Day 42: Sibiu to Brasov, Romania

Brasov, in the mountains of central Romania

I reach another routing point today, Brasov, which is the place everybady talks about in connection with the beauty of Romania. So far, I'm dissapointed. It seems just another Romanian industrial city and none of the ones I've been in are very pretty. However, I stopped before I reaching the center of Brasov (McDonalds is just over 3 km for here!) and I will explor it later this morning. I'm writing this in th emorning because I needed sleep more than doing a ride report last night. I went to bed at 9 PM and got up at 7 AM. It was a good night.

I'm staying a much more down home place where a room cost less than half what my other Romanian rooms have cost. No English is spoken here, but, with a little German, I managed to get what I needed: a room, a good supper, and an OK breakfast. The total cost was 700,000 Lei or roughly $22.

A good part of Highway 1
The bad parts were way to bumpy to photograph

Coming into Fagaras

My ride from Subiu to Fargaras, about the first fifty miles of the day's 94 miles, was hard. mainly because of bumpy pavement, but there were also hills and a headwind. I expected the second part, from Fargaras to Brasov to be hilly, and it was, with sveral medium length ( between 100 and 200 meters vertical) climbs, but it was better riding because the road quality was consistenly pretty good. It was also prettier riding and that always helps. It tok me almost eight hours of riding to cover those 94 miles.

Getting through Subiu, with the usual heavy traffic, smog, and lots of diesel fumes, wasn't fun and it had the additional charm of no bicycling signs on the road I needed to bicycle . Once out of town things were good for about ten miles. I saw a group of four loaded tourists heading the other way of that section - the first I've seen in Romania. Then Highway 1 went east from the main road, with several good climbs, and down into another valley. In that valley, which I rode for 35 miles, the road was often very bumpy. It was the kind of bumpy that beat me up and reduced my average speed by a mile or two per hour. I did not enjoy it, epecially when it was combined with vehicles passing into me.

There were many small villages in this section, which were interesting to ride through, but almost no services. The people in those villages don't eat out a lot . Most of the people I saw looked like they the lived off the land. Some were a bit grimy, and some were quite beautiful, and all of them seem friendly and surprised by my bike. I did have one urchin who, after grinning at me as I passed, tried to run behind me and catch up with me. He didn't know about my rearview mirror, and I think he would have tried to snatch something off my bike if he caught me. He didn't.

I also, mostly on one big hill after Fargaras, had to run a ganultlet of women trying to sell rasberries. That had its good side, e.g. A really beautiful young woman smiling at me and flirting with me in order to sell berries, but it got old after riding past dozens of places where people called out to me. Maybe if I knew what they were saying, It would have been better. The other problem with this gauntlet was that the people selling the berries were on the shoulder of the road, and forced me out into the other traffic. Not a big deal.

Romania puts Ibeams across the road before underpasses to 'filter' the traffic

Highway 1 in the middle of the long valley

Sometimes there were more horse drawn vehicles on the road that cars

The view looking south. I think those are the Transyvanian Alps

When I reached Fargaras, I stopped for lunch at a hotel. That was good. Then I rode through town and stopped at a service station to buy a liter of pepsi and a map of Romania. Both the pepsi and the map are cheaper here. The map was about $2 campared to 6 to 8 E for simliar maps I've bought in other countries.

A big hill to the south

The road from Fargaras to Codlea, the biggest town before Brasov

Beautiful country along the way

Ghimbay, a pretty town just before Brasov

The ride to Brasov was good, and, in Codlea, the biggest town before Brasov, I found a Bankomat so I don't have to worry about functioning in this cash economy for a few days. Coming into Brasov was dissapointing and the traffic was bad, so when I saw this 'Motel', I stopped for the night. After supper I walked a km or so toward town to get my bearings. On the way back, a woman asked me for directions. I must be doing well at looking local .