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Claudiu Moga

An Easter Bike Tour in 2010 with a good friend

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Hello cycling friends!

I will write about a cycling trip of about 1000km I had in april 2010 with a good friend of mine in Transylvania and Wallachia

 

part 1 (The county of Arad)

 

It's 1st of April, it's an important day for me, the day when I met one of the keenest and the best cycle tourer from all the Banat Region. I knew him from the internet and I was so eager to meet him and to set out on a bike tour together.
Our meeting place was between Siria and Covasant. It's an historic moment for me and it it is an epoch-making event for the romanian cycle tourism's world.
Here we are Carpaticus and Liviu - a dreamy cycle team.

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The weather is quite cold but I'm wearing summer outfit. With my Kona Sutra bike I cycled 35km in one hour and a few minutes. Now it's time for us to cycle to Ineu, to the place where I live.

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We stop at Siria to have a beer and then we cycle till Ineu where we have a feast and we chat drinking beer till quite late.

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Then I give him a room and we go to sleep. Next morning after the breakfast we are ready for the adventure. We take leave of my parents and off we go.

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The weather is fine, the road is flawless, and the traffic is light. The denuded trees look so desolate.

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Before reaching Bocsig we can see a fishery on the left.

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We feel so good. I'm still wearing summer clothing despite the cold outside.

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On the left, Codru Moma Mountains loom larger in the distance soon.

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I am pretty fit, because during the long winter I trained a lot.

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At Buteni, after cycling 28km we make the first halt to eat something. Here we are glad to see a girl riding a bicycle.

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From here the relief changes a lot. We enter a hilly region with plenty of forests.

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We are quite in a good mood and happy to be in the middle of nature on our bikes.

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I am wearing about 25kilos but I'used to this.

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Before entering Almas where I used to be a teacher a few years ago, we stopped to drink some water from a spring.

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Here it's quite a nice cross and it is said to be the entrance in the Tara Motilor Criseni (The Highlanders' Country from the Crisius River's Valley)

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As we carry on cycling we can see in the distance the snow-capped peaks from the Western Carpathians. The winter is still reigning there.

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At Gurahont we have to stop to eat and drink something. I know here a restaurant where they have delicious traditional sausages.

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It seems we get along just fine so it's time to celebrate our first 100km cycled together. Long live pur passion for cycle tourism!

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Then we have a picture together on the bridge crossing the Crisius River that is the river of my childhood.

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We cycle some more kms till I come across an interesting tree that I assume it was struck by lightening.

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From here we cycle in a beautiful area full of bare trees. The traffic is low and he have a steady but weak ascent.

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After a few kms. before reaching Gura Vaii village we get to a cave that was turned into a museum and hotel.

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This is quite unique in Romania and one day I will bring my friends to spend a night here. The inside of this "hotel" is quite queer and interesting.

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The landscapes are great, we are cycling in Codru Moma Mountains.

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Near Aciuta village me find a large quarry.

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And then we enjoy a great winding strech of road with very nice forest.

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After another one hour of cycling we get to a nice chalet, on the top of Sortoc Hill near Halmagiu township. The last section of the climb is quite strenuous.

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And here it's time for us to have a break and enjoy a beer. In the distance we can see Gaina (Hen) Mountain whose peak is the highest in the county of Arad (1486m).

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Here we eat the best sausages from the area. They are quite tasty indeed.

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From here we have a tough descent with the gradient of 10%.

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Soon we enter the county of Hunenoara and it's rather late.

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The night overtakes us and after cycling about 40 minutes in the dark, we decide to spend the night at "Forget me not" Inn where we eat very well and we feel very good.

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After an enjoyable evening we withdraw to our room where he have some more fun. Liviu is a very jocular fellow.

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The next day we get to Tebea, a very important pantheon of Romania.

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Here it's time for us to stop and to pay our respects to the heroes buried here.

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Here we have the honour to collect our thoughts before the tomb of the great Avram Iancu, the leader of the Transylvania's insurgents from the Revolution of 1848.

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The Oak of Horea, another hero from XVIIIth century from Transylvania is to be found here.

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We can find here many memorial plaques with important texts reminding us of the great feats of our forefathers.

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It's time to go and against a blue sky, Metaliferi Mountains stand in front of us.

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Soon we enter the municipality of Brad, that is the biggest town from "The Highlanders' Country".

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It's here that the Peasant Uprising from 1784 was initiated.

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Soon as we go out of Brad we have to pass under an old railway viaduct that is closed down now.

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We are crossing The Metalliferous Mountains which belong to the Western Carpathians. The spring has not yet come in this area.

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After a few km of steady and easy climb, after Luncoiu de jos village we have to climb a hill and we face some swichbacks.

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I am pretty fit and I unsuccessfuly try to outrun a truck on this climb.

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To my sheer joy, the incline is a bit hard here and the climb is 2 km long.

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I am the first to get to the top but Liviu is indeed a strong cycloclimber. In less then 1 minute he gets to the top, too.

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From the top we have a steady and long but easy climb and we cycle a lot next to Fornadia stream.

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In another one hour of cycling, near Soimus township we meet the great Mures River that is one of the best rivers from our country. In the distance we can see the Deva's citadel perched on the top of a hill.

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After crossing a long bridge we get to a busy road and we have to pedal a few kms. annoyed by the heavy traffic and the horendous noise.

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Soon we get to Deva which is the main town in the county of Hunedoara.

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Here we meet Sebi, a friend of Liviu and we go together to play billiards and eventually I am a great loser.

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Then we pay a visit to Sebi's family and his parents are very kind to us and give us very tasty food.

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At about 4 o'clock PM we have to go, heading for Hunedoara, an industrial town that boasts one of the best castles in Romania.

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In about half an hour we get to this martyr town that has such a gorgeous coat of arms.

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From here we face another great climb on a secondary road with low traffic.

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We are feeling so good and especially my I really enjoy this few kilometers of decent climb.

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On top of the climb the road is rather winding.

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And then after a short strech of false flat we have to struggle against a tough slope again.

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All of a sudden we are delighted to run into Adrian Florin, one of the best cyclists from this region. He is happy to meet us and we tell him about our trip.

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Then we carry on cycling on this scenic road who gained some altitude now.

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We reached an elevetion of about 700m high, all around us we can see but rolling hills.

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In the distance we can percieve the mighty Retezat mountains.

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After a steep and speedy descent we enter the picturesque small town of Hateg.

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Only a few kilometers from here, in the next village we meet a very special church dating back to XIII-th century.

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The traffic is light and we can admire the snow-capped mountains.

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Soon the night overtakes us and we carry on cycling looking for a guesthouse. It is rather chilly, the temperature drops dramatically.

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We finally get to Bolestilor Inn, one of the famous guesthouses from the region and after a plentyful feast we rent a room.

It's saturday night and it's the Paschal Night. We feel very good. After a lovely evening it's time to go to sleep. Good night kiddo!

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The next day we have to climb the Merisor Pass(758m). Crossing a bridge we see Crivadia's Gorges on the left.

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This area looks rather desolate and the cold is quite persistent.

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Soon we get to the Merisor Pass.

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Then we have a nice descent.

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We pick up some speed on the hairpins we have to go down.

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In the municipality of Petrosani we come across an old plane.

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Then we enter Jiu's Defile National Park.

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After a few kilometers we also enter the county of Gorj.

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The landscapes are quite impressive.

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We cycle next to Jiu River who forms some spectacular gorges.

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The nature seems dead because of the bare trees and there are some potholes in the road.

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Soon it's time for us to have a picture together.

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Even if is pretty cold we still enjoy cycling on this touristic road.

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This Jiu's Valley is an important thoroughfare and besides the road there is a railway, too.

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For more then 30km the views are amazing. The road slightly descends following the river's course.
Here there are the historic boundaries between Transylvania and Wallachia.

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After pedalling 24km from Petrosani we get to Lainici Monastery. This is one of the best cinobitic communities from Romania.

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The old church has glamarous wall painting and dates back to XVII-th century.

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I am very happy to find here a suggestive painting epitomizing the ladder of life

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Cycling just another one kilometer we run into an imposing cross. It's here that the outstanding general Ion Dragalina was deadly wounded in the First World War.

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As we keep on cycling we get to a panel where we find out that rafting adventures are provided for the tourists on this boisterous river.

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Soon we get to the small town of Bumbesti Jiu where the Jiu's Defile ends and we meet another friend of Liviu and it's time for a little break.

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We take leave of the Middle Carpathians and we cycle on the worst possible strech of road from our tour.

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Soon we get to the municipality of Targu Jiu, the main town of this county of Gorj.

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From here we cycle on a tableland type of terrain with numerous ups and downs. Suddenly we are flabbergasted by an awe-inspiring phenomenon of nature.

The sky seems to be illuminated by 2 suns.

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We get hungry and we come to a stop at an interesting restaurant to have a decent meal.

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Then we carry on cycling, the night overtakes us again and we continue cyclling till Baia de Arama where we find a cheap guesthouse that has only one big bed in our room but after a tasty dinner and a few beers and over 150km we manage to sleep very well.

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The next day, we have a big climb, we have to beat the Godeanu Pass(1050m). It's a long and tiresome climb but the real obstacle is a steady drizzle that has soaked us through till the pass where we are lucky to find a rustic restaurant.

 

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Here we can dry our wet coats beside a hot stove and we enjoy some good sour tripe soup and tasty red wine. Long live our bike trip!

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Soon we have to go and we have to cycle another 36km till Baile Herculane, but it's going to be a long descent.

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After a few kilometers we get to a huge rock where we take another picture of us.

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The scenery is admirable. It's a pitty the weather is nasty.

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But we are thrilled to cycle down the Cerna Valley on such a splendid route.

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Soon we get to the county of Caras Severin where we meet fruit trees in bloom.

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Here we make a halt at a restaurant for it's time to eat something.
Here we decide to separate for I want to prolong my trip with a few days and Liviu has to hurry to Timisoara for his holiday will be over soon and his office' job is awaiting him.

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Thank you Liviu for this magnificent trip together!

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On my way to Herculane Spa I come across a storage lake.

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Then I can admire a lovely karstic zone.

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I even spot an interesting cave and on the sheer cliffs I see some gorgeous samples of black pines that can be found only in this region.

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7km before entering the spa there is special place under the road where some hot springs flow into a cave. Here the people can enjoy the great beneficial water for free. Of course I made a halt here and bathed a few hours talking to some youngsters.

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Then I enter Herculane where I spend 2 days enjoying myself as well as I can.

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From here I follow the Danube Defile and then I cross Locvei Mountains and arriving at Oravita, I meet Raul Buhas, a good friend of mine who is a grand cycling champion even if he is very young.
His lovely parents are kind enough to offer me accommodation for 2 nights for free and Raul will be my guide in the region.
We take our bikes and we begin to cycle for he wants to show me the town. Soon we are cought by a pouring rain and we are soaked through in 5 minutes but then the rainbow salutes us.

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Not far from the town center we see a very nice tree with spectacular flowers.

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Then we visit an old and gorgeous church dating back to XVIII-th century.

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We have a long and steady climb till we get out of town and here we find a clear lake.

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From here we have to struggle against a very steep slope with gradient up to maybe over 20%. I am very happy to vanquish this climb. I am Pantani Carpaticus, so not quite an usual cyclist. This road gets to a nice chalet where we have a juice and then we return to his flat.

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The next day after a fretful night where I could get a poor sleep for I was not used to the bed, we go on another trip, Raul wants to show me the toughest climb of the area and a wonderful monastery. After 10km of cycling we get to a traditional village.

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Here we see a lovely orthodox church perched on a rocky hill.

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We are entering the Anina Mountains and we begin to climb. Soon we get to an imposing larix tree.

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The road narrows down and the landscapes get wilder.

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All of a sudden we run into a large colourful and speckled lizard.

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I fall in love with the beast, so I take it in my hands and I blow him a kiss. Oh, how cute this salamander is!

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Afer setting the reptile free we have to climb a terrible aclivity till we get to Calugara Monastery. 

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Here there is a waterfall right next to the religious monument.

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Then it's time to return home and after one more night in Raul's flat I have to go home. 
In a small village not far from Lugoj, in the county of Timisoara, I have the great honour to meet Stefan Hodi and his family, the very best family of cycletourists from all Romania.
He accommodates me one night and makes me feel very good. It is quite a special day for me. The next day I have to take leave of the master Stefan who has such a lovely daughter and cute puppies.

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I also have a picture with his son Stefanel who did the tour of Europe by bike when he was still a child accompanied by his wonderful family.

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Till home I have to cycle another 130km. This tour lasted 2 weeks and i cycled about 1000km. It was the one of the best Paschal' tours from my entire life.
Long live cycletourism!

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