Joined February 2019
  • Day68

    Bees and lakes

    Today in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    After some complications regarding the navigation yesterday, today was easy: At our campsite, we took the valley road and followed it until the end where we found another campsite.
    On the way, we passed two nice lakes and countless bee trucks parked next to the road. We also had to climb from 300m to 1600m before descending to our sleeping altitude of about 1300m. As camping was really cheap, we decided to spend the money in a restaurant instead of cooking ourselves. Unfortunately, dishes feel very small after an exhausting day on the bikes, so we had to get more food from a nearby food stall.
    Before going to bed, we chilled out at the river next to our campspot and did some much needed stretching.
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  • Day67

    The bear foot trail

    Yesterday in Romania ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    When we woke up today, we decided to have breakfast at the next minimarket as it was really windy and cold at the campground and there was no corner to hide from the wind. At the market, we had a coffee and wanted to eat our bread, but it was moldy. The market didn't have bread, so we had to continue to the next one. Here, we were lucky as the bread delivery van had just arrived.
    Afterwards, we took a trail through the forest. On the map, it looked like a hiking trail, but we don't mind a bit of pushing and definitely prefer 8km on a quiet forest trail compared to 40km on the busy main road. The first part of the trail was ok. We had to push a couple of steep sections, but could cycle most of it. We had to pass a pasture through a gate, but like in the Alps, this is not a big deal. When we met the cowherd, he explained to us how to get to the village on the other side of the hill. But as he spoke Romanian, we didn't understand much and trusted on our GPS.
    Then, the "fun" part started. Our GPS showed a trail, that didn't exist in reality. We followed some traces that looked like a trail, but didn't exist on the map. We also just pushed and cycled between the trees to kind of match the GPS trail. At some stage, we arrived at a path we could cycle for 1 or 2km, so that's what we did. But it got worse and worse with more and more sections to push or even carry the bikes. We saw lots of signs for bears like footprints and bear poo, but no sign of civilisation. The trail ended at a meadow with a deserted hut and really high grass. We looked for a way out, but no chance. So we had to go back the terrible way we came. Once back at a known intersection, we tried a different turn. This time, we were more lucky. Not a good trail, but after some more pushing and carrying the bikes we got back on our trail in civilisation. Instead of 8km, we spent 20km in the forest and about 4 hours! We were totally exhausted and hungry.
    However, even though there were houses, we couldn't find a store to buy food. So we continued on our route. We had to climb 250m on gravel first, but were then rewarded by a really long downhill through some remote villages and a beautiful valley. Afterwards, we had a 10km section on a main road. The scenery was spectacular, but the road was way to busy to be able to enjoy it. When we could finally turn onto a smaller road, we were happy to find a supermarket where we had our "lunch" at 4pm. As we were tired, we started looking for a place to stay for the night and found a camping sign just at the end of the village. It was actually a festival ground on the weekend, but the manager let us camp there and use the facilities.
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  • Day66

    The legendary Transfăgărășan

    August 3 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Our strategy to leave early to avoid the traffic worked out nicely! At 5:45am, we were on the road and for the first 2 hours, we saw almost no car. It was still cold though, but as we had to climb continuously, we got warm soon. After half of the climb, we stopped for a coffee and our second breakfast before cycling the most interesting and mountainous part of the famous Transfăgărășan: 15 turns of 180 degrees winding up to an elevation of 2000m. As we started at about 500m, we had an elevation gain of 1500m which we managed in under 4 hours, mainly with strong headwinds.
    It was really cold at the top and very touristy, too. By now, the car drivers had woken up as well, so we had to share the place with quite some people when we had our third breakfast at the lake.
    Our plan was to stay at a hostel and go hiking tomorrow. However, when we ask for a room, they told us they were closed because of current "conditions". That's actually the first time on this trip, that we are affected by the Corona measures.
    We could have stayed at a hotel or one of the campspots further down, but as it was too touristy and as we are spoilt by hiking options in the Alps, we decided to descend. The 30km downhill was very scenic and we enjoyed it a lot. The only downside was the rising amount of cars, but at least the vast majority was still coming uphill at this time.
    We arrived at a lake where we could turn into a nice and quiet dirt road. Good to be away from the traffic again! The lake ends with an enormous dam, looking down was impressive. From here, we only had to cycle another 5km in order to get to a campground. Not that nice, but it had a (cold) shower and an electric fence to keep the bears outside.
    We also passed some milestones. Since starting our trip in September last year, we've cycled 20.000km and climbed 200km 💪
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  • Day65

    Energy gaining day

    August 2 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Tomorrow, we want to cycle the famous Transfaragasan to cross the mountains. That's why we had another quiet day today. After only 35km, we found a campground at the foot of the mountains, pitched our tent and took it easy to gain some energy for the big climb. We did our laundry, cooked some food and prepared breakfast and lunch for tomorrow already. In order to fill up gas for our stove, we had to go to a petrol station that was at the start of the Transfaragasan. It was extremely busy and it was no fun cycling, so we decided to have a very early start to beat the traffic and don't loose time with food preparations before hitting the road.
    All day, we could see the mountains and we are really looking forward to the views. Crossing fingers the weather is stable 🤞
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  • Day64

    Chill out

    August 1 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    In the morning, we were very motivated to go and visit Sibiu. So instead of a planned rest day, we left Andreas' house and headed towards the city. However, the wind wasn't in our favour and our legs felt tired. So after 35km, we changed plans and looked for a place to stay. We found a farm some 12km away where you could also camp. So that's where we went and spent the day resting.Read more

  • Day63

    40 km trail heavily loaded

    July 31 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Time for some bike fun! Radu had recommended to take a mountain bike trail from Viscri to Sigishoara. And as there were some exit options, we decided to try what our bikes are capable of. The trail was absolutely wonderful! Even with our fully loaded bikes, we very much enjoyed riding the narrow trail through the forest and passed meadows. So we ignored all of the exit options and rode all the 40km until we got back to civilisation and arrived in Sigishoara.
    The city has a picturesque historic center with its famous clock tower. Houses are colorful and well maintained and you can do a lot of exploring by wandering along the small streets. There's also a restaurant in a house where Lord Dracula live for some years, but it's quite pricey. We are lucky we got to this place in Corona times as we can only imagine how packed with tourists it is in a normal year.
    After having spent the afternoon in Sigishoara, we continued to Saez where we could stay with Andreas. We spent the evening with him and a couple of his neighbors listening to some stories about communist times, fishing, the flight to West Germany and the relationship between Romanians and Germans.
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  • Day62

    Transilvanian village tour

    July 30 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    It was going to be hot again today, so we wanted to be on the road early. Unfortunately, we didn't plan with the guesthouse owners. They had closed and locked the electric gate and were deep asleep when we wanted to leave. So we had our breakfast at the hotel instead of later on the road. When they weren't awake by 7:30am yet, we knocked on the door and woke them up.
    We had to cycle on a busy road for the first 25km. Although the landscape was nice, it wasn't much fun with all the cars. In the next town, we stopped for a coffee before finally being able to cycle on backroads again. We came across many Transilvanian villages with fortified churches again. The architecture in these villages is unique and houses look very similar to each other. Every now and then, some Sowjet style building makes the appearance of the village a bit "different".
    In Rupea, we had a longer stop in the shade of the park and cooked some lunch. Afterwards, we visited the citadel before continuing to Viscri. Here, we luckily found a water source to wash of our sweat. Viscri is UNESCO World Heritage site because of the traditional village structure and its fortified church.
    When the sun started to set, we took off to find a campspot for the night. And the whole washing process was useless... We went on a mountainbike trail and had to climb a little in the forest. It didn't take long and we were all wet again. Only 2km into the trail, we found a beautiful meadow to camp. Luckily, we carried enough water to have a full body wash. We get pretty good at it, 350ml per person are sufficient 😊
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  • Day61

    Fortified churches

    July 29 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Radu recommended us to cycle some secondary roads in Transylvania to visit some remote villages and see some of the fortified churches that are famous in this region. So instead of South we headed North from Brasov.
    After we got out of the city, the roads became quiet and we had a day of easy and nice cycling, passing remote villages and fortified churches as predicted. In the end, we had to climb a bit, but nothing too serious. We wanted to do some backyard camping, but the guesthouse that offered it didn't provide shared showers which wasn't an option today 😉 So we took a room, did some laundry and cooked some rice for dinner.
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  • Day60

    Lord Dracula

    July 28 in Romania ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Today, we headed to the city of Brasov. The first part of the route was nice, a very scenic route along a lake. In the morning, there was only few traffic, so we enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately, it got busier and less interesting, the closer we got to the city.
    In Brasov, we could leave our luggage at Radu's and Mihaela's, our hosts for the night. We wanted to see the famous "Dracula Castle" in Bran. In order to get there, Radu recommended to take a shuttle bus to the local ski resort, enjoy a scenic downhill and then follow the main road to the castle. So that's what we did.
    The castle looked pretty cool from the outside. But there were definitely too many tourists from our point of view. So we didn't go inside and just took a couple of photos from the outside before heading back to Brasov on the terribly busy main road.
    Back at our hosts, Radu cooked a yummy risotto for dinner. Afterwards, he gave us a tour through the beautiful historic centre and took us to the best icecream place. Brasov is a really cool town: old buildings, lots of cafés and restaurants, many people on the roads and especially because it's right next to the mountains!
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  • Day59

    Push bike roads

    July 27 in Romania ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Finally, we had some proper mountain roads ahead of us. We started at 7am, when everyone else on the campground was still asleep. The idea was to have breakfast in one of the minimarkets again. But today, this turned out to be more difficult. As we went on really remote roads, we found the first decent shop only after 27km. Not a problem on flat roads, but today's route started with a lot of up-and-down-riding, loose gravel and a 350m elevation gain. So we were already quite exhausted when having breakfast.
    Afterwards, we faced another climb of about 650m. On the last 350m, the elevation gain was over 15% continuously which is crazy on our fully loaded bikes on this distance. We actually pushed the bikes for the last bit in order to give our upper legs a break and use some other muscles instead.
    The landscape, however, was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed the views. Plus, there were very few cars on the street and we came to remote villages where the locals still live in wooden houses and where kids were bathing in the river.
    After the climb, we had a technically challenging but fun downhill to a valley and cycled on a paved road along a river for a few kilometres. And as we are in the mountains again, a thunderstorm was coming, so we decided to stay in a little guesthouse. We had to hide from the owner, as she was nice but definitely overcaring...
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