Due to the COVID-19 situation, at the time of the trip Romania was the only country neighboring Bulgaria that we could visit without a PCR test or quarantine after coming back home.
So, even though we had already visited our northern neighbor, we decided to take a quick three-day tour.
Sofia – Cluj-Napoca
Traditionally we get up early and by 05:00 we are already traveling. We quickly cross the Petrohan Pass and continue to Vidin and Danube Bridge 2. Around 09:00 we are already in Romania and continue to Transalpina (more information about the pass
in the previous trip). Right around noon we are at the top of the passage, where we have lunch with mamaliga prepared on a wood stove (initially we decided that the balls on the stove are pears – well, they turned out to be mamaliga balls). Going down from the north side we pass a herd of donkeys and people who feed them all sorts of things. The donkeys are so used to tourists that they are ready to take the bite out of their mouths. We continue to Cluj-Napoca, where we find a place to sleep.
Cluj-Napoca – Motocamp Sibiu
Again early in the morning we take a tour of the city (below the photos there is a description of what can be seen on them) and continue to the salt mine in Turda.
We enter the mine through the old entrance – a 280 meter long tunnel, the walls of which are covered with salt. They are so smooth that we initially decided that they were coated with some resin and there was no other way but lick for inspection – it’s salt! The mine has a new entrance for tourists, but it is much busier.
One of the first halls is the echo hall. It is 112 meters deep.
In the next hall are the original remains of the facility that was used to extract salt from the depths of the mine. Horses and a complex system of ropes and reels were used to drive it. Some of them are still in the mine and serve as exhibits. After pulling the salt crystals from the lower levels, they are loaded into trolleys and brought to the surface. Most of the machines are made of wood to withstand salt.
Stairs go down the reels and ropes passing through the floor of the hall, leading to a balcony overlooking the two lower galleries of the mine. One – about 15 floors below is the Rudolph Hall. There are amusement facilities – a Ferris wheel, bowling, mini golf, table tennis and more. The ceiling of the hall is covered with salt stalactites. The hall itself can be reached either by stairs or by a panoramic elevator.
Another 13 floors down is the lake with the boats – yes there is a lake in the mine. After getting off the elevator, cross a wooden bridge and reach an island in the middle of the lake. From there you can take a boat.
Next is a trip to Motocamp near Sibiu – a great motorcycle friendly place.
As early as 6:00 in the morning we set off for Transfagaras.
After drinking the morning coffee at the top of the pass we set off for Bucharest and Bulgaria. Close to the Romanian capital we find ourselves in another huge traffic jam. Just like last year, when the radiator of my father’s motorcycle burst, this one was not without problems. This time my BMW decided to overheat, which led to an unforeseen break in the middle of nowhere, under the only tree in the area. Fortunately, after it cooled down, we continued safely.
We enter Bulgaria through the Danube bridge. The Bulgarian reality catches up with us right in the middle of the bridge: The bridge on the Romanian side is perfect, but unfortunately, as soon as we cross the middle of the river and the sign Bulgaria, we are immediately met by potholes and rust …