Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sinaia, Târgovişte and down to the Danube









Gordon:  From Brasov we climbed over the Carpathians one last time before descending to Sinaia.  It should have been a spectacular ride, with the Bucegi range rising above the touristed mountain towns, but for us it was a world of water, with heavy rain falling relentlessly and flowing and pooling on the road.  After a while we abandoned any effort to avoid puddles or torrents and just plunged downwards.

After our arrival in Sinaia the weather did return to sunshine, revealing a gracious Victorian playground for the wealthy in the mountains.  In the area of our guesthouse there appeared to be a municipal ordinance restricting car ownership to black German luxury vehicles.  There were also any number of magnificent Victorian mansions, although many needed some work.  Our guesthouse was just a short walk from Peles castle, which was built for the former Romanian royal family in the 1880s.  It is an over the top Victorian fantasy, and one of the most popular tourist sites in Romania.

From Sinaia we did another moderate climb before heading south towards the foothills.  We had a gorgeous ride in the morning, but finished the day in another surreal watery world, with torrents of water so deep and fast moving that at times we were worried that we might be knocked off our bikes.  We stayed the night in Târgovişte, which was the capital of Wallachia (the southern part of Romania) from the 15th to the 17th century.  Vlad Țepeș (the historical figure associated with Dracula) was one of the princes who ruled from Târgovişte.  It has earned a more recent spot in history as the place where Ceaușescu and his wife were tried and executed by firing squad on Christmas Day (nice touch) in 1989.

It was a two day ride covering 175 kms from Târgovişte to the border crossing on the Danube.  While this is a flat and less attractive area of Romania, it does have its charms, particularly this year, when everything was still green from the rain.  Because there are few tourists in this region the locals are very hospitable, if they get past staring at you as some sort of oddity from another world.

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