We woke up around 09:00 am. The weather was dull reminding autumn. So, we started by crossing the city. By the day light I realized that things had been changed even more. Buildings were constructed or renovated, asphalt was applied over roads – previously stone paved -, sidewalks were reconstructed, even houses dad been demolished in order streets to be widened. Luckily we didn’t face much traffic, so soon enough we took the road for Otopeni airport.
Having left the full of memories Bucharest, he headed towards Ploiesti. In many parts the road crossed overgrown areas, while in other parts big meadows, making driving pleasant beside the fact that we were on a highway. Having traveled 60 km, we arrived outside Ploistei, at the point where one should choose direction of the city’s peripheral road. In any case we didn’t want to pass through the city center. Before that, we decided to make a small stop for the first coffee of the day since we had left the capital completely “dry”.
We continued our journey, choosing the west direction of the peripheral road, towards Brasov. In 2010, with George, we had chosen the east one, which I thought was longer and not so good. So having METRO superstore as mark place, we found the way (north part of the peripheral road) that led to the crossroad for Valenni de Munte. This route – also- led to Brasov. In fact it is parallel to the one passing from Sinaia. The difference is that the road is narrower, crossing more woodlands and more “provincial”. Another important reason of this specific choice was that Stratos had never made this route before.
During our first kilometers we passed by small poor, but, tidy villages. The central road crossing them, gave us the opportunity to notice their house architecture: usually of one floor, with rather high tiled or zinc roof, sometimes creating small attics, painted in various colors, with one central door, high enough for horses to get through ( mostly in old times) and usually with small gardens. Generally this was the typical look of Transylvania villages, in some parts more intense and in others less.
One of the things that I had forgotten about this route, is the presence of many trucks!! And I really mean many!! I couldn’t understand how such a road was being used so much, while there was an alternative one in a much better condition… Last time we had taken this route, we had been told, that due to constructions, there was a truck traffic ban, so in my mind their presence was occasional. Unfortunately, it was not like that… There were parts where we could overtake, but without enjoying the trip and without making many stops for photographs, since we knew what would expect us if the vehicles overtaken before, overtook us…!
Despite all these, the landscape was unique, rewarding us! The road passed by green lands with fir trees, while just before Cheia village, we found ourselves in a plateau meadow. One small flowing river, created the best conditions for camping. There were also other free campers. The whole scenery attracted us like magnet and we stopped to have a quick instant coffee. If we knew about this place earlier, we would have definitely rearranged our program.
Little further – basically in the village – there were lodges and even more camp tents, without however any organized camping place. From that point and on, the route started downgrading from 1300 meters, becoming even more impressive. The vegetation was more intense and the sinuous road made driving enjoyable and not at all tiring. The road surface was better. Maybe it is better to approach Cheia from Brasov, rather from Ploiesti, in case someone would like to visit this area.
As we had visited Brasov in the past, we didn’t want to lose much time. Basically, because our Romanian friends were out of town, we decided to simply pass through. So, at Sacele village, we followed the signs for Tarlungeni and after that Bacau.
Little after the impressive village of Prejmer, a characteristic one of Transylvania, we took the road to Bacau and Sfantu Gheorghe. After few kilometers we met the crossroad for Sfantu Gheorghe and Toplita, where a beautiful course also started. During its most part this route met yellow meadows, while all around we could see green mountains. We found ourselves in beautiful and well-arranged villages with the classic local traditional architecture. The road condition was excellent, making driving fun.
At Baile Tusnad we made a stop and directed towards its small lake. I found this place from internet and some of its pictures drove my attention. Following a paved street we arrived at the lake, close to which there was a building surrounded by people. Inside there were pools, where locals enjoyed moments of freshness. Apparently its existence was related to the thermal baths of the area. Unfortunately, the lake seemed abandoned. The building located almost in its center, was left behind… The area had enough lodges but not so many restaurants or cafeterias.
We decided to continue since we had still enough kilometers to make. The route followed the same pattern, sometimes with more and others with less vegetation. After passing the town of Miercurea-Ciuc, we continued following the signs to Gheorgheni. Due to the cloudy weather the temperature was perfect for travelling.
Entering Georgheni, you felt like living in another era. The old and traditional buildings gave a special feeling to the city. We took the central road and afterwards we followed the startling road to lake Lacul Rosu. The route was passing through an overgrown area, with height up to 1300m. From several points you could enjoy the unique view of the region and perceive the incredible beauty of this country’s mountains.
We arrived around 7p.m. at the “Red Lake”, as Lacul Rosu is translated. The name comes from the red color of the surrounding soil. However, during our visit the calm waters had a green color and reflected the trees of the mountains around. The lake is also known for its petrified logs, which were found in this condition once the area floated. The natural landscape and the sight created are impressive!
We decided to make a night stop on the region, instead of keeping on. Besides the sun was already starting to set, and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Bicaz pass, few meters away. So, we started searching for accommodation. Following a small dirt road we found ourselves at Pensiunea Teo. We rented a small house (250 RON dinner and breakfast included). The place also had a small pool and restaurant. We had a delightful super with local plates and then a wonderful and refreshing sleep that we needed so much.