Transylvania: The Bicaz Gorge

We took off early in the morning towards Bicaz Gorge. It was still foggy in the mountains…

but no-one complained despite the previous night’s foolish behaviour in the beer garden…this ride had my adrenalin pumping so I could not sleep past 6am anyway…

Once we left the town of Udvarhely,

we rode through a few villages,

where storks nests such as this were common. It was amazing to see wildlife and civilisation entwined…

The stork is a migratory bird and every year they travel to Africa during winter but they return to their nests year after year.

As we left the villages behind, the surroundings turned green…

As we passed the peasants horses and carts it was like going back in time. That’s unless we saw them use their mobile phones which was a strange sight…This visual’s just not getting old…

As we got closer to the Gorge, and we got higher into the mountains, the landscape became more dramatic…and beautiful

before we got to the Bicaz Gorge we stopped by for a break at the Red Lake (Translated from Romanian, in Hungarian its the Killer Lake, it must be a Transylvanian thing…)

That lake and rowing boats looked too inviting for us not to try them out…

but all fun must come to an end and our gruelling task of riding to the Bicaz Gorge had to continue…it wasn’t too far…

And this is what greeted us:

This is what it looks like from the top:

Nice!

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Which bike for me on the Tour of Transylvania?

Wow! The number of enquiries that I have received on the Summer 2012 Transylvanian tour has been overwhelming! I have tried answering each individually but one of the most asked questions is: Which bike is best for me on the tour?

So I will try to put my 2 cents’ worth here and hope to confuse you even more, since this is really a subjective topic…After all it also depends on the type of rider you are, size, weight, are you the cruiser type or sport bike nut, etc etc…

Personally, I found the:

a bit of an overkill…yes, there is such thing…especially when smaller bikes are going quicker in tighter corners… Whilst she hauls arse like no other (220km+ in 3rd gear), I rarely had the opportunity to open the throttle to the stops.

What’s more, in certain places, such as 1st or 2nd gear corners she did not have the agility of the:

Kawasaki Z750

as their wide bars allow for quicker and easier flicking into the tight corners…

And course if you are approaching this…

a super-moto, like this KTM here…

is a motorcycling wet dream come true…

That said, when I rode this bike, at certain revs it vibrated so much I could not read the sign on the back of a truck I caught up to…(true story!)

So, instead I’d recommend small upright bike, such as:

Yamaha MT03

But if you are a cruizy kind of person with the occasional “gimme some more speed now!” kind of person…then select one of these babies…

That said, if you really must have a sports bike…

I say go for it man!!! Since the fun factor is still maaaaasive! and of course you can also pull out some tree stumps along the way with them just for fun…However in my opinion its like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer…not that it’s necessarily  a bad thing…

That said if you are 200cm or taller on a small bike you’d just look wrong…

So there, I hope I confused you a bit more and helped you towards more sleepless nights thinking about this crucial topic…

Bottom line, pick the bike that is most suited for you and when you book let me know which bike you want so I can make sure it is available for you!

Churches in Transylvania

There is a village in the depths of Transylvania, called Gelence (pronounced Ghelentze…now say that 10 times…).

It doesn’t look much different from any other Transylvanian villages. Remote from western civilisation, surrounded by mountains and dense forrest, no public transport, only 4-5000 people etc…In fact it it wasn’t for the single petrol station you’d think you have gone back in time.

Since I was in Transylvania on my motorbike, I just had to visit this place…

My aim was to check out this fortified church…

which does not look anything special…except that it is.  And, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate its historic significance:

  • originally built in 13th century…(yes, 1200 something)
  • it is on the top 100 list of the World Monuments Fund (check it out in Wikipedia), along with well known places like the Taj Mahal (that’s the one in India not the Trump Taj in Atlantic City…)
  • UNESCO world heritage site

There are no buildings this old in Australia, so I had to look inside. It’s hard to imagine that anything that is built today would last over 800 years…

The frescos, with meticulous attention to detail, tell a story of a king that ruled the area in around 1080 A.D. If you want to know more abut this place, click here.

Once I had enough appreciation of the local history and religion, it was time to appreciate local geography…did I mention this place is surrounded by hills right? LET’S RIDE!

as the sun started to go down I turned up to one of my favourite restaurants for a bite…

I knew the food was great here from previous trips so I grabbed a menu…It is so thoughtful that they translate each meal in numerous languages for the tourists…including english of course…It’s pity though (and extremely funny!) that some things get lost in translation…case in point:

…since I speak Hungarian (after all I used to live here some 25 years ago) I knew exactly what that dish was. I can assure you no person got hurt during the making…Nevertheless it was all too easy to imagine some poor shepherd in the hills with a voice a few octaves higher…and the sheep around him with a sigh of relief…

Speaking of sheep…the lamb cutlets are awesome at this place! Till next time!