Episode 23 – From Romania to Bulgaria

The party in Romania was over and it was now time to continue. During the weekend I was planning my next steps but I was not sure what to do yet. The original plan was to turn around and slowly start the way back to Germany to attend the Vulcan Riders United MC party in six days time. Some Romanian members invited me to visit Bucarest, others suggested Constanza. I any case, Marcel was there to make a change on my route every hour.

I finally left with the group he was in and ride the Transfăgărășan, a paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. It is the second-highest paved road in the country after the Transalpina. Although the road is great, we found a lot of traffic jam. Tourist buses and car were everywhere, but we managed to get all together to Bâlea Lake, a glacier lake situated at 2,034 m of altitude. There was such a great amount of people there that the bar was completely full and we could only have a plastic cup of coffee outside. It was raining.

We continued down the hill up to the crossroads with National Road 1. It was time to say goodbye. Gaby would ride with me until Râşnov, where I had a room booked, and he would continue home alone from there. There was one thought that was going around my mind during the ride in Transfăgărășan. A couple of days before, someone told me we had a village near the meeting point called “Vulcan”. For some reason, I just forgot about it until I was too far to turn back. Suddenly, before arriving in Râşnov I run into a village and barely saw a sign indicating “Commune of Vulcan”. I turn around and indeed, I had just cross another “Vulcan” named village. I think it was around six o’clock. Sun was shining before going to bed. The perfect scenario for a couple of Vulcan-Vulcan pictures.

So what was my plan? I went to Râşnov to be already in town to visit the fortress before continuing to see Dracula’s castle in Bran tomorrow. I went to Râşnov’s Citadel right after the opening hour so I wouldn’t need to leave the room with all my things and walk freely. The absence of an internal water source led to the limitation of long-term resistance during sieges. Legend says that during a siege, the inhabitants of the fortress made two prisoners dig a well in the middle of the fortress in order to regain their freedom.

I left Râşnov by midday and continued to Bran. Unfortunately, the castle’s entry wasn’t opened yet and there was already a huge amount of people waiting. I was around town for an hour and a half, visiting a small Village Museum next to the entrance, but when I came back there were even more people in line. So long Dracula, maybe we see each other next time!

The heat during the rest of the day was increasing every second. For some reason, there was a massive traffic jam from Pitești to Bucarest. I got to Bucarest Ring around four o’clock. I was not sure where to go. Should I go back to Bucarest city center? That was twenty-four kilometers and an hour ride. Should I continue to Constanza? Another two hundred kilometers and a two hours ride. In the end, I chose the Black Sea. Danny and Julius were waiting for me at home but it was already a bit late and we just stayed for the night.

The morning after, Julius took me for a quick overview of the city. We visited a couple of churches, walked along the sea boulevard. Next, to the old Casino, there is one sculpture in memory to the sailors who lost their lives in the sea. Julius took a look to the engraved plates and found out Danny’s grandfather was on that list. They did know about his story but they didn’t expect to have him immortalized like that. After a couple of hours, we go back home because I planned to be at Bulgaria Moto Camp in the afternoon.

The road to Bulgaria was nice. We spent some time in the border office as there were too many vehicles waiting to pass. Luckily, after ten minutes the guard told me I could overtake all the group. Twenty minutes more and I was on the other side. Once at the camping, I realized I missed a Horizons Unlimited Meeting. Sjaak Lucassen was one of the guests there. I met him in the Netherlands in 2014 while attending the International Meeting held in the country. Now Sjaak was on tour and I missed him for so little.

Ivo, one of the owners of the camping spent the evening with me and another three English bikers which were sleeping there as well. He told me about two places I should visit before leaving Bulgaria. The first one I went to was Shipka, where there is a monument on Stoletov Peak, near the pass. It is a Monument to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka Pass in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. There are quite a few steps to the monument but, once there, you can almost see all Bulgaria with a clear sky. We could even see our next destination: the Buzludzha monument. The Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party was built on Buzludzha Peak by the Bulgarian communist regime. It commemorated the events of 1891 when a group of socialists assembled secretly in the area to form an organized socialist movement that led to the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Nowadays, this monument is closed due to vandalism.

It was really windy that day and the temperature was a bit low. That didn’t stop a Spanish group from Alicante to walk around on shorts.

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