I stayed two nights in Camping Eldorado. Waking up the first morning, the overnight rain was still lashing down, the campsite resembled a mini lake. So rather than drive in the torrential rain I stayed put, cleaning the inside of the van and planning where to go next.
Although there’s lot to see in Romania three places seemed interesting to me. Sighisoara, Dracula’s birthplace and a town full of traditional buildings. The Gorges at Bicaz and the nearby lakes and the Transfagarasan Pass & Vidraru dam. As I was in the region of Transylvania Sighisoara seemed a good place to start.
I had few details of any campsites in Sighisoara, but there were two marked on the Michelin map, I’d just have to take a chance when I arrived. In the end I found a small camping area, part of an old villa dating back to 1897. Villa Franka was at the top of a very steep hill about three kilometres from the town centre. Quiet and with good facilities it made a good stop apart from being at the top of the hill. I spent a pleasant evening there and slept well. In the morning I decided to drive into town and find somewhere to park, while I had a good look round. However I noticed a sign for a camping site I’d missed the night before, Aquaris Camping, only a few hundred metres from town. It seemed to make sense to park up at the camping site then spend the day wandering before spending a second night in Sighisoara, which is exactly what I did.
Sighisoara was interesting with old buildings, castles and churches all very medieval. There were lots of souvenir sellers, but most were housed in older traditional buildings so they didn’t distract from the overall feel of the place. I visited Dracula’s birthplace, at least the plaque on the wall said it was, and wandered through the cobbled streets of the medieval section taking lots of photo’s. Returning to the campsite I bumped into an English couple that are cycling around Europe and who I’d first met in Gilau. We shared a beer and talked for an hour or so. Then I settled down to enjoy another peaceful night.
I had to decide which place to visit next, it was difficult as one was to the northeast the other south. In the end I headed northeast to Bicaz, the Gorge and the lakes. The roads were much better than I expected, the drive enjoyable through rich forest. I came first to Lacu Rosu (Red Lake) but was somewhat disappointed. The water was a dark muddy brown, not red at all. The name of the lake comes from the reddish alluvia deposited in the lake by the Red Creek. The lake is 8 kilometres long and about 300 metres wide, originally caused by a 19th century landslide. I continued along the DN12C road and came to the Bicaz Canyon. The Canyon is a narrow pass linking Transylvania and the historical region of Moldavia. It’s said to be one of the most spectacular drives in Romania, but although it would be on a par with England's Cheddar Gorge it seemed small in comparison to the Todra and Dades Gorges of Morocco, although both a are important rock climbing destinations and attract large numbers of tourists. After a long day I retraced some of my route until I reached Sovata and booked into Vasskert Camping, a beautiful small campsite in a perfect location. I’m taking a rest here before setting off for the Transfagarasan Pass, which Jeremy Clarkson of television’s “Top Gear” programme rated as one of the best driving roads in the world, I’m looking forward to it.
It seems I've been travelling for most of my life.
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