Transalpina & Transfagarasan, 3633km, 26.8 – 31.8.2016

Transalpina & Transfagarasan, 3633km, 26.8 – 31.8.2016

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**Up, up and up**

As mentioned in the previous post I didn’t find any place to stay in Sibiu. So I decided to drive around this town taking the Transalpina from North to South and Transfagarasan from South to North. It would be exhausting but my curiosity won. A good decision I have to admit afterwards.
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I left relatively late from Alba Iulia and just had to drive South. Until my first place where I pitched my tent it was surprisingly not very hard. I was astonished because Transalpina is the highest road in Romania. Kind of late I found a place down a dirt road into the forest. There had been some places that looked like “commercial” camping grounds where bikers and tents were standing but I preffered my natural one that also had running water from a little stream nearby.
The next day revealed the difficulty of cycling Transalpina. There were some parts that went downhill what was kind of frustrating because I knew I had to climb them again. Around noon I met a Frenchman (Benoît) who was already on the road for 2 years and also going South. But I could not cycle with him because I noticed that I had lost my jacket and wanted to hitch-hike back to look for it on the road. As I asked the owner of a restaurant to leave my bike there I was very lucky that a couple heard me asking and they offered me to drive all the way back and again to the restaurant. Well, in the end we found the jacket on our way back and about 400m before the point where we started. It was laying dirty and overrun by some cars in the dust but I was very happy.
Then the climbing began. At least every 20 minutes I stopped to eat a biscuit-chocolate-cookie and to drink half a litre water. The ascents were tiring. But was proud enough to not push my bike even one metre. Instead I just stood up.
How happy I was when I reached to top! Quickly a not-a-selfie-photo and the rests of my bread with honey. But what was that in the distance? Was the road curling downhill but then up another mountain that was even higher? Oh nooo…. So it was up, up and up again on some narrow and steep serpentine. But then I did it – no more surprises that I would happily forgo and the highest point (2145m) was passed and soon I made my way down into the valley.
The Transalpina ends in Novaci and from there I cycled through the villages again. Unfortunately it was an up and down again so I wasn’t able to finish this day with a relaxed way of cycling. At least I managed to get 2 litres of sheep milk that I used as a gift for myself to prepare my favourite dish: rice pudding. Together with homemade honey and strawberry jam it was the best dinner in a long time.
I chose a place hidden from the street and near a stream. It was a nice place and hence I decided to stay for one more night. But I ran out of bread and had to go to the nearby village. But what to do with my stuff? Pack it or hope that no-one will take it in the 90 minutes I would be away? Well of course I took alternative no 2 and naturally (at least in my opinion) everything was still at its place when I returned. Both nights I didn’t sleep in my tent because it was warm at night and just too nice to not sleep directly under the (falling) stars.
To the photos of Transalpina

On Monday (29.8) I made my way to the southern beginning of the Transfagarasan. It’s opened between late June and late October. This day I was again quite late with finding a place to stay. In the end I was allowed to camp behind a Rompetrol gas station and the priest who was living next to it brought me a bag full of ready pears and apples that were great energy supply together with the cookies. Also I could charge my phone and power bank again.
So having been fulling recharged I was ready to conquer the legendary Transfagarasan. The road was engrossing from the first moment houses were left behind. The landscape in connection with the road is literally breathtaking and road is curling in front, over and under
the driver which is just so beautiful to look at. Shortly before the pass I met a Southkorean couple that was heading to Istanbul. Before sundown I made it through the tunnel – the longest in Romania with 884m – to the other side where I was enjoying a fantastic view of the curling northern part of the road from above. Approaching clouds contributed to that fantastic view. But there were bringing the rain so fast I had to pitch my tent in it and was not able for the first time since April to cook a warm meal in the evening. But at least I was forced to take the first area to pitch my tent that seemed fitting – next to an overlook and directly at the street.
The next morning it wasn’t raining any more but the view down the valley was blocked by clouds. Therefore I made my missed dinner for breakfast, let the tent dry and read without hurry and the hope that the sky would clear off. Well it didn’t happened so through the curtain of clouds I made my way downhill. I wasn’t able to get a(ny) view of the northern part of the Transfagarasan but it was okay. I was more upset about the racing cars that were commuting fast and a bit dangerous on that part of the road. Because this part wasn’t covered with a new layer of asphalt but had some dangerously narrow notches on the surface.
After it took me one day to reach the top I arrived in the valley after 50 minutes. A honey seller recommended me to take the small but longer road towards Brasov. There was very light traffic and I enjoyed fly over the road through the countryside with 30km/h.
In the evening on the field I took out my pocket trumpet and pervaded the environment with some light tunes.
To the photos of Transfagarasan

In conclusion I have to say that the Transfagarasan was more beautiful and in my opinion also easier than Transalpina. I’m very happy that I didn’t find anyone in Sibiu otherwise I would have missed a great experience.
In addition I can recommend cycling both road as I did – Transalpina from North to South and Transfagarasan from South to North. I had the impression that it would have been even more challenging the other way around, not saying it was easy like I rode both.

Photos of Transalpina


To the text of TransfagarsanBack to the text of Transalpina

Photos of Transfagarsan


Back the text of TransfagarsanBack to the text of Transalpina

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