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Chapter 1: Goerlitz - Czestochowa
Chapter 2: Kosice
Chapter 3: Satu Mare
Chapter 4: Borsa
Chapter 6: Schaessburg
Chapter 7: Brasov

16 Friday, 3.6., Vatra Dornei, 92 km

Of course there is no breakfast in this pension, otherwise the first real pass Prislop, 1416 m, of the Carpathians is waiting. And the route keeps to be uncomfortable withe the ugly concrete pavement and steadily leading uphill. Soon I realize that my strengths will not be sufficient for this day. But everywhere there are those small shops named Magazin Mixt or so and those are open already, now at 7 am. I buy some bananas, cookies and cake to replace the missing breakfast.

Soon I feel better and can climb to a village in a green valley upside of Borsa where they put up lots of brand new buildings but all thoroughly assimilated to the surrouding landscape. May be this will be a favourite tourist center at one time? Finally we enter the botany with few traffic. Sometimes there are some vehicles with a handful of cows on the load floor. This will be some kind of cattle drive up to the Alpine pastures as we will see. We steadily climb with a moderate slope, but the roaring of other vehicles ahead indicates that this will last for yet another time.

As I have a rest on a side wall two rickety (klapperig) Dacia automobiles come along and stop. They do not take any notice of me - they have a breakdown. At first there come out three men, three women and three children of those two tiny cars. By the colorful clothings of the women we can assume what kind of folks we have met. I try to get a photo but then abort as the men seem to look at me. I told you before, that one should be carefully to take a photo of the gipsy people, as is to be read in the tourist guide.

I better find my way and after four hours and 25 km from the start I reach the summit of the pass. And now we see those cows just leaving their load floor over a ramp and blissfully (glückselig) striving uphill towards the tasty pastures. All accompanied by those melodic whistles of the herdsmen as we have heard the day before.

Pass Prisop


Summit 1416 m

At the summit there is not so much to be seen, a local lad collects the garbish from the trash boxes and a flock of school-community comes out of a bus which may be a German gift of an sorted out bus to Romania because there is a very German inscription on it.

We start for the downhill and this is very enjoyable, not too steep and on a good road surface. Now we enter the valley of the Bistritja and follow this route fore more than 100 km, mostly slight downwards. The culture of this valley has changed: there are houses with horizontal ornated crossbeams and there are artful wells to ensure the water supply by handwheel, chain and bailers (Schöpfeimer).

The road conditions do not stay to be as good as before. Now there are workers who mill out the damaged parts of the road surface and thereafter fill the pits by a tarmac mixture. The new repaired sections are neither very comfortable, the bike still hops passing the kerbs. The cyclist with his two wheels can curve around those obstacles but the the four-wheeled vehicles rattle along and it is surprising, that this or that of those mostly older carts do not loose their life withtin a very short space of time.

At the milestones we read the name Jacobeni all over the day since the start this morning. Let us say, that the milestones in Romania are rather informative: they show the road number, the current location, the distance to the last and next village, and the final end of the road. And for now this is Jacobeni. But this village is disappointing, industry and no accommodation available - so far as I can see. But at this place you will have to decide where to continue. If you turn left (E576) you will reach the town Campulung Moldovenese and later come to the famous Moldavian cloisters with their spectacular ancient wall paintings. But for now we cannot have everything, turn right and stay to the river Bistritja, and later heading towards the region of Transylvania. So for today we end at the touristic town of Vatra Dornei.

Some pedestrian suggests a hotel near the center and this is the best of all: Hotel Carol - not so cheap naturally but the average calculation after those low cost lodgings before may legitimate a proper luxury now and then. But I will not use the fitness centre with some torture machines and the sauna, which is not switched on neither. After the shower bath and washing of socks, bike shirt, and underwear clothes I start for a memorable evening meal. As usual I choose a Pizzeria aware what to expect thereabout - but be sure: we will have a surprise tonight.

To be sure not to go out hungry at last I order a Pizza GIANT, which by now seems to need some more time because later guests meanwhile are dining already. And finally there comes a big tablet, may be the half of a square meter. The table must be cleared to get enough space for the portion. Some other guests peer at me with surprise and so do I.

Let us remember a similar adventure in England (Monmouth) some years ago as I got a family pizza, did my best and at last was laid off with the words of a clerk "He must have been hungry, I thought".

This time the affair is somewhat more painful in a country where those lots of people have to do such a hard work to get their self supply? But anyway - now there is something to do! And really, after some time I succeed to consume one half of the portion but nothing more and nothing else! The service maid comes along cooperatively and offers "Shall I pack it?". I do only understand "Baghuette?" and so resign in thanks. But then she comes up with a big carton, but I really cannot use it, it will be no proper cargo for my panniers. May be edgewise, but's what about the underwear beneath? And to bite through this food during the rest of the evening is neither recommended awaiting a proper breakfast buffet tomorrow morning? So I resign for another time, I pay 11 EUR including the beer and carry out my big paunch (Schmerbauch).

At last I end in an Internet Cafe and send a mail to my home and insure, that this country is really progressive - real sarcasm, I know - excuse me for all that!

17 Saturday, 4.6., Bicaz, 132 km

After all this the breakfast is not so exquisite but the weather is fine and we can continue on a good road in this special valley of the Bistritja. There is a scenic landscape and we pass natural villages.

If you need a rest you can find a nice seat on one of those narrow walls aside the road at the mall bridges over crossing creeks. As I just sat down a merry lad comes along, shakes hands and sits aside. He has much to tell and I think this would be very interesting but unfortunately I don't understand a single word. At last I declare by signs that I will continue. So we finally embrace and he shouts into my ear "Drum Bull" so far as I can understand. Later I learn: it was "Drum Bun" and that means "A happy journey". What a kind guy! So a final photo of this event and the guy waves for farewell.  We will learn another story this day concerning photography.

But the next is an angler standing in the river or a grey goose who both don't bother of the camera. After 87 km I reach the storage lake Lacul Izvorul Muntelui.

It was to be read that at one spot there are lots of plastic bottles and garbage drifting in the waters and so it is. But at one spot only, but this should be abandoned one day if the locals want to have delighted tourists. Anyhow there is a hotel and restaurant with a big parking place.

Now we enter a beautiful panoramic road which is somewhat sportive and leading up and down. At the village Hangu we read a sign: Pension Intim, but beware to have stupid thoughts! We now await the most serious adventure of this tour.

Just ahead there is a couple of my favourite gipsy families trekking along with their children, poor luggage, and some horse carts. The little horses are covered by sweat because we have a hot day and the road just leads up a hill. Two pied women disappear in the bushes so let us peer into another direction. Meanwhile one of the lads tries to beg for some food and runs aside of my bike for a while. I would do anything but wouldn't stop and open my panniers. Or should I really have bewared the rests of the giant pizza from yesterday? May be!

At the next bend I can force up the speed and escape. After a distance I get "devil-may-care" resp. light-headed and try a forbidden photo of this matter. It would have been better to resign this attempt. At first the photo does not succeed. And at second it seems they got aware of this try because suddenly the first horse starts to gallop behind me, I hear shouts and whistles and they really come nearer and nearer?

If you now expect a scared "senior cyclist" rushing up the hill as fast as he can - you are right. The sound of gallopping still comes nearer. After some time the haunters seem to remain behind, some last angry shouts and I still keep to run upwards nearly with a tachycardia (Herzrasen). And the hill will not end, and at last when it does I finally can be sure to get the essential security distance. And better not to imagine what would have happened to me.

So this story is not told to discriminate those people, it was my fault and I am very angry about myself. But may be it is a warning for someone else enjoying a similar situation.

The rest of the stretch to Bicaz (20 km) as a matter of course is absolved without any stop. At last I cross the dam of the lake and at the village Bicaz I am disappointed to find a nasty ambience. After some time I find a Motel with restaurant, bar and open air terrace. My room is very poor but be sure I am happy anyway.

At the terrace I have my dinner. The menu card is in Romanian language only, so I choose the first meal named "Pastau Prajata" of the fish category. And I success: I get a fried trout. The last impressions of this day: some louder music from the disco bar, on the other side some pastoral chorals from the nearby church. And a merry guy comes back from the graveyard with a shovel on his shoulder, he apparently has done his work of the day. On a bench someone is sleeping deeply, he has got his sleeping drugs from any bottles.

18 Sunday, 5.6., Niklasmarkt (Gheorgheni), 58 km

At 7 am in the morning I get back my passport but there is no breakfast available. So I get off for the attractions of the day. At first I pass a huge Concrete Factory: Carpat Beton, associated to Heidelberg Zement or so. Let us hope that they will not disassemble the famous Bicaz Gorge waiting ahead.

There I meet two cyclists with mountainbikes from Germany. They visit this country for the sixth time, so I cannot tell so much to them. They will head for the Moldavian Cloisters which were not part of my own program. Inside the narrow gorge there are lots of booths with souvernirs, potteries, crochet stuff, cane furniture and so on and this is not such a romantic impression.

At the end of the gorge some steep hairpins lead up to the Red Lake (Lacu Rosu). This lake is somewhat special because there are lots of tree stumps rising out of the water. In the year 1838 there was a big landslide at this place and nowadays you see the rests of the destroyed forest. It is to be read that the wooden stumps are lithified (versteinert) meanwhile.

We now enter the ascent to the Pangarati Pass, 1256 m. As usual I concentrate on some flowers and plants during the ascent and detect some orchids or a wild aquilegia (Akelei).

Not so much else to be seen and down the pass we soon reach the first town of Transylvania: Gheorgheni or Niklasmarkt. At the central palce named Pta Libertati I find the nice Hotel Rubin.


I have a lazy afternoon, some photos of the scene and in the evening a delicious meal of grilled liver. Finally some rain and thunderstorm, but until now there was the best weather of all. We will see what's about that tomorrow.

Some Rain Outside

Chapter 6: Schaessburg

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