Our destination the following day was a small town, Gheorgheni. We had talked to the guys from the previous year, who had helped us out when Thonny had fallen an broken his leg in mountains. Thonny, who hadn’t met them, as he was transported to the hospital by ambulance, had bought a little bottle as a token of appreciation for their help.
Thonny had talked to them over messenger and made arrangement for a meet. Unfortunately they we had other priories and was not around to meet us. That was a bit of disappointment as Thonny had really looked forward to meet them. I had too.
As we found out that we couldn’t meet after all, we took a stroll around Gheorgheni. While it is located near the mountains and the surroundings are very nice, with lots a great accommodation in the mountains, we had booked a hotel in the village as we would like to have a beer with the guys. Had we known that we didn’t get to meet, we would have stayed at a place in the mountains as Gheorgheni as rather boring and not really a place you’d choose unless you had any business there.
Before getting to Gheorgheni, we had taken the long way along Lake Bicaz, followed by the route through Bicaz Gorge. It is a nice route, but it can be quite busy. I’ve been there a couple of times before, and this time, at the end of June, it was quite crowded with lots of cars, souvenir stalls, busses, and tourists. Also, it is quite a popular ride for motorcyclists, so there was a significant share of follow riders as well. After riding in Ukraine and Moldova for almost a week, with no other riders on our way, we had almost gotten used to have the road to ourselves. Not any more.
Having nothing to do in Gheorgheni, we went back to the hotel after a little walk around in the town, to have a drink, just sitting outside at the bar and talk.
I have been to Romania almost every year since my first trip in 2012, so riding the Transfagarasan, the Transalpina, and the areas around is something I have done a number of times. But it never gets boring. So riding it again with Thonny, Michael, and Vova was something I had absolutely no problem with, and actually looked forward to.
Riding from Gheorgheni, we rode backroads, and we stopped at the hospital where Thonny had his surgery in 2018. He wanted to check if the doctor who treated him was working, just to say hi. He didn’t have any agreement on meeting, so unfortunately the doctor was not on duty. In fact he was on a summer holiday.
The scenery north of the mountain range, is relatively flat with mostly farmland. There are small villages very 5 km or so, and they all have 5-10 electric poles with stork nests. It was a nice ride, very warm, and was a great sight as the mountains started to be visible in the horizon.
Down from the mountain, on the south side, we checked in to a familiar hotel. I have been there before, it is not a fancy hotel, the rooms are very basic, ugly interior, but working for the most part. But is cheap.
The bar and restaurant is – on a lucky day – average, but there are beer in plenty volumes, the surroundings are nice, and it is convenient located at the foothills.