After I got back from the mountains and picked up a Romanian hitchhiker on my way back to town who told me a lot of things, of which I understood none I meet with Monica once more in Deva to join her for the Deva Skirt Bike.

Of course I didn’t participate since I left my skirt back home I just accompanied her and her friend for it. Upon asking what this event is all about I was told its about the fun of riding your bike and having a good time. :) I joined in and can confirm, it’s fun to ride your bike with masses of other peoples through the streets. Unlike in Germany there is no police or blocking traffic for the whole thing, surprise: it still works! After having some dinner together and enjoying the view over Deva for one last time, I started heading north towards Cluj-Napoca to meet with Rolf and Anna.

Even though they were on bikes, they beat me there and where already waiting in a small hotel next to a lake. We talked to the owner if I can just park my car outside and pay for parking. He agreed for 5lei (~1,2€) per night that I can just park there. During the next days we spent every night cooking together. This was great fun since we didn’t plan on staying long at the place and didn’t really have anything prepared before. So we found a new way every night to combine our both leftover bags for one delicious meal for three people.

On the second day we went together into the nearby town Turda to see the old Salt Mine there. It was a great experience and I learned that it is possible to have Vertigo even if you are under ground. :) The Mine was really nice to see even though they had a lot of entertainment down there for school classes which spoiled the experience a little. But if you like Ping Pong and Basketball, you came to the right place. The actual part with the light installations was really awesome and well worth going down there. The patterns of the salt in the walls (don’t lick it!) are amazing. Since the whole thing is underground the temperatures are a little lower than in the blazing sun outside. So better bring some awesome, stylish warm socks. After the visit in the mine we rode our bikes back to the lake. It was really fun to spent some time riding my bike with other people.

After about three days we decided to leave the place and head into Cluj. I went to pay my bill and was requested to pay 150lei (~33€) for parking. Apparently there was a misunderstanding but the boss was not there to clarify. After we urged them to call him we were waved away with a “drum bun” (Good travels) and a dismissive gesture of the hand. I left the agreed 15lei for the 3 night on the table and left. This left a bad feeling in my stomach, I don’t feel like cheating them out of their money, but the price for a regular campground in Romania is about 15-25lei (3-5€) per night.

Upon leaving the lake I kind of went out the backdoor, because I would have had to go back in to ask them to unlock the front gate for me, which I didn’t feel like doing. So I went out the back (first Mistake) and took a left (second Mistake) which was the shorter route (of curse not!). Roads in Romania are quite adventurous as I mentioned before. This one was already marked as a forest Road and I found out the true meaning of that.  As I only drive 2WD and not a fancy 4WD I have to make up for that by bringing a little more momentum into the problem. In the case of one mud puddle I hit the far side a little harder than expected because I went faster not to get stuck in it. A few hundred meters further down the road I heard a loud bang… Looking out the back window I saw my bike, including carrier, lazily lying around on the road behind me. That sucks! :) When I got out to retrieve it I checked the front of the car as well and found out that there was a little more mud, but a little less license plate on the front bumper. Since the bike was off the car already anyway, I got on and rode back to pick my license plate up back by the mudhole. Imagining that the worst was behind me I proceeded down the road. the road got actually a little better, before it got a lot worse. I was confronted with an uphill passage that was covered with loose sand and going in a slight turn. So the solution of going fast couldn’t be applied. I made it almost up the hill, but 3/4 of the way up the the friction of my tires and the gradient came to the agreement to end my adventure at this point. Now I had to roll backwards downhill on a sandy road, whenever I hit the breaks slightly to much the tires would block and the bus started sliding. Cursing, Sweating and aging years in seconds I made it down the hill. Let’s not do that again… at least not with my bus. The only option left at this point was to double back the way I have come. So much for being shorter. On the way back I didn’t loose any parts of the car so I think I managed quite well. :)

Yes, I eventually made it to Cluj Napoca and got to say goodbye to Rolf and Anna, who where again faster than me being on their bikes. My stay in Cluj was actually rather uneventful, slept in Hoia Forest twice but didn’t see any ghosts. ;)

In my next post from Romania:

Me: How do I get across that river?
Old Romanian Fisherman: Barka.
Me: But there is no ferry driver? Is there a bridge close by?
Old Romanian Fisherman: Barka!

One thought on “Romania III – Backroads

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