Day 43: Brasov to Racu, Romania

Heading into bad weather in the mountains of Romania

I had another of those cost swings today, going from a fancy Hotel in Brasov to a room in house in a small town about 70 miles north of Brasov. Essentially a factor of ten reduction in cost, but I didn't stop here to save money, I stopped because of rain. Actually, I stopped at a restaurant that had a room (actually bed symbol) sign, to eat and wait out the rain. The rain didn't stop so I asked about a room. The only common language we had was a little German, so it got a bit confusing when it turned out that they didn't have rooms, but just arranged them with local homes. Then it got further confused when the first place I was supposed to stay rejected me. I'm guessing that older woman said "no single men in my house!" Finally after about an hour of waiting, an older man showed up and led me, in the rain, down dirt streets, to his home.

He, and his wife, and their granddaughter are delightful! His wife speaks a little English; her older brother lives in NYC. The lady that arranged this told them I came from Portugal, which is true, but confusing < grin >. I'm happy to be here and not riding in the rain on a holey, bumpy, road where I'd get splashed a lot and have to worry about what was under every puddle!

While I was waiting for the rain to end at the restaurant, I refigured my route and, with maybe a half day's extra time, came up with a better set of stopping points. Of course those depend on stopping at major cities, and now I have stopped at a small town...

Beautiful and rustic, Romania

Fields on a hillside, with a man working in them

Highway 12, which I rode for most of the day
Bumpy, but very nice riding
And yes, that is a horse drawn wagon coming my way

Today, at least the middle part of it, was great riding, the best I've done in Romania. It wasn't stunningly beautiful like eastern Slovenia, but it was gentle, easy, except for the bumpy road, riding through beautiful countryside. I started the day riding a long way just to get out of Brasov. That was better than getting out of the other cities, mostly because it was Sunday, but still not fun. I do appreciate the fact that the roads are very well signed here, so I don't have to worry about getting lost! I don't appreciate the bad roads, the diesel fumes, and the driving style. Still, I'm getting used to all of it!

Once out of the urban area, I was on an expressway ,Romanian style. That means everything from horse drawn wagons to very fast cars use it. As another tourist who had ridden across Romania reported, it is normal here for a bicycle tourist to pass slower vehicles. On that expressway, which is a four lane concrete (thump-thump) road, I was cruising at 15 to 20 mph for the first hour of my riding day. Then I turned off on highway 12, which is a normal road, and my speed range dropped to 12 to 15 mph. Some of that is because highway 12 isn't as flat as highway 11, the expressway, and some of it is because Highway 12 is much bumpier. Highway 12 is also much more fun to ride.

The center of Miercurea-Ciuc, the biggest town on my route today
note the poor quality of the pavement
Most of the pavement in Romanian towns is worse than this

A beautiful church near the center of Miercurea-Ciuc

A typical street scene away from the center of Miercurea-Ciuc
The car with its brake lights on is a Dacia
This model is, by far, the most common car in Romania

The first serious hill on the ride came in a village maybe 25 miles from Brasov. Then there were several 50 M or so climbs, each onto a new plateau. The most important city on this part of the ride is Baile Tusnad which seems to a haven for hikers and such. Lots of tourists and tourist related stuff.

Coming into Baile Tusnad

Highway 12 near Baile Tusnad looks like a mountain road

After this section, highway 12 comes out into a big, flat area surrounded by mountains. When I was riding in this area, I could see rain ahead clouds overhead. The wind became a problem as the storm built and it started spitting a little bit of rain. Miercurea-Ciuc is at the far end of that open area and, as I rode through it - That took a long time and most of the streets were very bumpy - I could see rain farther down the road. I stopped at a service station to use the toilet and to put away my camera, then rode on hoping not to hit heavy rain. Then it started to thunder.

Racu is a small town about 20 km past Miercurea-Ciuc. By the time I got here the rain looked serious and I was in serious need of real food - I'd had two 'hot dogs' and a liter of Coke near Baile Tusnad, and my tummy wasn't happy - so I stopped at a 'rustic' restaurant that also had the room sign. They weren't serving a meal at 4:30 PM, but I did get a beer, a basket of bread, and a large bowl of good soup.

After eating, I brought my computer in and asked if I could use it there. That is when I changed my route and also when I created the images for this web page. That took and hour or so and the rain was still coming down. Then I asked about a room and, well, I covered that part at the beginning. I went back to the restaurant for supper. It was a fixed menu, which was heavy and not too exciting. My tummy, after the hot dogs, would have been better served by something lighter. The lady that runs the restaurant asked me if I was coming back for breakfast, and when I said I was, said I could pay for it all in the morning. I don't know what, or if, she charges for room location, but I'll be happy to pay it.

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