Sunday 19th to Saturday 25th May
Edirne – MotoCamp Bulgaria – Corbi Ami – Bran Castle – Targus Mure – Turda
Sunday 19/05/19 – Ride Day: Edirne to MotoCamp Bulgaria
It’s goodbye to Turkey this quiet Sunday morning as we get away early after aother ‘day long’ breakfast and head west for the border to enter the EU once again. This was a bit of a baffling experience as we negotiated no less than 6 border control booths with each one of them going over the same paperwork with the same “These are your registration papers, where are your moto papers?” “In Australia they are one and the same” “No, you must have different papers” and around and around we’d go. We got through eventually. And headed north west.
Now the reason we’ve headed in that direction and not due west for Plovdiv as planned, is because our trusty Moto Guzzi has developed an annoying oil leak/weep from up in behind the left hand cylinder, not bad but just enough to be messy. I have a fair idea that the problem is a weeping oil pressure sensor unit and I’m not impressed as it’s been a recurring issue with the big block Guzzis since 2001, SO WHY HAVEN’T THEY FIXED IT? So we’re going to MotoCamp Bulgaria where they have a workshop I can use and accommodation we can stay at.
MotoCamp Bulgaria is located in the village of Idilevo, about 35 km north of central most Bulgarian town of Gabrovo. Hidden in the heart of the Balkan Mountains, far from the madness of the modern world, Idilevo has less than 100 residents who happily live in a village that time has forgotten. MotoCamp Bulgaria is a motorbike centric establishment that offers all sorts of services to travelers such as us.
So that’s the plan for today. Pretty much immediately we encountered what has become the norm for these ex-communist countries, and that is that the roads leave a whole lot to be desired unless you’re on a freeway, and I don’t like travelling on freeways very much because I find them boring. So we put up with the patches on the patches on the patch, or played dodge the pothole while traveling through some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen, and that includes New Zealand.Sorry Kiwis but it’s true.
We rode Shipka Pass which is a scenic mountain pass through the Balkan Mountains and is famous for the Battle Of Shipka Pass that took place in the late 1800’s between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. We stopped halfway up for a coffee brew and enjoyed the scenery.
Before continuing on to the top of the Pass where we visited Shipka Monument that commemorates those who fought and died in the above mentioned battles.
Then on to MotoCamp Bulgaria.
I pulled the tank off the bike and moved the air box out of the way. Just as I thought, a leaking oil pressure sensor. It actually leaks from around the terminal shroud so I devised a fix with JB Weld on the inside and epoxy glue on the outside, then let it set hard overnight.
It had been a big day and so it was thoroughly enjoyable to bask in the quiet of this out of the way place.
245klms for the day.
Monday 20/05/19 – Lay Day: MotoCamp Bulgaria
Today I put everything back together but only time will tell if my fix has worked. I’m a little skeptical as it’s not easy to thoroughly clean an oily anything so I’m not sure if the glues will hold well enough to properly seal the leak. I carry a reasonable tool kit so had all the tools I needed except for a 21mm open end spanner.
The rest of the day was spent doing nothing.
Tuesday 21/05/19 – Ride Day: MotoCamp Bulgaria to Corbi Ami
After a lovely breakfast and goodbyes to Ivo and Polley we headed east through Veliko Tarnovo to have a quick look at their famous fortifications.
Then onto Popovo for leisurely 30 minutes sitting with the locals and watching the world go by before heading north for Ruse and the crossing into Romania. The roads hadn’t improved any.
The border crossing at Ruse was the usual which I’ve come to expect because of our one paper ownership/registration. The customs / passport control to leave Bulgaria is shared with the customs / passport control to enter Romania with the 2 officials seated in the same booth but each with their own window 1 meter apart. It didn’t stop the Romanian guy being totally confused even though he’d just watched and heard the Bulgarian guy go through it all. Some people eh.
We stopped at what was a roadside hotel/restaurant/reception establishment for the night having covered 280klms. I had their much recommended roasted mutton for dinner. Now I enjoy mutton having been raised on the best in Otamatea County, but this was a bad mistake, it was ‘as tough as old goats knees’- I told them so as well.
Wednesday 22/05/19 – Ride Day: Corbi Ami to Bran
No breakfast this morning so on the road by 8am towards Targoviste where we stopped for a magnificent breakfast next to this tower and park.
We headed towards the distant snow capped mountain range and passed these cooling towers, I’ve no idea what they’re for but there was enough of them, so I reckon they’ve got the formula right.
On up into the hills and the temperature was dropping but the roads were improving as we came to the town of Sinaia with its monastery.
And Peles Castle
And just up the road Pelisor Castle with its Knights House
And so onto Bran and the infamous Bran Castle. We actually did the tour and now we know why we don’t do tours – like sheep in a dipping race. Not doing that again.
And this pic taken from our hotel window at midnight – didn’t see any bats, nor hear any Were Wolves. A pleasant ride of 190klms with some nice corners thrown in.
Thursday 23/05/19 – Ride Day: Bran to Targu Mures
After a fairly good breakfast we togged up in preparation for the rain that never came until the very moment we stepped into our cheap (and a little nasty – you can’t win ’em all) accommodation at Targu Mures; but we won that one.
We took the back road into Brasov which was a lovely ride on a near deserted and well made road. This took us to the 600 year old Black Church of Brasov. We took a pic or two and continued on.
This was a good road and a pleasant ride even though there were plenty of trucks to overtake. A friend had suggested we take a slight detour and call into the hamlet of Hoghiz which I’d set into TomTom. When the turnoff came I couldn’t remember the significance of the place. I soon figured it out when I looked up, they were everywhere. These pics are ‘grabbed’ from GoPro footage.
And so we continued on through villages and hamlets and the odd small town that were sadly all pretty rundown and dilapidated and with mostly old folk to be seen. We also passed a number of these. Once again GoPro grabs. These guys would kill for an old Ford Station Wagon.
The kid in the bottom pic got his ear clipped for daring to turn and look at us as we passed. Come on Dad, let him dream a little.
Our next stop was the ancient town of Sighisoara which is quite sizable with over 28,000 people. We got lost again but managed to negotiate the narrow twisted and cobble stoned back way into the center of the old fortress town. Big heavy road bikes are not made to travel such goat tracks, but once you’re on them there’s no going back. We celebrated our hairy ride with coffee and apple and raisin pie. There were lots of tourists about. We took our pics with the rest and left by a much more sensible route albeit still narrow and cobble stoned, but reasonably straight forward.
Only about 50klms to Targu Mures and with clouds threatening precipitation we ride past this. It’s a pity I can neither remember nor find where it was, but it was there never the less.
And so into Targu Mures just before a rain. A pleasant ride of 208klms plus 2klms of goat track.
Friday 24/05/19 – Lay Day: Targu Mures
We started the day by finding a car wash and washing the bike, it’s the first decent wash it’s had on the trip so far – there’s no better looking bike than nice clean Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport Rosso Corsa SE ABS. Oh no there’s not, so don’t get me going 🙂
I was thinking the cooling stacks behind looked very nuclear, but they’re not and I can’t find out what they are.
In the afternoon we went sightseeing around the town center. There are some very nice buildings in this town. Get ready.
Saturday 25/05/19 – Ride Day: Targu Mures to Turda
Early breakfast, loaded and on the road. It had rained overnight and there was more promised, but we made it to Turda on a dry secondary road and managed to book into our €32 well appointment and immaculate 2 bedroom apartment early, before visiting the ageless Salina Turda. A 750m access tunnel brought us to a huge gallery that had once been a salt mine. Recently a vain attempt at turning it into a type of theme park had been undertaken. It was cheap to get into though 20Ron, about A$7.
Our intention was to visit the much talked about Cheile Turzil natural reserve.
But it started to bucket down so we stayed at home – after all the Guzzi is clean, and I needed to post this week’s blog. Only 110klms today
Tomorrow it’s on to Sebes at the head of the Transalpina Highway, hopefully it’s open. Stay tuned.