Brasov/Bucharest, Romania, 15-30 degrees Celsius
After our short detour in northern Romania, we resumed traveling towards the south. First stop was Brasov, a nice city, although we believe it does not live up to the expectations set by the travel guides. We visited the Black church and its collection of old Persian rugs….. yep that’s right, not much adventure there… Later that day we stumbled upon a true Romanian rarity; a raw vegan restaurant. The food turned out to be really creative and well prepared. We can highly recommend the raw veggie burger with cold, radish fries.
Next morning Paul’s bike decided that it needed a day off and refused to start. Close inspection by us and the friendly, local BMW dealer revealed that the starter relay was toasted…. Bad news. A couple of hours later we finally got the bike at the local Yamaha dealer… located in a scruffy, well hidden shed. The replacement part was found within a hour and we were in business again.
After a few rainy days (yes we have them too..), we crawled out of our tent and visited one of the most well-preserved ‘ Dracula’ castles: Bran castle. It is still owned by the former Romanian royal family, but is open for the public. It is a lovely, Efteling-like castle, although the information boards mainly refer to the accomplishments of the royal family, instead of the castle itself and the surroundings were filled with ugly tourist shops.
Next on our list was the Transfagaran road, once a prestige project issued by Ceausescu, nowadays a scenic mountain pass with excellent bends, perfect for bikers (and Top Gear). The northern approach is beautiful, but the road was a little bit tricky since recently melted ice water was flowing freely across the tarmac. The southern road is much easier and has even more stunning scenery, like the reservoir lake and dam.
We concluded our Ceausescu tour by visiting Bucharest, including the immense People’s palace. Here we gazed at the gold, marble, decorated wooden panels and enormous passageways, conference and reception rooms. Humbled we returned to our small cabin at the campsite, in the northern part of the city, looking back on a lovely few weeks in Romania.