I woke up at the 9am and had a shower. While arranging my stuff I had a strong feeling to stay longer here. Roman’s open market tomorrow is a good reason for that. But what if I feel the same for every place we are going to visit from now on Sighisoara’s castle name is Citate and it is small enough to wander and see the basics in three hours.
So immediately after breakfast we started by Vlad Dracu’s house, father of Vlad Tepes. Vlad Dracu lived in Sighisoara until his son reached the age of 4. There are no reliable historical references that Vlad Tepes, his son, was indeed born here, but that is a logical assumption. His name Dracu which means Dragon, was a title of honor he gained as leader to an army against Turkish invaders. His emblem was also a dragon. In fact it stands outside his house that is used as a hotel and restaurant nowadays. When Vlad Tepes was born took his name after the father. Vlad Draculea means son of Vlad Dracu. Later on Draculea became Dracula. Dracula is known to the rest of the world due to the novel and the countless movies and it is the greatest attraction for Romania. Thus, this figure of grate historical importance, at least for Romania, is now used diversely for benefit.
Our next stop is at “Turul cu Ceas”, the tower with the clock. This tower is the most famous and well preserved defensive tower of the city. Its 600 years old and houses the historical museum. The exhibits vary from copper age to mediaeval. The first floor is dedicated to the well known astrophysicist that was born here. We entered the museum (5Ron the ticket price) and went to the roof. The view of the city was impressive! Signs around the small balcony show direction and distances of other big cities of Europe. We found the one for Athens… 915km! We were also impressed by the clock. It is roughly 400 years old. It functions regularly and visitors can observe mechanism.
Luckily we were present when the hour was changing from 12 to 13 and we watched the coordinated movement of pulleys, cogwheels and counterpoises. Really impressive! 3 wooden statues, forms from the Greek ancient history represent the seasons of the year while the each day is symbolized by a different puppet. Their movement is also coordinated depending on time. Down the tower you can visit the Museum of Tortures (3Ron is the ticket price). There you can see several ways of torturing. Very interesting place for masochists!
Finally we climbed the slype, with the 173 steps, to the German church, the cemetery and the primary school up to the hill. Sighisoara has a group of young people with rich cultural activity. Coincidentally they accommodate in hostel. In fact we met 3 of the members in the terrace of the hostel when they came to introduce their selves, dressed in medieval suits and playing drums and trumpet. They wished a pleasant stay and informed us about the events of August. It was like a scene of an epic medieval movie! Later on we saw them announcing the program in various points of Citate.
At last we made up our minds and around 3pm we passed through the gate of Citate with direction Targu Mures. We rode on the national road network E60 for 34km to the village Balauseri. There we turned right for Sovata. Provincial road (1A) up to Sovata is a new asphalt roadway the last 2 years. Our journey was pleasant and comfortable and we met many motorcyclists on the way. We also had the chance to talk to some when we stopped at a petrol station. It was their usual weekend open meeting, in a different place every time, all over Romania. This weekend the appointment was set for the nearby town Gheorgeni while the previous one was in Brasov. In this way they get the chance to know each other and the country. Motorcycling is developing in Romania over the last 3-4 years people show a great passion for the two-wheeled locomotion. You can feel deep solidarity among them. They are always greeting you, both inside and outside the city and help in need. Bravo!
Before we left the petrol station we got some interesting information from the Romanian motorcyclists about the road we intended take in order to visit the red lake (Lacul Rosu). Just after Sovata we turned to Praid and then right for Gheorgheni. The provincial road 13V for the next 52km was amazing!!! Among the best I have ever ridden! The unique Alpine landscape and the road condition made our ride so enjoyable! A few kilometres before Gheorgheni the paving is getting a little bit bad and after the city, following the signs for the Red Lake is getting worse and worst. Never mind. At least the mountainous landscape is paying us back.
The red lake took its name after its colour. It gives the impression that water is mixed up with red soil while dead trunk trees don’t float but break vertically the surface. This is a mystery!
What is coming next is still impressive. The neck of Hell, Gatul Iadului, is a 5km way that passes between rocks of 300 metre height! We felt trepidation passing trough the narrow gorge! Both red lake and the neck of hell are tourist trap that is why we decided to look for accommodation near Lacul Izvorul, our final stop. Be careful with the fuels. There are no petrol stations between Sovata and Bicaz. After Bicaz we followed the labelling for Vatra Dornei.
Not long ahead we arrived at the dam of Lake Izvorul Muntelui. Moving along the shore of the lake we passed through the villages Potoci and Buhalnita, searching for accommodation. With not much effort we found the likeable Pensiunea Rogin. To reach the place we probably needed enduro but, since the distance was not more than 100m, we made it! It belonged to a family and this was totally obvious! Everything was homemade.
Pensions (Pensiune) in Romania provide either cheap room in big houses of province, or spaces that allocate wooden lodges (as in Finland). Most of them provide homemade food and parking too. It was the most convenient type of accommodation for us. This particular Pensiune is named Pensiune Rogin and is allocated near the lake. It is actually a group of small wooden houses with common bathrooms but it provides also apartments in a bigger wooden building. The availability at that moment was only 2 little wooden bedrooms to 45lei per person.
The food we were served was plenty and good... Basically we ate what the householder had cooked for the family, since the situation in those pensions is somehow familiar. The householder asked me how I could speak Romanian so fluently. When I explained my self I was told that their daughter is finishing her studies in Medicine at Iasi. Just before going to bed it rained again…