In the first part of the small series about Patrick Wimmer´s trip through romania (With the road bike in Romania – Part 1) we went over a road into the clouds. The smartphones also sounded the alarm: Bears in the area! Today we continue with Romanian weekend traditions, remarkable nature and a critical view …
Full roads on Sunday
The traffic was unusually heavy that day, and it increased even more as we drove through the narrow valley up to the Vidraru reservoir. Because on weekends the Romanians go up into the mountains and picnic. And so the journey to the reservoir went on between cars and crowds of people who had settled down by the roadside. “But the great landscape made up for it,” adds Patrick dryly.
Cars, booths and much chaos
Over a distance of about 25 km the route went continuously uphill and then through the highest and with its 900 m longest tunnel in Romania. “There was a traffic jam in it. Well, we were looking forward to the pass. Traditionally you take a photo there. But that was out of the question,” says Patrick. Because hardly arrived at the daylight and the glacier lake Bâlea, there was not only bad weather, but also a chaos of people, cars and stalls that one could hardly imagine.
Bad weather approaching
So quickly downhill again! Many serpentines lead down to Transylvania, but even this joy was considerably clouded by the numerous cars. 30 km before Sibiu it became gusty and windy, a thunderstorm came up. The group decided to cover the remaining kilometers to Sibiu in the support vehicle. The highlight of the next days was the Transalpina, which leads up to an altitude of about 2,100 m. Patrick covered a total of 700 km on the Romania tour, all of which were included in the Parallel Passion. Patrick joined the DPP when he heard about it on the occasion of the cancellation of the Mecklenburger Seenrunde. He liked doing kilometers for a good cause.
What did he particularly like in Romania – and what not at all? “The landscape is really outstanding,” says Patrick, without thinking twice. “Nature without end, endless forest, here and there a hut. Except for Sunday, the road traffic is also manageable”. But he also liked the villages. “You can see that people weren’t necessarily poor at the time of construction. Today they often lack the means to repair or renovate the buildings.” What would have made a lasting impression on him was the fact that the villages were mainly inhabited by old people, children and young people. The parents are probably abroad to earn money. “Here in Germany they work in the fields and in slaughterhouses, while their children in Romania grow up with their grandparents,” says Patrick thoughtfully.
Buckets hang from the draw wells in the country. The wells are still in use. On the way in the country one is often still with horse-drawn carts, the hay harvest takes place as in old times. The hay fork is used to turn the hay and load it onto the carts. What a farmer in Germany can do in half an hour, takes two days in Romania. Despite the hard, privation-laden life, the people are not stressed, especially the atmosphere in the country has something decelerated. In larger cities, the town centers have already been beautifully renovated in some places. The people with whom the group has entered into conversation are looking ahead. They know that their country has tourism potential because of its nature. They want to use this potential.
Not enough environmental protection
Patrick did not like the sight of old cars from Germany at all, mostly with original stickers from some company that once owned the vehicles. “We try to protect the environment, but the old vehicles are brought here, pollution is shifted”, says Patrick. “Also, very often the garbage simply lies in the landscape and in the ditch. I think that is a pity.”
The cyclists were accommodated in simple guesthouses, which are all very clean and well equipped. As a salesman he would have often had worse rooms in Italy, Patrick notes. Breakfast was served in the accommodation, and every driver had his gels and bars with him for the day. The support vehicle carried a water supply from which the bottles could be refilled during stops along the route. At the roadsides there were fruit stands where mainly melons and plums were available. Twice the team treated themselves to a coffee along the way, and in the evening they ate at a hotel or restaurant.
Patrick can imagine to travel to Romania again for a racing bike tour. There are such interesting corners there. It would also be conceivable to go hiking with the family. Unless the bears are on the road again … Until the time comes for one or the other project, Patrick continues to train in the club, occasionally cycling across the Rhine to France in the Vosges mountains and increasing his distances. During the week, training distances of 50 to 100 km have to be completed, once a month Patrick takes on longer distances.
Planning new tours
… and then of course there is Patrick’s wife and little daughter. On tours together, the three-year-old sits in the trailer. For now! Because in the meantime she owns a “real” bike in addition to her running bike. That’s why she might soon be going on bike tours together with her parents.
The Parallel Passion team is very happy that the situation with the Romanian bears went so well – and appreciates the extra distance that was created by driving back at the bear site. Patrick, we wish you always a good and safe trip all over the world.