Miguel, Juan, Miki and Fran, members of the La Secta MTB , arrived from Palma de Mallorca to enjoy a mountain biking Holiday week into the Romanian Carpathians. This time we designed a personalized tour, passing from Rodnei National Park to Calimani National Park, a 5 days of mountain bike riding, with almost 250 km in total, and +7500 m of climbing, most of the time above 1000 m with a high physical and technical demand.
After a delay, caused by the loss of the flight from Munich to Cluj-Napoca, we finally arrived at the Hotel Alpina Blazna Mountain Spa at dawn.
The next day we took an extra hour of sleep and prepared to face the first stage of 40 km and 1400 m +, starting the day with an enduro downhill that took us to the village of Sant, to ascend again to the Rodnei mountains, where we had a summer storm with a refreshing shower as an extra bonus.
After a long descent we reached Rodna, where we had a well deserved refreshment and kept going, to finish, ascending almost 600 m of altitude that separate the village of Sant and Alpina Blazna, where we enjoyed, ones, by a dip in the pool and others, by a delicate repair of one of the bikes. But in good company and with a beer in between, all’ s well when ends well. A delicious dinner with traditional romanian dishes and a comfortable bed were the premises to enjoy a deserved delight.
The second day, after breakfast we started on a journey through the border between Transylvania and Bucovina, with 55 km and 1600 m of climbing, ending in the quiet village of Lunca Ilvei, through wild forests and large pasture areas, with some other encounter with the shepherd dogs and accompanied by the ideal weather to ride a bike, throughout the journey time.
In Lunca Ilvei, our host Grigore expected us, a retired judge with a lots of character, who greeted us with the best dishes of the Romanian cuisine and a mixed grill that was a challenge for our hungry stomachs.
The third day, after a spectacular breakfast that transported us to our childhood in the village, with real fresh cow milk, natural yoghurt and a delicious blueberry pie, Grigore accompanied us to take a walk in the magnificent surroundings of the house, a preamble to the longest stage of the week.
After a hard climb, passing to remote villages, we reached the top of the Bârgăului Mountains plateau. The weather was perfect and being the ideal time for making hay, we where lucky to experience this traditional lifestyle of the locals. After several up and downs, the final descent took us to the hidden village of Leşu, where we paused to regain strength and face the last part of the stage. From here we had a long ascent on a forestry road, that we made it very fast, in race style. We finally reached the gates of Count Dracula hotel, located at 1200 m in the Tihuta Pass, that connects from centuries the two historical regions of Transylvania and Bucovina.
A fabulous dinner and a walk to the viewpoint from the impressive Cross near the Piatra Fântânele Monastery, ended a sunny day that took its toll on our bodies and lefted our souls in the hands of the Count ……
After breakfast and some shopping at the local market, we took the bikes and we went through the viewpoint of the cross , to see during daytime the mountain ranges landscape from a privileged place, sprinkled with thousand legends.
With the accumulated fatigue in our legs, we set off towards the Calimani Mountains, along the spectacular Via Maria Theresia trail.
Before facing the most extreme ascent of the week, we regained energy next to a spring of carbonated mineral water, we came up with bikes to the back to get to the hut of shepherds where we could appreciate their austere lifestyle and enjoyed the privilege to test their products made out of sheep milk and taste the famous Balmos, that helped us to continue the path to the highest point of the trip, almost 1700m.
One last look back and we moved into a dizzying descent that would leave us to the shores of the Colibita lake.
At the lake cottage await us Alina, Mihaela and the small Iliian, being in charge of looking after us the last two days, as the family grows.
A watermelon enjoyed in the garden, a swim in the lake and a dinner with traditional dishes like eggplant cream or the famous Sarmales was just what we needed.
The last day we planed to do a circular trip, with less difficulty in order to prepare for the trip back home. But it would be a shame not to visit the Fairies Lake and taking into account the guys high physical level, we designed a stage with about 40 km, adding another loop to the initial planned trip.
We returned to the Calimani Mountains, where the majestic forests of Romania surprised us again.
After a sandwich at the lakeside, we went back to the lake house where we packed the bikes and prepared for a trout barbecue , which sealed the end of a journey, beginning as strangers and ending as friends.
Thank you for trusting us!
Carpathian Dreams team : Ilian, Alina, Mihaela, Calin and Marcos.