04 September 2012


Entering back into the European Union made me realize that I am getting close to finishing my trip.  Luckily, I do not think about it.  My thoughts have been consumed by the gorgeous scenery of all these countries.  When planning the Romanian part of the journey (I use the word "planning" very loosely) I knew the distances would be far, I had no idea that the average speed was between 50kph-60kph.

One of the many towns I crossed through in Romania...I liked the Soviet era statues on the top of the hill
An example of the windy road travelled
Crossing the border the roads slightly improved.  The landscape was like Moldova but less green.  The road winded up and over quite a few large hills.  My idea of Romania was to pass through it quickly.  When looking at the map, I saw Timisoara and it reminded me of the Romanian distributor for Sole Tech.  I contacted Mihai and decided that I would make my way there instead of Cluj-Napoca.  
Piatra Neamt - nice place to spend the night
I had to stop to take a pic - it was a very nice ride and very scenic view
The first night I did not get as far as I would have liked but that was ok.  I stayed in Pietra Neamt, a little town in the mountains above Bacau.  I pulled into the first motel I found.  It was a very comfortable place.  There was a guy there who had lived in Belgium.  When he say my plates, he started to speak in Dutch to me...the whole time.  I actually held a little conversation with the guy about very basic things...haha.  
So, the highway simply cut its way through these towns like a hot knife through butter
In the morning, I awoke to a very beautiful place.  On the road early, I quickly realized that this ride could be one of the best rides (in terms of riding area) that I have ever done.  The road wound up and down semi-large peaks (I believe the highest was 2100m).  I did quickly realize that Romania is one big city.  It seemed to me that from the border, there was town after town.  If there were 1-2km distance between towns, it was a lot - this explains the slow speed of 50kph-60kph.  The only time there were not as many towns was in the mountains. I ended up doing 592km in just over 11 hours.  It was a very long day of riding for me - easy but long and slow.
For some reason, I really like seeing Old George slaying the dragon (Timisoara)
One of the squares in town.  I liked all the knick-knacks they were selling there,
Mihai/Sasha and crew put me up for two nights in a hotel, took me out for pizza/beers, walking around the city, and to see half of a rugby match.  It was a very nice and relaxing time there.  Plus it was nice to see Mihai and Sasha outside of a work function.  I quickly realized that the work they do to promote the action sports market in Romania goes beyond just being a job.  With the fall of communism just over 20 years ago, they are rebuilding youth culture.  It is just my humble opinion, but without outlets like these to provide glimpses of alternative lifestyles independent thought would take longer to develop.  Team sports such as Soccer (football) and Rugby are big. There are too many people who feel that the country will never change or rather not change quick enough - it is just a matter of time.  The older generation is too embedded with the old ways of corruption - sad but true.  
Timisoara Rugby - the championship was on the line but they were victorious this day
From time to time I have to charge my devices.  These are my batteries for my eTrex20 GPS device
My time in Romania passed quickly but was very nice.  I definitely want to return here to ride the TransAlpina (which I was not able to do this time).  Budapest is calling and I will be meeting up with another friend, Peter, there.  

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