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Voineasa - Poenari fortress- Vidraru lake - Transfagasan Road - Balea lac

Trip Details

Road Trip 2011 I
Date: Mon, 22/08/2011
Romania
Distance: 200km.
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Sakis, Giorgos Z., Stratos
Photographers: Manolis, Giorgos Z., Stratos
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Sakis
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

I woke up at 7am. While we slept quite early, I felt that I was lacking of sleep. We went down for breakfast. At 10am we decided to depart. But our luck was full of surprises ...

For 2-3 days the bike of Giorgos Z. had a problem with the battery. Sometimes to get started, either we put it a little downhill, or we push it. Unfortunately this time it did not made us a favor. We needed to give it electrical power from another bike. The problem was that we did not have cables. In vain we asked some people on the street. Nobody had. So I went back to the hotel for help. I was sent to a gas station and a mechanic. I went first to the gas station, but it did not have. So I went to the second option.

There I met the classic Romanian garage: "The joy of the patent," as at tools, and the repairs! Suffice it to say that to make a repair at the bottom of a car they had turned it sideways(!!!), instead of the lift on a ramp... but where to find a ramp?! Luxuries! Anyway, I went to ask for cables... he didn’t give me any matter and when I spoke him he refused to answer me! I got to laugh! I spoke to him in Romanian and finally I realized -as he mentioned - that the previous evening he had gone to a wedding, probably he had been drunk, and now he didn’t know where he was! Eventually the man served me and I went with cables in the guys. Everything went well. The bike worked and I returned the cables before leaving.

The road after Voineasa continued to be impressive, despite the condition of the road until the village Brezoi, which effectively signaled the end. There we refueled our bikes and we got a set of cables just in case. Following the direction to Ramnicu Valcea, we drove in a nice tour beside the river. Due to an error in the village Calimanesti we got the right direction and we could not save a few kilometers-through a country road-to Curtea de Arges. This did not bother us as this day we did not have many kilometers to drive and we were comfortable.

After Ramnicu Valcea (which we did not pass through the center of the town to avoid delays), we found the node for Curtea de Arges (40 km), and continued in a very beautiful area with lush vegetation and some small villages. The temperature was high and rather sultry, as the weather stations predicted the day before. In the city of Curtea de Arges we made a stop for refueling of bikes as it would not be any gas station for the next 120km.- and we got some food for the evening, as we would camp in Balea Lac, at the highest point of the «Transfagarasan».

The road 67, is the one who crosses the Fagaras mountains, and for this reason it was named «Transfagarasan». Apart from this, is, perhaps, the most famous road in Romania because of the natural landscape and the beautiful route. Unfortunately, it has points until now with rough road surface, although it has considerably improved the situation in recent years. It was made by the Romanian army during the years of communism and especially the time of Causescu.

Nikolae Causescu gave the order to the army to build this road as a preparedness exercise, but, above all, he feared a possible enemy attack. He wished to have the opportunity of vertical access of the mountains Fagaras. It is also said that constructing it,  he wanted to subdue the natural weather phenomena... The result was the use of several tons of dynamite, but also the death of soldiers that worked to construct it.

Another important attraction is the authentic castle of Vlad Tepes, the «Cetatea Poenari», located a few kilometers before the dam of Lake Vidraru. To fort is perched at the top of a cliff, which to approache it you need to climb 1500 stairs! The last time I was in the area, I had not visited it, but I promised myself that I would do it sometime. Arriving thus i was not even asked myself whether I would go, like George Z that wanted it too. Eventually we decided to try together. We changed clothes and we took the long way or to be more precise steps up there.

Perhaps it has been some time I had try something like that. However as I was climbing, sometime I felt that I could not cope! The good news is that the whole path was in the shade of large trees and we did not suffer from the heat. Sometime, when I arrived last,  the guys were waiting there. We paid a ticket 5RON/per person and we continued to the last steps before the little gate of the fortress.

At its entrance they have placed a gallow, a wood nailed with an ax and 2 dolls impaled as Vlad Tepes impaled his enemies. It is said that the castle was built by Turkish prisoners. Others report that it was constructed by the inhabitants of the neighboring town of Tirgoviste as punishment, as they had killed the little brother and the father of Vlad Tepes. Indeed, the legend says that on Easter Sunday, he gathered all the people-especially young people- of the city and after he convey them at the area of the modern fortress, he forced them to work for its construction until they melt their clothes!

Its size is not large. However going up, easily you realize the strategic importance of its position. From there you can control over the gorge and you got the view of many kilometers away. Moreover, the difficulty of its approach, it made it impregnable by its enemies... but it failed with an invincible enemy, the time.

The descent was more comfortable and before leaving we decided to make a stop for coffee at the adjoining restaurant. Shortly after the fort, we encountered the dam of Lake Vidraru. We stop to take some photos. Impression made us the metal statue of a man holding 2 lightings. Obviously it was inspired by the hydroelectric station dam.

Having already been in «Transfagarasan», initially we drove around the lake, for about 20km. the road was in bad condition. Everywhere there were holes, as if it was bombed! We needed to do maneuvers to avoid it, without we always manage it. This resulted, not being able to enjoy the scenery... A pleasant surprise was when we came across a waterfall making a short stop.

After this ugly part the situation has improved. The trail, after about 20km., stopped to be lakeside and it began to climb the mountains, climbing hypsometrically. Passing through dense trees, slowly - slowly approached the alpine zone, where there were no trees, only green grass. Many things had changed since the last time I visited the region: more tourist accommodation and more tourist development. And here we met many free campers who ascend as elevation diminished.

Approximately 20km. before the passage, the route was tortuous with horseshoe bends and spectacular scenery. At 8pm. we reach the tunnel that marks the passage to the north side of the mountains Fagaras. At the tunnel was placed light and they had reconstructed the pavement and the walls. Today the picture had no relation to that of the past that looked more like a cave.

Once we crossed the tunnel, we found the plateau that is the Balea Lac, the small pond created by water from melting ice. The scenery was spectacular! In the area there were plenty of vendors selling mostly traditional meats, salamis, cheeses, fruits and some vegetables. Beyond that, we saw small grills. We did not know and we had took some food supplies.

In the area there are 2 parking which you pay a small equivalents to park. In the small "plateau" created on the west side of the space available as camping (15RON/tent). Of course, there are no toilets or other facilities, apart from some who collect the garbage.

It was getting dark when we started erecting the tents. The cold had begun to make its presence. We wear as many clothes we have. When we finished, we sat at a wooden table that was next to the tents to eat the supplies in the light of our lenses. Beneath the starry sky, we chatted while enjoying the beautiful moments. Eventually Marcel phoned me to tell us not to depart before 11am. the next day. They had planned to come to ride together a small trip before we end up to Brasov.

The guys went to bed and I sat down to write the diary... Despite the cold weather it was amazing. You feel so high... Slowly – slowly that all went to their tents and the lights that stayed open were little, everything was lit by the stars... the feeling was unique... It was a night different from all the others. An night worth living...