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gibonu

Cycling through southern Transylvania

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Hi,

A few words and some pictures about a cycling trip I did last summer.

The short tour was in the area of the imaginary triangle: Medias – Blaj – Tarnaveni.

Also, the tour fallowed, more or less, the two rivers of the area, both name Tarnava.

The southern one, in called Tarnava Mare (Big Tarnava).

More about this river: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A2rnava_Mare_River

The northern one is called Tarnava Mica (Little Tarnava).

More about this river: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A2rnava_Mic%C4%83_River

Starting point: Medias.

Small town, in Sibiu county.

Not so known and glamorous as Sighisoara, but still an interesting place.

An especially a quiet one, not crowded, untouched yet by mass-tourism.

And where German is widely spoken.

More about Medias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media%C8%99

More about German speakers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transylvanian_Saxons

Accommodation in Medias: http://www.pensiune-medias.ro/ (only in Romanian and Germnan).

Located in the old city, close to the center.

Breakfast included in room price and also they have a good restaurant.

More accommodation options from Medias: http://www.mediasturism.ro/servicii/cazare (only in Romanian).

A few words about the roads in Romania (except highways)

DN = Main road (Drum national in Romanian), managed by the Ministry of Transportation.

DJ = County road (Drum judetean in Romanian), managed by the County Councils.

DC = Communal Road (Drum comunal in Romanian), managed by the Local Councils.

Day 1.

Medias – Copsa Mica – Blaj (62 km).

Medias – Copsa Mica, 13 km on DN 14.

Good tarmac and the road is not very crowded with vehicles.

Towards Copsa Mica.

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Copsa Mica (city limit).

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The sign in the back of the picture is written in Romania, Hungarian and German.

Quite soon after entering the city, on the left, there is a road (DJ 142G) towards the village Valea Viilor.

There is also a road sign at the crossroad.

There are a few km between Copsa Mica and the village Valea Viilor, the tarmac is good and the traffic in almost none.

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Entering the village Valea Viilor.

Wurmloch is the German name of the village.

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On the middle sign is written: “Locality with monuments registered in UNESCO Heritage

The monument of the village is the fortified church.

One o the seven fortified churches (from Transylvania) enlisted in UNESCO Heritage.

More about those churches: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/596

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Day 1.

Medias – Copsa Mica – Blaj (62 km).

Part II.

The fortified church, right in the middle of the village, impossible to miss.

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More about the village: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valea_Viilor

More about fortified church: http://www.fortified-churches.com/locations/valea_viilor___wurmloch/19/

Through the courtyard of the church.

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Inside the church.

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German (saxon) prayer book.

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Heating device.

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Day 1 – Part III

Medias – Copsa Mica – Blaj (62 km).

Inside the clock tower of the church.

The clock mechanism (unfortunately not working).

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Inside view of the tower roof.

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One of the bells, made in 1869.

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Views from the tower.

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Back to Copsa Mica, on the same road (DJ 142G).

In recent past, Copsa Mica was one of the most polluted towns of Europe.

More about Copsa Mica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cop%C5%9Fa_Mic%C4%83

Fortunately, now the non eco-friendly factories are closed and Copsa-Mica in an ordinary little town.

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Day 1 – Part IV

Medias – Copsa Mica – Blaj (62 km).

Copsa Mica – Blaj, 35 km, on DN 14B.

Also good tarmac and the road is not very crowded with vehicles.

Not the credit card.

Just the name of a creek.

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Sunflower.

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And gentle hills.

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Tarnava Mare river.

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Entering Alba county (Judetul Alba, in Romanian)

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Quite strange to see a wine’s route, through fields of corn.

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More gentle hills.

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Day 1 – Part V

Medias – Copsa Mica – Blaj (62 km).

Blaj.

Important city in Romanian history.

Here, in 1848, on a field near the city, were held two national gatherings of the Romanians from the Hapsburg Transylvania.

Also, in 1848, Blaj was the only city from Transylvania with a Romanian majority.

More about Blaj: http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaj

Now, that field is called “Field of Freedom” and the monument from here is called “The Glory”.

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Those three statues from the base of the monument represents Transylavania, Moldova and Wallachia (the last two were under Turkish rule in 1848).

These were the regions inhabited by Romanians.

On the base of the monument, beside other thing, it is written “We want Union with the country” (Vrem sa ne unim cu Tara, in Romanian).

Finally, in 1918, soon after the end of the First World War, Transylvania was united with Moldova and Wallachia.

Near the monument, on both sides, there are over twenty statues of important people from Romanian history.

Alexandru Ioan Cuza. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandru_Ioan_Cuza)

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Avram Iancu. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avram_Iancu)

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Nicoale Balcescu. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_B%C4%83lcescu)

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Last, but not least (only a picture) Stefan Ludwig Roth. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephan_Ludwig_Roth)

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Near the center of the city, the Capitoline wolf (a symbol of Romanian’s Latin heritage).

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Beside the statue, as seen in the picture is the Hotel Tarnvalele.

We didn’t check-in here, because we have a booking somewhere else.

Anyway, this hotel is in the very center of the city.

We check-in on a bed and breakfast close to the exit of the city (http://manpresident.ro/ only in Romanian).

The location of the place is not so great, but the rooms are very spacious (even the bath) and the breakfast is good.

Anyway, now I would chose the Hotel Tarnvalele.

Another thing: in Blaj, at ten o’clock in the evening all the pubs are closed.

Or so we been told.

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Nice trip, nice photos and comments! It was a pleasure to read you! thanks!

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Nice presentation @};- ; for me something like "back in time" or / and "back to the roots".

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You didn't stay over night at Hotel Tarnavele but I did. :) I got off my bike and hopped directly in the bed. Well, I was already sleeping in the elevator so it doesn't count that much.

It had been raining cats and dogs all day and we had made some really bad choices (we had ridden through the forests and we had sticky mud and damn heavy bikes as a desert). When we arrived in the town, we were beat. We didn't even try to find a host or set our tent...we wanted a nice hot bath and a warm bed to sleep on. Heck, I personally didn't make it to the bath. :))

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@ Frank

Thanks.

Glad that I took you "back to the roots"

@ vera

Please, can you tell us a few word about accomodation in Hotel Tarnavele.

We dind’t stay there because some guys from a travel agency in Cluj told us that accomodation in this hotel is not such a good choice.

Thanks.

Day 2 – Part I

Blaj – Jidvei – Cetate de Balta – Tarnaveni (49 km)

The statue of Avram Iancu park, located in the park with the same name, near the center of Blaj.

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In the same park, near the statue is Avram Iancu’s oak.

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In the last picture is written: “Avram Iancu’s oak. Monument of nature. Over 600 years old”.

Beside Iancu’s oak, there are other younger oaks in the park.

And the shadow provided is more than welcome in a hot summer morning.

In the ideea of the Romanians National Gatherings from 1848.

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From a more recent past.

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In the last picture is written: “In the memory of the former political convicts who died fighting against communism and of those who died in communist prisons. Let’s prey for them. Blaj 10.05.2004

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As far as I knew, it was (and probably still is) a one-star hotel, so there wasn't much to expect. The room was rather dusty and I preferred not to use the pillow. However, the bathroom was ok. I think spending one night there is tolerable.

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@ vera

OK.

Good to know.

Thanks.

Day 2 – Part II

Blaj – Jidvei – Cetate de Balta – Tarnaveni (49 km)

Blaj is also the center of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (or Romanian Church United with Rome).

More about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_Church_United_with_Rome,_Greek-Catholic

The Holy Trinity Cathedral, in the central square of Blaj.

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Inside the cathedral.

The altar.

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The dome.

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The pulpit.

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Picture of the Pope from Rome.

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The tomb of bishop Ioan Inocentiu Micu Klein.

An important figure of Greek-Catholic Church and also of Romanian history.

He was sent into exile in Rome, where he also died.

Almost 200 years after his death, he was re-buried in Blaj, according to his wish.

More about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inocen%C5%A3iu_Micu-Klein

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The tomb of Cardinal Alexandru Todea.

He was an important figure of the Greek-Catholic Church during the communism regime, when this church was a abolished.

He was also a political convict.

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Near the cathedral in the Greek-Catholic Theological University.

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Thank you very much Gibonu for this wonderful presentation. You touched a deep chord in my soul especially with the pictures from Blaj. I went through many eventful and happy moments once upon a time in my youth when I was a student. I will promote this topic to my friends from the Western Europe. Truelly, Transylvania is a land of choice!

God bless this country!

Regards,

Claudiu

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I will promote this topic to my friends from the Western Europe.

Good luck "fellolw" =D>

Truelly, Transylvania is a land of choice! God bless this country! Regards, Claudiu

I agree with you from the bottom of my heart @};-

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@ Claudiu Moga

My pleasure and thanks.

Day 2 – Part III

Blaj – Jidvei – Cetate de Balta – Tarnaveni (49 km)

Just outside Blaj, towards Jidvei (on DJ 107), there is a hill, called Vineyard’s Hill (Dealul Viilor in Romanian).

Avram Iancu’ Cross, on the hill top.

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Seen from above.

Blaj

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and the Field of Freedom.

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At the bottom of the hill, near the road, there is Eminescu’s linden tree (Teiul lui Eminescu, in Romanian.

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Mihai Eminescu is the greatest Romanian poet.

More about him: http://en.wikipedia..../Mihai_Eminescu

An interesting fact about Eminescu is that his face is now on the 500 lei banknote (the biggest banknote of the Romanian Leu).

And the monument near the linden tree.

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In the last picture is written: “Little Rome, I greet you from my heart. Thank you God because you helped me see it”.

It is said that Eminescu wanted hardly to see Blaj.

An when he finally reached that place (where now are the linden tree and the monument) and saw the city from above, he said what is written on the monument.

Blaj also known as “Little Rome”, because it was the Romanian’s cultural center from Hapsburg Transylvania.

Also important to mention is that in Blaj, most of the important buildings or monuments have explanations in four languages (Romanian, German, French and English).

Leaving Blaj, on DJ 107, towards Jidvei.

On the road.

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In the center of the red circle, with bigger letters it is written “Have a nice trip

On the side of the red circle, with smaller letters it is written: “Road managed by Alba County Council

And indeed, the tarmac is excellent.

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Stork nest.

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Day 2 – Part IV

Blaj – Jidvei – Cetate de Balta – Tarnaveni (49 km)

Jidvei.

Here is located one of the most important Romanian vineyard (including the winemaking factory).

The strange thing is that in the area is full of corn fields, instead of grape vine.

Maybe, at Jidvei, they are making wine form the corn.

A road sign, pointing the direction to the wine factory.

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And the wine factory itself.

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Near the wine factory there is some young grape vine.

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Before entering in Jidvei village, on the left side of the road (direction Tarnaveni) is a big house.

Here, as I found out, in the near future it will be a museum of wine and grape vine.

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A picture form Jidvei village.

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More about Jidvei: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jidvei

Burning fields.

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Towards Cetatea de Balta.

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Bethlen – Haller Castele form Cetatea de Balta.

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Now it is private property, and there is no chance of visiting.

As far as I know, there are restoration works in progress at the castle.

After those works will be finish, it will be possible to visit the castle.

More about the castle (only in Romanian): http://www.monumenteuitate.ro/r/2/

Towards Tarnaveni.

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Day 2 – Part V

Blaj – Jidvei – Cetate de Balta – Tarnaveni (49 km)

Entering Mures county.

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Some more gentle hills.

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Industrial ruins near Tarnaveni city entrance (coming from Cetatea de Balta, on DJ 107).

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As far as I know, this was a factory of calcium carbide.

On the other side of the road, opposite the industrial ruins, there is a gypsy neighborhood.

Not a very pleasant view, because it’s a poor neighborhood, with dilapidated houses.

The road runs a few km through the gypsy area, but the people seemed peaceful.

Anyway, I saw there at least two Police cars.

That evening, we had the best accommodation of the tour.

A few km outside Tarnaveni, on a hill top (towards Iernut, on DN 14A), there is Stejaru Pension.

Stejaru means oak.

The website: http://www.stejaru.ro/en/index.htm

By the outside, it looks like a place for the truck drivers.

But once inside, there is a huge garden and the tables are located between oaks.

The rooms are more than OK, with everything new inside (including the flat screen TV).

A few pictures.

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There are only four rooms, so booking in advance is recommended.

Also, during the summer and first half of the fall, in every weekend there are weddings parties. So on Saturdays and maybe on Sundays the pension can’t accommodate or serve food to other persons (besides the wedding guests).

Last but not least, the food they have here is excellent.

Bottom line: I definitely recommend this place.

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Day 3 – Part I

Tarnaveni – Ganesti – Idrifaia – Gogan – Cund – Dumbraveni – Saros pe Tarnave – Brateiu – Medias (73 km.)

Back to Tarnaveni.

The city seen from above.

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And the city center.

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A passanger.

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First part of the day, was from Tarnaveni towards Ganesti and Idrifaia, on DJ 142.

A few km away from Tarnaveni, in Ganesti, was the first stop.

There was a pub called the Saxon’ Barrel (Butoiul Sasului in Romanian).

In fact, it’s not a regular pub, but a big garden, with some indoor pubs and one outdoor.

The website: http://www.butoiulsasului.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61&Itemid=63〈=en

At the time of out arrival, there was a wedding.

And we got the chance to listen the Spanish song “Besame mucho” played in Hungarian language.

Any way, it’a a good place for a short break.

I think this in the Saxon’ Barrel.

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In Mures couny, half of the population speaks Hungarian.

For these reason, many things are written in both languages (Romanian and Hungarian).

For example, in the picture below, it’s a primary school (left side is written in Romanian, right side is written in Hungarian).

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The same gentle hills.

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An old house, with a new roof.

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In Idrifaia, turned right, towards Gogan and Cund, on DJ 151B.

Fields of corn.

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Old style water well.

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In Cund village, the cemetery is located on a small hillside.

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Day 3 – Part II

Tarnaveni – Ganesti – Idrifaia – Gogan – Cund – Dumbraveni – Saros pe Tarnave – Brateiu – Medias (73 km.)

Still on DJ 151B, towards Dumbraveni.

Cund is the last village form Mures county.

After leaving the village, there is Sibiu County.

And no more tarmac, just a gravel road, with almost no traffic.

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The gravel road, on an open area.

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And in the forest.

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After the forest DJ 151B intersects with the tarmac road DJ 142C.

From the crossroad (DJ 151B and DJ 142C) there are only a few km till Dumbraveni.

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18 "replies" to this topic and just a single Gibon...Poor guy!

A little empathy, friends! Come on, put few nice words here for working class!

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Shush and let the man continue posting, I'm daydreaming here and full of envy. LOVE the story and the pictures, keep 'em coming!

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@ puterfixer

Thanks.

Day 3 – Part III

Tarnaveni – Ganesti – Idrifaia – Gogan – Cund – Dumbraveni – Saros pe Tarnave – Brateiu – Medias (73 km.)

Dumbraveni.

A few words: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbr%C4%83veni

Here was the most impressive sight of the whole tour: the Armenian Catholic church, located in the main square of the city.

No more words, just pictures.

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Unfortunately, the church was closed.

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18 "replies" to this topic and just a single Gibon...Poor guy! A little empathy, friends! Come on, put few nice words here for working class!

Make it better, single Vollgummi ...

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We did a week-long cycling tour this summer (in August) in southern Transilvania as well and visited some of these same churches, to an extent. Just that we started from the opposite direction, from Rupea and made our way through Sighisoara to Medias.

I'd personally reccommend the Tarnava Mare area (Rupea - Saschiz - Sighisoara and everything in between) instead of the Medias area. Medias seemed a lot more busy and the roads around it had a lot more traffic, including high tonnage transport trucks. A LOT of them. If you're planning a trip in the Tarnava Mare area, contact the ADEPT foundation - they were a lot of help to us, helping us plan the trip, find lodging and places to eat (and we were only 2 poor noob cyclists, not even a big group or anything :D ).

Beautiful pictures Gibonu, I'll see if I can find the time to highjack your thread a bit and post a few of my own.

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@ nubciclist

Thanks.

In the first words of story written in Romanian (http://www.ciclism.r...lea-tarnavelor/) I explained why I chose the Medias – Blaj - Tarnaveni area.

Regarding your own pictures.

Don’t get me wrong.

You can post here, I have nothing against it.

But I think it will be more useful to post them into your own story.

The area “Rupea - Saschiz – Sighisoara and everything in between” seems to me pretty interesting.

And honestly, I’m looking forward to read a cycling tour story through this area (in Romaniana or English).

P.S. Good to know about ADEPT Foundation (http://www.fundatia-adept.org/).

Day 3 – Part IV

Tarnaveni – Ganesti – Idrifaia – Gogan – Cund – Dumbraveni – Saros pe Tarnave – Brateiu – Medias (73 km.)

In Tarnaveni, many streets are still paved with cubic stone.

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Even the road signs seems to be from a bygone era.

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A last glimpse towards the Armenian church.

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Till Medias, we choose to go on DN 14. It was a little uncomfortable, because of the fast going cars and heavy trucks.

Another option, between Dumbraveni and Medias, is a secondary road Dumbraveni – Alma – Darlos (on DJ 142E) then Darlos – Medias (on DJ 142A). Close to Medias city entrance.

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In the last picture it is written: “In memoriam Hermann Oberth – pioneer of space navigation”.

More about him: http://en.wikipedia..../Hermann_Oberth

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