OE Day 27 Alba Iulia to Sibiu 98km

From one regional capital, Alba Iulia to another, Sibiu. The former with a population of 65k is where On 1 December 1918, the Union of Transylvania with Romania was declared. The latter os known for Germanic architecture in its old town, the legacy of 12th-century Saxon settlers. Population 425k. That’s for tomorrow.

The first decent hilly day for a while. Our route is undulating, crossing some hills between plains. Great views and lungs full of air. Every bit of land is worked, neatly. A lot of it by hand. The villages are tidy and full of people watching and waving at these strangers doing non productive things.

Horse and cart is seen quite often. So avoid the fresh dung. Cars seem mainly new and higher end models. Outside both Alba Iulia and Sibiu posher apartments or houses are springing up.

Herds of cattle and sheep, the latter unshorn – in this heat? – tended to by men in traditional clothes. Slightly incongruous to see an old lady walking the street using crutch in one hand and carrying a sickle in the other. They laughed at us in a friendly way.

Salt

Lovely day. We passed a town Ocna Sibiului which is an ex salt mining and works area. The pools are now salt bathing areas, some saltier than the dead sea. We explore Sibiu tomorrow. In a restful way. More and serious climbing on Monday.

OE Day 26 Coltesti to Alba Iulia

A short mainly downhill ride. One steep little unexpected bump to remind the heart what it’s there for.

We quickly descended from the cool green hills and lush crops to the hotter and dryer plain. Bigger roads being build taking heavy traffic. Progress? Good to see things like refuse collectors doing rounds: life is normal everywhere. Few coffee opportunities so we got to Alba Iulia fairly smartly.

In time to look around another Hapsburg investment opportunity, the Alba Carolina Citadel (once a Roman camp too). No expense spared here with 20000serfs building it 1715-1738. A good diversion.

Undulating tomorrow so recovery time it is…

OE Day 25 Albac to Contesti 96km

The ride takes us further into Transylvania. Rolling road criss crossing with an old disused narrow gauge railway and both with the River Aries.

There is a fair amount of old industry along the way, mainly forestry related and possibly a Soviet Legacy. Old women all in head scarves and pinnys walk the road. The men seem to be engaged in a conversation that prevents them from moving.

Another Welsh weather and hill side day. Then we turn to go up to the small commune of Coltesti where we have a rest day. Most places have two names Romanian and Hungarian, reflecting the population.

OE Day 24 Beius to Albac 80km

A very different ride. Very green (later downpour explained that), hilly (1000m in 10 miles or so is OK by me). Lovely cooler temperature.

The villages are interesting.  Many houses have relatively bland fronts yet hint at richer Court yards and inner sanctums. Dotted with older people with rich lived in faces and shrunken jaws, skin baked from a life in the sun.  They wave generously yet must wonder what’s that got to do with the price of tomatoes.

Wood piles evidence the heating. It’s very mich like Swiss Alps. Not as pristine and perhaps the better for it.

Of course this may all be fueled by the evil blackberry liquor which was flowing at dinner. You don’t notice it until you stand up and find yourself on your knees.

Tomorrow back into the refreshing rain. Just like home.

Passenger