Travel Through Romania on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Romania on a Harley (7/8/99 - 17/8/99)
Distance 1533 km (157216 km to 158749 km)

This is part of the fifth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Moldova

7/8/99 Ten minutes out of Moldova and ten minutes into Romania with the only problem a disinfectant spray to enter Romania. $US 5.00 for motorcycles which after polite discussion was waived as we couldn't pass the motorcycle through the spray unit without getting wet ourselves. Another drummed up revenue raiser as all the locals on bicycles who had been fishing and collecting alongside the river passed through without having their bicycles sprayed. Camped/cabins just over the border, crossed at Leuseny.

8/8/99 After last nights sitting at a street side restaurant watching Romanian village life unfold with people drawing water from town wells, horse wagons coming in from the fields, the ducks and geese out for an evening graze, goats and cows heading home full of milk, the younger generation scrubbed up for Saturday night and people just watching and promenading, we relaxedly headed into Romania. Sometimes you have to stop and pinch yourself when travelling, take time and say we are really here. So many places we sometimes become complacent with "the what has become ordinary" and realize that it is very special. Into Brasov after passing thousands of Romanians picnicking on a sunny summers Sunday in the mountains and alongside rivers.

9/8/99 Catch up,Travelling with our German and Danish friends after two weeks in Ukraine/Moldova, washed everything except the shorts (without undies) I needed to be decent, repacked bags and updated the internet site mixed with a pleasant ride over the mountains near Brasov and a stroll around the lovely square. Finding Romania friendly and economical with everyone getting ready for the big eclipse event.

10/8/99 As we and others have said it's the people you meet while travelling that are as, or are more important than the sights you see and today at "Werner's" recommended campground outside Risnov, 6 travellers got together. Ewan from the U.K. decided to ride was more important than to study, gave up a week of his Hungarian language course, Peter Petersen from Denmark used up his annual leave despite only recently returning from six months to almost India and the Middle East on his BMW and Jan and Anke a German couple less than a week out on two GS1100's at the start of a two and a half year round the world trip andRelaxing roadside us merged using the solar eclipse as the excuse to be there. The two new recruits (Jan and Anke) to long distance riding of course got heaps of advice over long stories of the others memories and were informed that already they should have brought this and not that and packed this way rather than that way but by the end of the evening we all had realized that the only way to learn what to do is get out and experience the trip. Little advice and large experiences not the other way round.

11/8/99 Europe's best solar eclipse in 80 years with two and a half minutes of total darkness and over and hour for the two bodies to come together has its epicentre just 180 km south west of here. The  place where the sun and moon are in line for the longest time. Rimnicu Vilcea, the nearest town has never before had such fame nor influx of westerners. With thousands of locals looking skywards with weird alfoil glasses the air became still, the shadows clearer, the birds stopped flying, and theTotal eclipse of the sun, two minutes of darkness crowd yelled louder. After half a dozen false starts by the crowd the moon finally eclipsed the sun, the glasses were remover to reveal a magnificent corona around a black dot and a quiet chatter of awe by the crowd. The reappearance of the sun not nearly as interesting as its disappearance, the crowd and us dispersed. We headed for "Peter" Lake (Lake Vidraru) in the mountains past the now "authentically approved" Dracula's Castle perched on the mountainside overlooking the surrounding gorge before camping roadside in the mountains. With a log fire only to resemble Peter Petersen's size and would have been heartily approved of by Bernd Tesch we ate dinner through a thunderstorm, the second one driving us to bed for the night.

12/8/99 We headed over the 2000 meter pass after outside breakfast at a mountain chalet above the tree line with views of waterfalls in bright sunshine. The weather, roads and company don't get much better than this. Jan and Anke left us for two days on there own to reorganize their packing of the bikes (their first solo riding since the trip started last week) and the rest The sun totally eclipsed by the moon of us headed through small villages over back roads to Sighisoara for the night.

13/8/99 Luckily we decided to have a rest day as Ewan's rear tyre had a puncture and we had noticed Peters luggage frame had broken after losing a securing bolt and it rained all afternoon. I worked on our bike to check things as problems usually come in threes. The easy removal of the Enfield rear wheel makes me envious as the H-D's rear wheel removal is difficult and Peters frame was welded by workers at the campground. Romania had produced a special edition eclipse 2000 lei ($US 0.12) plastic bank note which we all collected as souvenirs. Wandered the old town, with its history and the birth place of Dracula, the real one not the vampire coined version, its walls and towers, tried some more Romanian food and wine, had our first hot shower in eight days, and retired for the night.

14/8/99 Until we meet again, Peter Petersen and Ewan left (after a leisurely 10 am breakfast) with thoughts of visiting us in Australia (July 2000). WeSetting up camp right alongsid the road, just before it rained are finding the hilly mountainous wooded countryside in Romania beautiful. The minor roads weaving the mountains with people almost oblivious to the 20th century going about farming with horse drawn wagons. Many Romany gypsies settled in the countryside with only a few Gypsy wagons seen along the roadside. While they are the most opportunist beggars in tourist towns they are also the roadside sellers of produce. Rejoined Jan and Anke in Risnov.

15/8/99 Some people travel the world aimlessly going where the next invitation takes them, others, like ourselves, have a long term but very flexible plan trying to fit weather, political conflicts and site seeing into the plan and others have a destination goal that consumes the trip. It takes time to work out what style suits your personality. We made it to the Black Sea, the fifth time (different countries) for us but the first time for Jan and Anke. We had breakfasted in Sinaia (named after Mt Sinai), morning teaed roadside, with watermelon, alongside anGypsy wagon carrying timber older local farmer with his horse and wagon, from whom we purchased the melon, stopped a Gypsy wagon for a photo and exchanged my old pair of boots for the privilege, returned hundreds of waves and good will gestures from those we passed (Romanians being the friendliest of peoples) all before we arrived. Jan and Anke's GS1100's with modified off road suspension smoothing out every bump in the road that the H-D's cruising suspension seemed to find. The coastal town of Costinesti totally packed with holiday makers despite the thousands we passed heading back towards Bucarest.

16/8/99 Like all over the world young people flock to the beaches in summer and with only a short coast line and a short summer the Romanians have to make the most of it. The shore lines sandy beaches packed in the daylight with umbrellas, sun bakers and swimmers in the scantiest G-strings (some topless) and in the evening the disco's come to life beating out the deep base rhythm. Every back yard space is rented to campers, every spare room in every house and still people sleep on the beach.Jan and Anke decided to repack everything

17/8/99 Straight across the border this morning. The border officials and embassy staff must rate as the friendliest we have had dealings with. The media image we had of Romania from Ceausescu's days of an impoverished nation of orphanages, replaced with a struggling nation of friendly people trying to find itself in the 20th century. The extremes of wealth and poor not so apparent as other ex-Soviet nations to its east.

Move with us to Bulgaria or go to our next visit to Romania




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