Today was another spectacular morning with blue skies and crisp, fresh air, found only in the mountains. Waking at first light, I made myself a coffee and walk higher up the hill for a beautiful view of the village. Just at 6am, the bells of the church began to toll and for the next 5 minutes let the people of the village know it was time to start a new day. One is which we must all strive to make better than the last.
Soon camp was broke and we were on our way. We were headed to the tourist area of Hungary, Lake Balaton. Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe with an area of 230 square miles and an average depth of 11 feet. You can wade out into the lake and never have water over your head making it a premium destination for families with children.
We decided to take a coup!e days of R and R, and walk a bit to get the muscles working again. Heading down to the marina we checked out the ferry to get us across the lake. Nope, pedestrian only. Oh well. Back across the road was a tourist area and a few places to sip some of the excellent wine made in this area. There are more than 20 wineries in the immediate vicinity, with grape vines terraced into the hills overlooking the village and lake.
Next stop will be the northern Carpathian mountains on small back roads as we ride toward MotoCamp Sibiu, between two fantastic passes, the Transalpina and the Transfagarasan. But first I will tell you about our great night before we arrived. This was a day of detours and getting lost.
It started as a fantastic morning with cool temps and a perfect blue sky. I choose a very small.border crossing and we headed off, hoping it would be open by eight. We pull up to a wooden shack with open windows and doors, and not a soul in sight. The rusted gate had faded red and white paint and a rock counter weight opposite the pivot end. The gate was securely lock in its cradle end, the old rusted lock looking as if it had not been opened in some time. It was obviously a border crossing that had not been used for some time. Outdated information on this one. We checked.our maps and found another larger crossing 100 kms away.
After crossing we were humming along to make up some time and then traffic was just stopped. No big deal, we’re on a bike, so we went around into the incoming traffic lane and started eating up the 7 kms of stopped traffic when an oncoming police vehicle waved we over. “What are you doing?”, was the question. Me, ” Going to the front”. Him, “Why?”. Me, pointing back the way I had come, ” They told me to go”. Him, very sternly, “Get in line”. Okey dokey. Come to find out there had been a bad accident involving many vehicles and a couple deaths. The open lane was being used for emergency vehicles. I turned around and we found a side road to get us through.
Next we are looking for a place we had found on booking.com in the mountains. Getting to a small village, we found the road closed, and being reconstructed. On our maps it showed no other was through, so we pushed on. The people of the village did not seem happy, but we just smiled and waved. On the third attempt we finally found our place. As we were parking a young man, another guest, came over to ask where we were from. We struck up a conversation about Romania and the changes he hopes for. He invited us over with his friends to talk, and share some homemade Romanian rakia, or moonshine. The night became long and we both had way too much to drink. I ended up with two bottles of this “shine”, which is now securely in a pannier and headed to the Overland Event. Don’t worry Saul, it’s in plastic! And you’re on the list.😉
The next morning we followed a incredible mountain route up to a ski resort in the Parcul Natural Apuseni in Hungary. Up towards a small village, heavy equipment was in use and the roads all had a dirty layer of mud on them. The recent storms and heavy rains had caused many mudslides with entire sides of mountains coming down, vegetation, trees and homes. Several people in just this area had loss their lives.
The next day we continued on to MotoCamp Sibiu, with a fantastic host, Doru, and a couple other campers. But, more on that next time.