From Cirta, we climbed 18 non-stop ascending miles up the Transfagarasan Highway to Balea Lac
. The Transfagarasan is a well-known road among sports-car drivers. Top Gear apparently rated it as one of the best roads in the world for driving and I can see why. With a gazillion switch-backs at an average 7% grade and just enough texture to provide traction, this road would be oodles of fun in a Ferrari. On a bicycle, it was aerobically challenging but the view was spectacular. Once at the top, we were treated to an open-air market with a variety of foods that would've made Anthony Bourdain salivate. I managed to try a few but had to pass on the pig skin. We had trout from the lake that night at dinner and lingered over coffee while watching rain come down on the lake around us. The temperature was a cool 52 degrees.
This morning everyone dressed in their cool weather gear for the descent. After convoying through a dark tunnel for approximately 1000 meters, we carefully made our way down the switchbacks (wish I could say I careened down the mountain but given the unpredictable road surface and unpredictable drivers, I thought caution was my best option).
So tonight we find ourselves in Curtea de Arges, a small, seemingly thriving city where we are staying at the Posada Hotel (isn't that redundant?) I'm off to the rider meeting and dinner, fueling for a long day tomorrow.
And so, tomorrow we ride again...:-)
What a difference a couple of days makes! After spending the night in a hot campsite with no water (they finally got water that night - see picture below), we made our way to Cirta for our last camping night. Most of the riders were very glad to see the end of camping - we also celebrated Mick's birthday and Bonny's last night to cook. Personally, I was a little sad to know there'll be no more camping on our trip. Though I don't like rolling up my Thermarest in the morning or traipsing to a bathroom across camp in the middle of the night, I DID enjoy looking at the stars at night (I ditched the rainfly as the weather got warmer) and listening to the sounds of night. I especially enjoyed our last night when a thunderstorm rolled in and I was lulled to sleep by a steady patter of rain in my now weatherproof tent (thanks to some seam-sealer acquired in Vienna).