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Thread: Five days in Romania

  1. #17
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    Fantastic. Bizzarely just what I was lookig for. Ive put my plans on the open invite. May I ask where you booked your tickets for the Duss Vienna train. Fab report btw

  2. #18
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    well worth going when the romaniacs is on in august, motocross with no health and safety, it covers a lot of the country so plenty of choice, been several times, an goin again this year

  3. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by S92GS View Post
    Fantastic. Bizzarely just what I was lookig for. Ive put my plans on the open invite. May I ask where you booked your tickets for the Duss Vienna train. Fab report btw
    Tango2 knows all about booking tickets for the motorail
    Freedom of speech and thought matters, especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thought crime becomes a reality.
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  4. #20
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    Tango 2 sorry ???

  5. #21
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    Five days in Romania


  6. #22
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    Thanks for the replies. Once I'm done, I'll do a quick summary of do's, don'ts, hows and how nots etc... I'll also post my itinerary in the travel section under the same title; 'Five days in Romania'. Route files can be made available too.
    Quote Originally Posted by S92GS View Post
    Fantastic. Bizzarely just what I was lookig for. Ive put my plans on the open invite. May I ask where you booked your tickets for the Duss Vienna train. Fab report btw

  7. #23
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    Firstly, apologies for all the typos. I read back through my previous posts and there are quite a few! Anyway...

    Day 6

    We woke to an overcast but dry morning. There was no hurry that morning as we had a few hours off of the bikes to look around the Bran Castle. Well, we couldn’t go all that way and not do so, could we? For all the hoo-haa surrounding the castle, for all the Dracula hype and tat that’s for sale in Bran, the connection between this wonderful building and Dracula are very tenuous. Dracula was based, in part, upon Vlad the Impaler, a land owner from these parts who ruled with a firm hand. It’s claimed that he had rather horrid ways of dealing with those that crossed him which earned him his title ‘The Impaler’. That’s roughly how it goes anyway. Whatever the truth of it, the castle is worth a visit.









    I should at this point perhaps mention that I have been to Romania before, about eleven or twelve years ago. Much has changed in that time largely due to that fact soon afterwards, on January 1st 2007, Romania joined the EU. I guess that over time that opened the doors to more visitors and so now Bran was busy. I recall a party of us, (I went for a friend’s wedding), almost having the castle to ourselves during our visit. Now visitors arrive by the coach load. It’s still worth visiting but get there early.



    There’s also a museum of rural life right next door which whilst not so popular, is still worth a visit. It’s largely a collection of traditional buildings but nice to see.

    We returned to the road and headed towards Brasov. There’s a palace a few miles from there that’s worth seeing, hence the spur on my map.



    We decided we’d miss that out though and instead head for Sighisoara. Nearing Brasov there’s a nice little mountain road that runs through a national park. It was probably the best road we travelled all week!



    It also afforded a city view of Brasov. However, Brasov is nicer at street level so...







    We had lunch on the main square and watched the world go by. Just as we’d finished eating, a couple of beggars, kids of 9 or 10, came over and asked for some money. We didn’t think anything of it until I came to pay. Having taken my wallet out of my jacket, my money had gone. I thought initially that I must have misplaced it but then I realised that a piece of paper that’s always in there was missing too. Little buggers! At least they’d put my wallet back though and they only got about £30.
    We rode on through pretty county side...



    And past several castles...



    Passing through many villages like this...



    Until we reached Sighisoara.



    This is a special place and is where my friend got married all those years ago so it was lovely to return. It’s the old part of Sighisoara that’s built on a hill. The streets are all narrow and cobblestoned, the buildings all picturesque and quaint. Right at the top of the hill accessed by a covered wooden staircase is a church and all around it a graveyard that falls away down the slopes and amongst the trees. If you ever visit Romania, this has to be in the top 5 places to see.









    We stayed at the Wagner hotel. I wouldn’t recommend it. I wouldn’t advise against staying there as such either but I think you could find somewhere better. No vehicles are supposed to be left in the old town over night apparently but after a lengthy conversation in which I laid it on about being robbed already that day, they said it would be fine if we parked on the opposite side of the street. There were loads of cars parked there overnight.
    We ate at the Dracula Restaurant which was also a bit rubbish. Apparently it was the house where Vlad the Impaler was born and even had a plaque on the wall outside to say so. It’s a pity he wasn’t there that night as he’d have probably had a word with the waiter and told him to be nice or else!

  8. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango2 View Post
    Thanks v much

  9. #25
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    Day 7

    This was to be our last day in Romania as we travelled west towards the border town or Oradea. The first few miles were on main roads filled with trucks before we headed onto more scenic roads.



    It was an interesting route but I failed to take many photos so you’ll have to make do with this.



    By late afternoon we arrived in Oradea and stayed at the Hotel Gala which was pleasant enough and had secure parking. We ate few streets away at another Italian restaurant, number 23 or something like that. The food was great though so worth a visit.



    Day 8

    After breakfast, we headed out of Romania and back through border control into Hungary. Immediately we noticed how much better the standard of driving is there. No more tailgating. We were heading to Budapest where we’d spend our last night of the trip before getting the train back to Dusseldorf.



    We took a scenic route for most of the day. Largely main roads but through wide open farmland. There were more sunflower fields too and more villages with more...



    I don’t have a thing for churches you understand. I’m not even religious, but they are interesting such is their diversity of design and materials.

    And in the middle of nowhere...



    We stopped for elevenses and then realised that it was actually tenses due to having crossed the border. Whatever the time, it was time for cake



    I have to admit, I love some of these old eastern bloc cars, especially these...



    A little further along the road, I came up behind another one and noticed something strapped to the back. As I grew closer I realised what it was...



    I took this whilst on the move and tried not to drop my camera. Then I remembered that Sid had a GoPro on his bike so beckoned him to overtake and film this. What I forgot in that moment was that he had turned veggie and so probably didn’t really appreciate this very much. You gotta laugh!

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/WsKFvG][/url







    After a while, we hit the more rural roads.



    Andrew and Sid missed a turning and headed off piste. I decided to ride alone for a while but after a couple of miles came upon a British biker parked up at the road side so I stopped to say hello. Pipper was making her first solo trip on a Versys 350, (not sure about the size). We had a little chat, got each other to take some photos and then I headed off again. She was the one who told me about the guy not wearing his lid when boarding the motorail. Slice, blood everywhere. Ouch!



    A few miles on, just around the corner were some horses, grazing. I slowed as I approached and suddenly a dog shot out of nowhere and charged towards me barking! I swung my size 12 boot towards his head but luckily, for us both no doubt, I missed and he gave up. F’in dogs.



    We arrived in Budapest at different times but only twenty minutes apart. We were booked into the Centrum Ibis. I like Ibis hotel. Nothing fancy, no character I know but you know what you’re gonna get and sometimes that’s enough. I’d herd that Budapest had become a popular stag and hen party destination and as I pulled up outside, the first thing I heard was, ‘ f’in this, f’in that, b***tad this, t*at that’. Excellent! Our national representatives are here already. And no, that wasn’t Andrew and Sid.

    Having showered, we went for wander.



    Budapest is a beautiful city and despite the p*ssheads, is definitely worth a long weekend visit. To be fair they were the only ones we saw, or heard.



    We walked down to the river, a couple of blocks away, bought a strudel from the indoor market, had a beer in a cafe then headed back towards the hotel for dinner. The street the Ibis is on has loads of restaurants so finding somewhere isn’t tricky.



    This was just my starter!



    I had pork knuckle for a main and returned to the hotel well and truly stuffed!

  10. #26
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    Day 9
    We had a choice. Head to Vienna and have an afternoon there, or have the morning in Budapest. We opted for the latter and decided to take an open top bus tour around the city. Right decision. We took the route which covered the most sights and didn’t get off once, well, apart from when the bus stopped for fifteen minutes on a hill overlooking the city but that was just to get an ice cream.

    The opera house


    Heros Square




    Museum


    Széchenyi Thermal Bath


    Like I said, a beautiful city. There is loads to do and see. The thermal baths are excellent, there’s a zoo, a castle plus all the usual museums and the likes. But most of all, it’s an agreeable city.
    After lunch we returned to the Ibis, retrieved our bikes from the underground garage, and rode the two and half hours to Vienna. About half way, the motorway was closed and we were diverted off. Now what? Two policemen were diverting traffic so I shouted ‘Vienna?’ at the top of my voice. He pointed the opposite way so with a quick u-turn, and being careful not to run the other one over, I was set. We rejoined the motorway a few miles on and made it to the station with an hour to spare. Perfect.





    With the bikes loaded back on the train, we eased out of Vienna just as the sun was setting and squeezed ourselves back into our cabin.





    As you can see, we got on the train pretty exhausted. All that remained was the final ride home from Dusseldorf the next morning.

    It was an excellent trip. Very different from what we usually do but a real eye opened into how different places as close as Romania can be. It was great to see that being part of the EU was benefitting Romania, (I'm not making a political point so please don't hijack this). Romania was really poor, still is in places but things seem to be improving. When I visited in 2005 or whenever it was, Dacias were everywhere. Now its all VWs and Audis. They love them, and as you drive towards the border, you see dozens being imported on trailers. The cities are visibly more prosperous and slowly that seems to be filtering out to the countryside.

    There are things that take some getting used to. The people don't come across as being very friendly, and often service seems rude, but you have to look past that, that is after all their culture.

    So if you want a little more adventure but aren't quite ready, or don't have time for Outer Mongolia, Romania is a great option. Just go with an open mind, expect some bumpy roads, and some crazy driving and you'll have a great time.

  11. #27
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    A quick summary

    Mileage ridden (so not including trains) 2458m
    Hours riding 52
    Ave Speed 47mph

    Budget

    Motorail is approx £350 each for a cabin. You get breakfast and a shower, a mini bottle of wine, snacks, and some nice slippers, but not to keep. Snacks and drinks are available on board you spend the journey in your cabin. There is no dining car. They provide a towel but it's a hand towel so a travel towel is good if you want a shower. I think a bed in a couchette is about £250 rtn but you don't get the extras. A toilet is available though. The train operator is OBB. Type that into Google and it comes up. I found the website a bit tricky to book the bikes on with, I’ve heard that from others too, so I just called them. They speak English and were very polite. They post your tickets and mine arrive two days later. Job done.

    Accommodation approx £25 per night on a shared basis

    I usually try to start a dialogue with hotels when booking. Only the Regina Green replied to me so all the others I booked through Booking.com. Simple.

    Despite Romania and Hungary both being in the EU, they both trade in their own currency. Euros are accepted but forget it in the villages. Romania still prefers to deal in cash too so we exchanged £500 each before we left. We’d paid for one hotel before leaving but still came home with £100.
    We took £150 of Hungarian too and returned with £30 each.
    That covered our fuel, meals, hotels, beer etc...

    Driving

    Speeds are the same as the rest of Europe; 130kph on the motorway when dry, 110 in the wet. 90 on national roads, 50 in the villages etc...
    I had heard that the police are really hot on speeding. We took it steady so it wasn’t a problem but the Romanians drive at warp speed and we rarely saw them being pulled. Still, it’s not worth the risk as fines are high. Same in Hungary.

    The motorways are generally well surfaced. There were a lot of road works on the trunk roads and a LOT of road freight. Rural roads get ‘interesting’ but we only rode one stretch of about a mile where the road was riddled with potholes the size of hubcaps and just as deep. So our route was pretty good.

    Going beyond the known, outside of one’s comfort zone is alarming sometimes but often very rewarding to. And this was a trip such as that. My only advise would be to give yourself enough time. I created the route id did because I wanted to maximise my time there but also cover certain things, Transfagarasan, Transalpina, Sighisoara etc... An extra day would have provided a little more time to explore but if ten days is all you can do, then this is a great trip and the motorail makes it entirely possible.

    Incidentally, I looked at the cost of shipping our bikes and that was more than our entire trip cost. Alternatively, there are several bike rental companies in Romania.

    Safe Riding

  12. #28
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    Good one Donnie .... enjoyed that

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

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  13. #29
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    Most welcome

    I've just put my itinerary in the Eastern Europe Travel Section.
    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Good one Donnie .... enjoyed that


  14. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnie View Post
    Most welcome

    I've just put my itinerary in the Eastern Europe Travel Section.
    Yeap , great RR .

    I see you missed Cluj .

    We thought it was an amazing city if any tossers are planning on doing Romania .

    Any ideas where your next trip will be to Donnie ?
    Freedom of speech and thought matters, especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thought crime becomes a reality.
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  15. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetjock View Post
    Yeap , great RR .

    I see you missed Cluj .

    We thought it was an amazing city if any tossers are planning on doing Romania .

    Any ideas where your next trip will be to Donnie ?
    Cluj was in my early plans, it does look nice, but it didn't work with milages, other places and time allowance etc... These things are always a compromise.

    Next year? I dont know yet. Probably not as far though. More of a gentle saunter perhaps.

  16. #32
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    Great RR Donnie - very pleased that you enjoyed my adopted home country, and a nice change to hear some positive views on Romania.

    I agree with almost all your comments. The stray dogs, though they are very rarely dangerous and will run at the first sign of being challenged, are a pain in the arse and help give the impression of a third world country. The standard of driving is generally appalling (the fatal accident rate, on a per 100,000 km basis, is four times the rate in UK) and use of mobile phones seems to be obligatory.

    The Tranfagarasan, for me, was a bit like the Stelvio. Maybe you’ve got to do it, at least once, but it’s more about the experience than the ride. The Transfagarasan is a long, tight, twisty, bumpy road, particularly the south side.
    Pity you had shit weather, though again I'm in complete agreement. As I posted some time ago: "Transfagarașan has to be seen and done, but in my opinion, as a road for riding, Transalpina beats it hands down." However my most favouritist road is the one that you did as part of Day 3; the road from Slatina Timiș to Resiță is the TransSeminic - 50 km of biking nirvana (OK 40 km - the last 10 km or so into Resiță is in dire need of resurfacing. I know that 40 km is not a great distance, but you'll struggle to find a straight section of more than 100 m and there are hardly any other vehicles. As most of it is through forest, it's not possible to get the sort of photo's that one can get on the Transfagarașan/Transalpina. A couple of my pics:


    A few miscellaneous comments:

    • Accommodation is very cheap - this, coupled with the fact that there are very few campsites, means that camping is a crazy option;
    • The euro is not legal tender in Romania - nobody would expect shops or hotels in UK to accept euros and it's the same here. Further, there are ATM's everywhere and these will accept UK cards;
    • Speeding - out of the villages you're pretty safe (unless you're doing insane speeds). However in the villages stick to around 50 - 60 km/h, or "hide" behind a speeding car. Don't try to bribe your way out of a fine - this is not Ukraine or Russia;
    • Speed limit on roads outside of towns and villages is 100 km/h
    • Personally, I avoid riding at night - unexpected (large) pot holes and unlit horse-drawn carts being the main reasons.


    Finally, a plug for my home city. The centre of Timișoara is well worth a visit:


    In the five years that I've been here the centre has been transformed and is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon and evening. I'm happy to offer free accommodation to individual tossers or to advise on accommodation for larger groups.

    And the is cheap

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