Biking The Transfagarasan Freeway – VIDEO BLOG

by jpc_touring-bicycle

After two full months in Brasov, Romania, I packed up my issues, loaded up my Co-Movement touring bicycle, and hit the street on the subsequent main leg of my 2015 bicycle tour throughout Europe. This explicit leg of the journey would take me greater than 800 kilometers – from Brasov, Romania (within the east) to Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina (within the west).

The primary day on the street was a brief one. I packed up my bicycle, cleaned my AirBNB rental condo in downtown Brasov, Romania, after which cycled only a brief distance to the Brasov practice station. From there, I loaded my fully-loaded touring bicycle onto an area commuter practice and traveled for about three hours west to the close by city of Carta, Romania. As soon as there, I jumped off the practice and started biking the Transfagarasan freeway (the second-highest paved street in all of Romania).

After 4 brief, however intense, hours of biking, I had already climbed greater than two-thirds of the way in which up the mountain. However it was getting darkish, so I made camp in a distant hillside space simply off the freeway and referred to as it a day.

The following morning I used to be woken to the sound of an enormous thunderstorm exterior my tent. Though I used to be awake by 7 AM, it didn’t cease raining till virtually 10 AM, so I stayed inside my tent and rested my drained physique. After two months away from my loaded touring bicycle, I used to be feeling drained, dehydrated and out of practice. Biking the Transfagarasan freeway after a lot time away from my bike was most likely not a good suggestion! However I did ultimately climb out of my tent, pack up my bicycle, and start the brief, however steep and windy climb to the highest of Romania’s second-highest street.

After a brief distance, I met a pair Romanian guys named Cosmin and Lazar who have been additionally biking to the highest of the Transfagarasan. They invited me to cycle with them, and I used to be comfortable to simply accept their supply. They have been touring sluggish, which gave me loads of time to cease and take pictures/movies. It additionally made the climb to the highest a complete lot extra enjoyable.

We have been fortunate that the climate was so nice throughout our climb to the highest, as a result of as soon as we reached the highest of the Transfagarasan freeway, the rain clouds got here in and completely drenched us. We determined to take shelter inside a restaurant positioned on the lake on the prime of the mountain and eat lunch whereas ready out the storm.

Afterward, I mentioned goodbye to Cosmin and Lazar (my new Romanian associates) after which I continued by myself, by the tunnel and down the opposite aspect of the Transfagarasan freeway. I cycled for hours on finish, virtually fully downhill all the time, after which made camp in a desolated lumber yard on the jap aspect of Lake Vidraru.

After one more night time of rain in my tent, I woke the next morning and cycled south alongside the jap fringe of Lake Vidraru, earlier than proceed my bike trip south on Romania’s freeway 7C. Someplace alongside the route, I bumped into one other man touring on a bicycle. He was stopped on the aspect of the street taking a photograph once I first met him. He mentioned he didn’t communicate English, however he did communicate German. And since I do know just a bit German, I used to be in a position to talk with the person simply sufficient to be taught than his title was Bernd, he was 54-years-old, he was from Koln, Germany, and he was touring in the identical path that I used to be touring.

Bernd requested is he might cycle with me for some time, and I mentioned that will be tremendous. So, we cycled south to town of Curtea de Arges, the place we stopped for lunch (pizza and lemonades) and to refill out meals and water provides. Bernd had initially deliberate on biking a bit additional to the south, be he was usually heading in the identical path I used to be. Not eager to journey alone, I believe, Bernd requested is he might include me all the way in which to Serbia, and I mentioned that will be tremendous. So instantly, a stranger on the street grew to become a week-long journey companion.

Bernd and I spent our first night time collectively tenting in a small native campground that he simply occurred to cycle previous throughout our night trip. I wasn’t fairly able to pay for tenting at this level in my journey, however I used to be actually comfortable to get a bathe. And since tenting is so low cost in Romania, I had no downside shelling out a pair additional bucks. The bathe alone was value it!

Throughout our second day of biking collectively, Bernd and I cycled by town of Ramnicu Valcea and ended the day tenting in an orchard simply east of Targu Jiu, Romania. Alongside the way in which we stopped and ate lunch at a reasonable restaurant the place we loved a scrumptious soup that solely price $0.50 USD. On the finish of this video, you’ll hear Bernd speak about why he was touring round Europe on a bicycle. (Sorry, however Bernd’s interview is out there solely in German.)

The next day, Bernd and I packed up our issues, walked our bicycles out from the orchard to the principle street after which cycled into the close by metropolis of Targu Jiu, which was rather more crowded than both of us anticipated.

Within the metropolis of Motru, Romania, we stopped for lunch at a city-center restaurant, solely to search out that they’d little or no meals on the menu. Once we requested if they’d pizza, the waiter mentioned that they didn’t, however that they may order a pizza from a special close by restaurant and that we might have it delivered there, to the restaurant the place we have been presently consuming. In order that’s precisely what we did!

Then, after loading up on meals and water for the night time, I speak about a few of the variations and difficulties of touring with one other particular person (particularly somebody who doesn’t communicate the identical language). Then we settled down for the night time in a darkish, moist roadside forest.

Our final day of motorbike touring in Romania was a superb one. We cycled a brief 30-something kilometers to town of Drobeta-Turnu Severin the place we ate an enormous lunch (so as to spend the final of our Romanian cash) after which ran round looking for a spot to alternate our cash.

As soon as we crossed the Romania/Serbia border, we cycled for a number of extra kilometers to a small campground positioned on the sting of the Danube River. The campground was free, but it surely lacked even essentially the most primary services – akin to flush bogs and heat showers.

Our first full day of motorbike touring in Serbia was a superb one – regardless of the chilly and wind that we encountered alongside the way in which. Bernd and I spent all the day biking alongside the sting of the Danube River and have been handled to numerous spectacular views of the river and close by villages as we cycled alongside. After a giant, scrumptious and cheap lunch, we pitched our tents at a riverside campground, the place we each took heat showers and charged up our varied digital units.

If you wish to see a video tour of my tent and the way I arrange my issues once I’m tenting, that is the video you need to watch!

Our second night time tenting in Serbia was not a superb one. We have been at a longtime campground the place a few of the different visitors on the campground (and probably even the homeowners of the campground) have been up late into the night time (4 AM) consuming, dancing, singing, combating and making all types of noise. Neither Bernd nor I slept very effectively that night time, so once we woke the subsequent morning we have been comfortable to get out of there – regardless of being very rested.

Whereas I used to be packing up my issues, I reached my hand inside one in every of my panniers and felt one thing type of unusual. It solely took me a second to comprehend what it was. It was a snake!

After a superb day of biking, Bernd and I made camp in a small cherry orchard alongside the southern fringe of the Danube River, simply exterior town of Grocka, Serbia. The next day we might cycle into Serbia’s capital metropolis – Belgrade!

After waking within the cherry orchard, Bernd and I packed up our bicycles and ready ourselves for the brief, however scenic bike trip into the Belgrade metropolis heart. As soon as there, we ate lunch at a riverside floating restaurant (a spot the place the costs have been excessive and the parts have been small)… after which later within the day checked into an AirBNB condo that I had rented on the Web.

After checking into the small condo, Bernd and I took showers after which went out for our final meal collectively on the waterfront. We each ordered massive Serbian pizza (mine was the very best I had had in months) and we sat watching from the restaurant patio as tons of of individuals walked alongside the waterfront.

The next morning, Bernd packed up his issues and left town on his personal, whereas I stayed in Belgrade for 3 extra nights – engaged on my enterprise and getting ready for the subsequent leg of my bike tour.

When one in every of my readers discovered I used to be in his house metropolis, he requested if he might be a part of me over the weekend for a three-day bike trip from Belgrade to the Bosnian border. I used to be comfortable to have some extra firm, so I invited him alongside. His title was Marko… and he was a younger 20-something from Belgrade who had already carried out numerous brief bike excursions in his native a part of the world.

Sadly, the day Marko and I have been scheduled to go away Belgrade, the climate was not on our aspect. It rained virtually all the day and we have been pressured to camp in a darkish, moist forest. After pitching our tents, we jumped inside and did our greatest to dry our garments and keep heat.

Biking with Mark was attention-grabbing as a result of I obtained to rapidly see a few of the variations between his life and my very own. For instance, once I was touring with Bernd (from Germany), we have been continually saying how low cost every part was (at eating places, for instance). However for Marko, going to a restaurant wasn’t a chance – it was out of his finances. Even the forms of meals that Marko was consuming have been very totally different to something I’d ever eat myself. However for him, consuming this fashion was regular.

This is likely one of the issues I take pleasure in a lot about touring with different folks – or assembly different folks on my travels. You get to see how different folks reside… and generally you might be very stunned by what you uncover!

Throughout my second day of biking with Marko, the climate drastically improved and we crossed the border from Serbia into the neighboring nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The border crossing was a straightforward one, and I discovered biking in Bosnia to be fairly fulfilling.

We made a brief cease at an amusement park-like place (I jokingly confer with it was “Bosnia’s model of Disneyland” within the video), after which continued biking west, simply previous town of Bileljina, the place we jumped over a ditch within the street and pitched out tents within the forest as soon as once more.

Throughout my third and remaining day of motorbike touring with Marko, we packed up our bicycles and cycled south, following a street and river that ran parallel to the border of Bosnia and Serbia. Within the metropolis of Kozluk, I mentioned goodbye to Marko and started biking by myself as soon as once more. Whereas it was fulfilling to have some firm for the bike trip from Belgrade to Bosnia, I used to be comfortable to be by myself as soon as once more. Now free to do as I happy, I might cycle at my very own tempo, cease at any time when I favored, and camp the place I happy.

Then, lastly, I spent my final day of the bike tour tenting on a hillside simply exterior town of Tuzla, Bosnia, the place I’d spent the next week. I packed up my bicycle, loaded up my issues and pushed my loaded touring bicycle right down to the street. From there it was only a brief bike trip into the middle of Tuzla.

I arrived within the metropolis just a few hours early, so I purchased my practice ticket from Tuzla to Copenhagen, Denmark (one thing I would want for the subsequent leg of my travels) after which checked into the AirBNB condo I had rented within the metropolis. This condo can be my house for the subsequent six nights and was conveniently positioned only a few brief minutes from town heart.

Tuzla was a pleasant, fairly metropolis, with not a complete lot to see or do, so I spent most of my days inside, engaged on my pc and getting ready for the subsequent main leg of my bike tour: a three-month-long bicycle tour throughout Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

My bike tour throughout Romania, Serbia and Bosnia was a superb one. I used to be fortunate to have some good firm be a part of me on the tour. I specifically loved biking with Bernd, as we had comparable using kinds, comparable budgets, and (regardless of the language barrier) have been in a position to talk in a optimistic method.

I’ve now been to Romania three totally different occasions and I nonetheless consider it as among the best locations I’ve ever been. And albeit, I don’t perceive why extra folks don’t go there. It’s lovely, attention-grabbing, cheap, with nice meals, pleasant folks, fantastic sources (like a number of low cost motels, quick web, and so on) and many to see and do. If I needed to suggest any single location for a self-supported bicycle tour, Romania can be my alternative! Go to Romania – you received’t remorse it!

For extra movies like these, be sure you subscribe to Bicycle Touring Professional’s official YouTube channel.

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Biking The Transfagarasan Freeway – VIDEO BLOG  
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