must have been at least 90 opened the gates for us and, with the feeling that we should have stayed a day longer, we rode a backroad towards the Transalpina pass, one of the perhaps best known mountain passes in Romania. We knew the pass was closed but we rode as far as we could go as the roads leading towards the pass are well worth riding too. If you like adventure riding then this is the place to go to. The roads are rough, broken and hard going in places but the scenery is astounding. It's untamed and pure nature.

We found ourselves in places so incredible that we simply said: just look at where we are! We found the road blocked 20 km before the turnoff we had to take. We rode past the barrier and asked a couple of logging workers a bit further on how blocked the road actually was. According to them it was fine, don't worry about the sign that is only for winter it, is good now. He gave me a pat on the shoulder which just about broke my shoulder blade and smiled. We continued on... and found the road damaged beyond belief in places, but he had been right: it wasn't completely blocked. Fallen trees and rocks blocked half of it but we made it through. The suspension sure had a workout today and at 4 in the afternoon we were literally buggered but so happy we had done this. We will definitely come back here!

Yet only 100 km away from the Transalpina area we found lovely villages that seemed to come straight out of the dark ages. Picturesque houses lining a wild flowing river with the roads meandering along there too. People have obviously lived here for hundreds if not thousands of years. The houses have a rather unique style and create an atmosphere which is just beautiful to experience. Today was one of those days that we feel so incredibly lucky just to be able to see and experience this. There is much more to this place than Vampires and Dracula...!


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