Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Romania Part 2

Warning! Lots of pictures in this one (well more than normal anyway.. )

Romania is sooo beautiful.  Wasn't sure what to expect, but glad to find it to be a great place to ride a motorcycle..

First a few views from the road:  Farming gets done by hand around here!  Fields, sheep herding.. not many fences, not many borders.. I like it..



I know it's hard work, but I admire Romania for a more natural way of life.. not that I could do it myself!  But I admire it..



Might be worth pointing out the stop sign in English.. as with most countries.  Rarely do you see this particular sign with local language.  AND always the same shape and color.  Often makes me think, off all things you don't want to confuse local drivers with a sign in English language if they don't speak dag gone English! Now that I have actually looked into it, I understand why.. click the "stop sign" link if you want details.

In this case, the horse and buggy might also be a reason to stop before the intersection ;-)


I make my way to Sibiu, for my next night's stay.. found a little bikers place right in town.  While unpacking I get a message from a really nice guy who has been following the blog saying that if I happen to come near Sibiu, he'd be happy to show me some fun roads.  Well heck!! I'm in Sibiu right now, how good is that!

Sibiu

Once I actually spoke to him, we made a plan to meet in the morning to ride.  I had a general idea of the direction and route I wanted to take next day, but the greatest part of meeting the locals is they always have even better routes and I go with the flow ;-)

Tiberiu Brad, aka Tibi, has been following my blog since Russia.  A long way back, so for this it is also fun to meet with somebody I've exchanged messages with along the way.

Tibi shows up at 9 am with his very cool daughter Ruxi, I finish packing the bike and we're off!

The ride starts off through a few villages and then we head for the mountains.





Let the dirt riding begin!



Nice riding a freshly carved out mountain road!  And before we knew it, we find Jesus! He is also known for taking the road less traveled, hey?









We come out of this easy mountain pass and jig through another village to change roads..where they were having a celebration. Not sure what it's about, but looking very traditional indeed.



See.. I'm not the only one who wants to hear the Romanian singing lady...

Out of town we take on the dirt road #2..

Road works!  Some day this nice dirt track might be all paved.

They're clearly working on it..!


At this point we are traveling near the Transalpina Pass.  It is still not open due to snow, even at these lower levels there is lingering snow..


Ahhhh, yes... lunch time!!  My favorite part of the day..again!!  Tibi works in the mountains and travels here often, so he knew the best place to stop for fresh river trout. ;-)))))




We heard it start raining from inside the restaurant. Being high in the mountains it's expected and we are hoping once we start going down it will ease off.. hopefully!  I think Ruxi is a little motoadventure girl in the making.. 6th grade!





From here on the track starts to get a bit thin..






Those leaves are the worst.. so slippery.  If I was ever going to drop the bike today, it was in them..







The road ended up getting super thin.. and not traveled at all.. For the remainder of this track, it was raining so full and we were on slippery little paths that hadn't seen cars for a long while as I was constantly getting slapped in the face with a wet leafy branches!  Battery flat and rain, meant I put the camera away..  However Tibi and young Ruxi were champs and we finished off on to the paved roads eventually.  They will now get to ride an easy yet long highway home, and I will continue on alone.


Thank you Tibi and Ruxi for a very special day.. bummer about the rain, but I know I got to ride some of the prettiest roads through Romania regardless!  
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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Romania Part 1



It was kind of fun to stop the bike on a big bridge with no emergency lane, large trucks passing by to hop off and take a photo!!  Not often you get the border sign in a place like this?!  Such things would usually scare me in the past, but now I just do whatever I want.. cocky rider in the making! ;-/

I've been looking forward to Romania, particularly Transylvania ever since I started my trip research months ago.  I used to think Transylvania was an imaginary place that Count Dracula is from.  No particular fascination with Dracula on my end. I'm not one to watch scary movies.  They're worse than the big highway trucks!  But I was curious and more interested to see if this Transylvania place was real and what it was like.

Views from the road..



Romanian Village

Not sure what the horse and buggy are delivering, but it looks a bit like those salt blocks you put in the fields for livestock?  I would bet my guess is way off though..

I went through several villages like this and just loved them.. They don't look like much at first, but the people are so kind and friendly and really lets you feel like a step back in time.  Have to admit I was really really stared at as I rode through....(more than normal, or I was just a bit conscientious that day)..

















First stop for the night is in a town called Bran and the location of the famous "Dracula Castle".  (This is not the original Dracula castle, but became famous as being the one that inspired Bram Stoker and his novel "Dracula")  The original castle of Vled Tepes the impaler (the real Dracula whom was nicknamed after Dragon or The Devil) is a pile of rubble in another location you can visit via a metal staircase, which quite honestly didn't inspire me enough to go see in the very short 4 days I have in Romania. I was told he was simply a grumpy man who's weapon of choice was the kebab stick after having a meal with his intended victim.. ha!  Beware at your next bar-b-que!!

Anyway, I see I have digressed as usual!  Back to Bran Castle!

This castle caught my eye soon enough, and even though I wasn't real keen on the touristy side of this attraction, I could tell the closer I got that it would be fun to have a look inside.


I don't want to bore you with details of this castle, but I want to include them here because I just loved it.. I don't look at it as a scary castle, it more looks like a wonderful and comfortable home!  I could picture myself living here easy!  Okay, a bit extravogant, but I can dream, can't I?? Honestly, most castles seem so stoney and cold, and I get bored easily.  But this one was so fun, full of squirrelly staircases, secret passages, and warm little nooks.  When can I move in??




The only problem I see here is that I'd be hitting my head a fair bit with these short doors.. It's funny, even though Vlad Tepes didn't live here and suck peoples blood, I now imagine him from this era as a short little evil vampire than the tall man with fangs in a black cape.  Just a visual that came to me ;-)


Warming nook with another little fireplace..


Several curling staircases throughout the home..oops, I mean castle..


Which is your weapon of choice?? A reminder that I'm walking through a historical place..

This secret passage connected the 3rd floor to the 1st floor.. so cool, just wish I had a long black cape on as I tiptoed down the stairs.. ;-)





After I finished my wander around the castle, I stopped to buy some cheese from the locals..


I have very much learned to taste the cheese first.. as I definitely don't like cheese from sheep or goat.. must be cow!  Quite often have to make the "baaa" or "mooo" sound to clarify this! ;-)




Before I arrived, I saw several reports of others who complain that Bran Castle area was too touristy.. It is.. you can definitely walk away with new plastic fangs.  But, as you can tell, I loved it anyway and got a lot out of it.. just look past the fangs (unless you desperately need new ones.. ).

Plus, it's such a beautiful part of the world surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains..why pass it up over a few vampire and dagger stalls?  

More of Romania coming up.. (spoken with my television promo voice..) see you!
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