No, not that kind of high… Just 2150 meters above sea level.
Romania as a country is not exactly well known for its quality infrastructure, although, to be sure, that is relative. It is mostly serviceable, overall, if you don’t like your car too much. Which cannot be said for many a country on our fair planet. We have roads and stuff, although not great on the freeway front. We have yet to have a two lane road crossing the mountains, which generally creates bottlenecks when you try to drive to Transylvania and, further, to Western Europe.
In fact the bottle neck on the main Road coming to Bucharest from the west is called the Black Hill and it is dark and full of hairpin curves, which sucks when you are stuck behind a truck. It sucks even more at night when the visibility is awful. Accidents are exacerbated by the fact that frustrated drivers often pass recklessly when in a hurry. If you are not in a hurry, a rare case in these times of ours, you can cross the mountain on the scenic route. It may take two hours more, but the roads are almost empty and you can’t beat the view. Sometimes, as the saying goes, one should take the high road.
The high road in this case can be one of two. The older and better known is Transfăgărășan, made famous by Top Gear, back when Top Gear was good. The lesser known one, although it’s well… higher – the highest in Romania – is Transalpina. Both Roads were expensive and unnecessary wastes of resources by the government, one by the communist times the other by the ehm… let’s call them capitalist times. But since they are there now, it can be nice to drive. So I thought I would show the Glibs some pictures of my trip over the Transalpina. And yes, there are many such photos on the internet, many better ones, but these are mine and that’s the point.
Depending on the route taken, at first the road starts as a standard road between villages, although empty and off the beaten track.
Historically, the road is assumed to be ancient, first started who knows when as a path for taking sheep over the mountains. It was allegedly used by some Roman troops when fighting the Dacians. The Austrians though of making it a road in the 18th century. For most of its history it was just a mountain path, although wider than most such paths. The German army partially paved it with stone and gravel in the First World War, although it was not used much. Romania widened and improved the road in the 1930, when, although not fully paved, it could be crossed using an off-road vehicle.
Finally the road was fully paved between 2009 and 2015.
The maximum speed limit is 30, but you would not drive faster anyway given the windy nature. A man could have a lot of fun here on a motorbike. Not me off course, but a man could.
If you fancy a bite on the road, you can stop at a sheep station (stâna in Romanian) where you can eat polenta, sheep’s cheese, sour cream, and well… mutton. The mutton is a stew and a sort of never ending pot, which sits on a fire and meat is constantly added to cook in what is mostly its own fat and juices and some onion.
Where there are sheep there are sheep dogs.
Towards the end you go to lower altitudes when the forest starts again.
You can see lakes in the forest if that is your thing.
Or take a detour through the countryside,
The roads may not always be paved
And you can encounter some traffic.
You can visit a church build in 1100 over the ruins of a Roman mausoleum which was built over the ruins of a Dacian temple.
After a long day on the road you can stay at a nice hotel and golf course in Transylvania, in a quiet area far from the main road. This was the view from the room
Anyway this about covers it. A short trip through Romania. Can’t really think of an ending paragraph right now so I am going to leave it like this.