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Old 07-20-2009, 09:45 AM   #1
neighbor's goat OP
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A Transylvanian Bimmer-Go-Round

Since I’ve noticed that lately on ADV forum it is quite fashionable and in style to ride through Eastern Europe and especially through Romania, I decided to go with the flow and have my very own private bike adventure through this part of land. Not that it would have been a very costly experience, as I can call it “home”, but still it was quite new to me, because I’m a pretty “late rider”, as I’ve started riding only last year, at age of 37. Practically, this 5-days trip was meant to be some sort of “honeymoon” with my bike, a trip to get acquainted with each other, just the two of us and the road etc. Therefore, no special route plan was scheduled beforehand, just a rough blueprint on what sites to visit in a possible round trip through Transylvania’s most beautiful areas. I deliberately avoided putting any pressure neither on me, nor on my bike, and left all options possible, even the (least desirable) option of riding back home after the first day, if something would have been going wrong. This is why I’ve excluded the tent and any other camping gear, refilled my debit card instead (hey, just a typical BMW rider on vacation; remember? ). The only plan was this: Ride through the day until the behind goes numb and the place is right to park, have a nice, warm bath and a clean bed under a stable roof, in order to start the next day with dry clothes and a smile on the face.

So, there I’ve saddled my iron horse on the morning of the 06-th of July and started my trip as depicted below (since the cloud in the picture taken in Vatra Dornei has pretty much the shape of my country’s map, I decided to use it for the entire ride as a trip marker).



Here’s a pic around Tusnad, a rather small (actually, with a nr. of around 1700 inhabitants it’s the smallest city in Romania) but very fine resort, known for its therapeutic mineral waters.



The mountain with the “sliced” top below is a volcanic crater containing the “Sfanta Ana” lake (English: Lake Saint Ann).



Suddenly, during the ride I’ve oticed some strange humming. Panic stricken I immediately “hit” the brakes, assuming it came from the engine and found out that the sound came from millions of grasshoppers chirping in the meadows along the road. And since I had stopped I used the opportunity to take some pictures.




Lacul Rosu (English: The Red Lake); called this way because of the reddish mud mixed with iron oxides brought in the lake by a nearby river creek. Created naturally by some sort of mountain side collapse which suddenly blocked the river flow, it is Romania’s largest naturally created lake. As the lake was resulted from a violent, natural event, one can still see the wooden stumps which once used to be trees along the former river valley.



There are some nice hotels and mountain lodges next to the lake; it’s where I decided to take the lunch break and get a fine meal.



Right after I started riding again a heavy rainfall (noticed the clouds in the pic above?) poured from the darkened sky, making my descent through the mountain pass miserable. Luckily soon enough it ceased to rain (although the sky remained cloudy) so I had the opportunity to “motodry” my clothes in the wind, while riding. Hey, not so bad after all, especially during summertime!
Later the same day I reached the Bicaz lake; now this one’s “hand made” and quite large, as opposed to the previous natural one, for the water is used to propel a hydroelectric power plant nearby.




A pic from a road stop, right after another storm passed over, under and through me:



A stop in the small village of Brosteni, on the way to the city of Vatra Dornei. Some nice view, don’t you agree?



Unfortunately, riding northbound the road quality went from “medium” to “rare”, as you can see in the below pic (please notice as well the fork’s travelling range, looking at the clean part compared to the dirty part). OK, the F650 is a dual sport, but my ass wasn’t at that time so dual. Still, the landscape was great.




And then, in the evening, I reached Vatra Dornei, where my ass and I decided that it’s time to stop, have a beer and call it a day. It’s where I shot these nice pics, with the map-shaped cloud. The sun was right at the “golden hour” (all you photo enthusiasts know what I mean) and I was happy to have made it safe up to there.





Mileage at the end of the day: 376 km
Stay tuned, for more will follow.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:50 AM   #2
atwater1
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Looking good.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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In

I had the opportunity to visit Constanta and Neptune on the Black Sea last year. Fabulous. I especially loved the bear sausage at dinner. Hope to make it back again, but time is against me.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:07 AM   #4
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You can't just mention a fine meal without posting pics
Great pictures, Noroc
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:25 AM   #5
neighbor's goat OP
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Day 2

While getting ready the next morning, I’ve noticed in the parking lot close to my bike two rides from the Czech Republic (if I remember correctly); a huge Burgman and a Transalp. Could it be that fellow inmates slept under the same roof with me? Didn’t notice any ADV sticker, but that’s not relevant, as I don’t have one either... Anyway, I hope they had a safe trip, wherever they might have been riding to.So I left, heading towards Sighetul Marmatiei. This part of the trip was the best one, as the landscape got better and better:






Here are some pics from Borsa, a village I passed through on my way. People around here make a living out of wood and carpentry - the previous pics show the plentitude of forests in this area - still, nothing is endless, hope they will remember that...


At 4 PM I arrived in Sighetul marmatiei and had something to eat at a gas station, afterwards I headed directly towards Baia Mare, where I stayed for the night. Sorry, no pics from Baia Mare; the part of the city I visited wasn't very ... inspiring.

Mileage at the end of the day: 258 km.

neighbor's goat screwed with this post 07-22-2009 at 12:32 AM
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
neighbor's goat OP
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Day 3



The third day started with an "omlette du frommage" for breakfast (sorry, no pics; it really would have been looking odd photographing that meal; people would have thought I would complain about the food, which was really not the case at all, on the contrary) and a cup of tea and off I went, towards new adventures. A last view from Baia Mare and then I hit the road towards the city of Dej, Cluj Napoca and Alba Iulia.

This is from Baia Mare, when I was exiting the city limits:



This is a pic from downtown Dej, where I "landed" at noon to refresh my cash reserves from a nearby bank office.



Right before Cluj, a storm headed my way. Again. I have to say that the first three days were pretty rich in moisture. Therefore I had to rush towards Cluj and while I was eating lunch in a gas station (I would have chosen a better eating location in Cluj, but the weather made it really tough to choose) the storm passed without any noticeable damage to my luggage and bike waiting outside.



Passing through Cluj was nervewrecking - it might have been due to the time of day when a lot of commuting traffic was plowing the crowded city roads. Traffic light after traffic light, confusing road signs, honking bus drivers, you get the image. Anyway, my thought was to get out of it as quickly as possible, therefore no pics from the city, just one from a lake outside it's perimeter, where I had to stop to clean my helmet.



And then I reached Alba Iulia. This is a beautiful city, loaded with medieval points of interests, Garminly speaking ; here are some pics from the Reunification Cathedral,







from the Roman Catholic Cathedral



and from the castle's walls and famous entrance gates:













Mileage at the end of the day: 267 km.

neighbor's goat screwed with this post 07-22-2009 at 01:19 AM
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:23 AM   #7
tony the tiger
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Cool2

Very neat landscape!
And thanks for pointing out the amount of fork travel...

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Old 07-23-2009, 02:33 AM   #8
neighbor's goat OP
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Day 4



The fourth day was the shortest one, in regard to the mileage, still I've visited some interesting sites, as you will witness below.

The place where I slept in Alba Iulia, a nice place to remember and recommend; folks over there were very friendly and open hearted, my bike was truly pampered, as you can see :



Some pics from the road close to the city of Sebes. I loved the sunflower field, as the colour - both from the flowers, and from the diligent bees - matched my GS:





Speaking of sunflower and bees: I think it's the right time to send my sincere and best regards to everybody involved in the making of my bike (BMW stuff, Rotax fellows etc). The eager yellow blackish bumblebee under my ass performed as expected and required - no mechanical problem during the entire trip whatsoever, wether rain or shine. This is what I expected from this type of bike when I have purchased it, and that's what I really got.



Ok, time to hit the road again. Here are some images from the village of Calnic; it lies 3 km aside from the main road between Alba Iulia and Sibiu, and has a marvelous fortified church - part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some would tend to say "ok, but what's so marvelous about THAT? I mean, it's not some Spanish castle after all, is it?" Well, considering that the village itself barely counts 1k inhabitants today (just my simple guestimation, done from rough eyesight evaluation), finding such a castle built around 1200 in this area, in this country, is really something; well, at least unexpected; even for a local guy like me. If you will ever travel around this area, don't forget to pay a visit; it is worth it, especially if you're really into medieval sightseeings and the likes.
















Further along the road, close to the city limits of Sibiu, lies the village of Saliste, the most important village belonging to the so called "Sibiu surroundings" (rough translation for "marginimea Sibiului"). This area is very picturesque and relevant for the area around Sibiu. It counts about 7 villages spread on about 200 square kms around Sibiu and is famous for its unique cultural and ethnographical value. Just one teaser pic; if you wanna see more you gotta come and see it for yourselves



And then I reached Sibiu, the city where I've spent the best years of my life: the student years. You therefore easily can imagine how bound I am to this area, its people and surroundings. This is why I took the time and spent here more time than in any previously visited location. Pics from downtown Sibiu:





















After I left my luggage at the hostel in Sibiu, I took a towel and headed for Ocna Sibiului, a small village about 12 km from the city. The village has some old salt mines, which were no longer used when part of their roofing collapsed. The former mining caves filled over time with water, forming small salt lakes (maybe "lake" is too much said, considering their size; we just use to call them like this; "puddle" would be more appropriate, but very offensive for their feelings ). More and more people tried to benefit from the therapeutical features of these lakes, the area therefore turned into a mini spa & wellness area. 10 years ago it was in ruin and decay, luckily this has changed and I discovered a rebuilding town, still being in reconstruction at the moment but with promising perspectives:









Mileage at the end of the day: 157 km.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:27 AM   #9
neighbor's goat OP
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Day 5



This was the last day of my trip. Being in Sibiu and returning home to Brasov, the shortest way would have been through the city of Fagaras, but that was not my intention. I took a detour instead, in order to get to see more castles and fortified churches. Therefore I took a different path, as follows:

Axente Sever:





Medias:











Biertan:











and Sighisoara, which was the last important city on this route, before reaching Brasov:







.

Total mileage at the end of the trip: 1309 km.


It was a nice trip, I had a great riding time and I enjoyed sharing it with you. If someone feels like getting more details about one of these places or routes, just feel free to ask right on this thread.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:42 AM   #10
JMead11
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Some really fantastic photos there; and a great ride. You have succeeded in making Romania look fantastic. Bravo!
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:58 AM   #11
Damir
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Nice ride and spectacular photography. I visited same area last year on my way back from Russia and I can recognize few of places mentioned in your RR.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:27 AM   #12
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Thanks

Thanks for the report. I'm in Brasov right now. Gives me some ideas for the next couple of days.

If you're in town tonight drop me a pm. I sponsor a thank you beer.

Cheers,
Steff
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Boarder06
If you're in town tonight drop me a pm. I sponsor a thank you beer.
Cheers,
Steff
No, unfortunately not. I work in Bucharest and this weekend I will stay here. Have a nice staying in Brasov and surroundings and a safe trip; as I was born in that area and visit home as often as I can, you deffinitely have a lot to see and visit.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:50 AM   #14
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Thanks for showing us your backyard.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:26 PM   #15
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Nice report Neighbor's Goat! This side of Romania is really beautiful - I look forward to be riding there soon again...

Great pictures too - thanks for sharing!

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