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Lacul Vidra - Transalpina Pass - Ranca - Petrosani - Pestera Bolii - Resita

Trip Details

Road Trip 2015
Date: Mon, 10/08/2015
Distance: 254km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Stratos
Photographers: Manolis
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Elias
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

About 5am I woke up, as it seemed to me that an animal was outside and was fumbling a bag. Perhaps it was my idea, I might have been affected by the footprints of wild boars I had seen in the area. Finally, I think it was nothing, and in the morning when we woke up, everything was in place.

At 7am we woke up almost simultaneously with Stratos. After all how could we avoid it, the narrowness of the site did not allow great flexibility of movement. The sun had not yet hit our tent and we could feel the cold! We wore what everyone had available and we left the tent to drink our coffee. Then we saw the incredible view of the lake, as we had not seen it before... the sun had not yet hit on her and a small layer of fog was over her in several places, as if it was on fire here and there! Gradually the sun began to illuminate from east to west, changing the colors and shades from cold to warm... We were stunned to look this awakening of nature...

When the sun came to our place, we began to collect things, and left the tent to dry because of the evening moisture, before we pack. Eventually we managed to depart at 9:15 a.m. on returning to the main road from the dirt road that we had crossed the day before... luckily it had not rained, because I do not know if we would be able to drive it muddy... I had an immense satisfaction and gratitude that I managed to materialize a small personal promise, solar 4 years old when I had first drove the freshly paved Transalpine Road. I wanted to spend the night in this part of Romania, making free camping. And finally this promise had now been made.

We started on the higher of Transalpine passage at 2145m. The route is now southern direction (towards Novaci). The sinuous road originally ran through a dense area of towering trees, while in a few kilometres we entered the alpine zone with the complete absence of trees. Because of the day the traffic on the road was minimal, making our driving completely enjoyable!!! 

The highest point of the route (Transalpine pass) signals the presence of wooden kiosk with food and souvenirs. In 2011 there was nothing... just a sign that informed us that we were on the point at issue. Things have changed a lot since then, making the appearance of the commercialization of the passage.

We made a short stop to admire the unique beauty of the green mountains of the southern Carpathian Mountains towering around. Fortunately it was relatively early and the crowd was minimal, so the landscape retained its charm... We left the crossing and continued to the village of Ranca, located a few kilometres in the south. It is a winter resort. However during summer some accommodations and restaurants are open to serve guests.

Driving to the Ranca, discussing -through the intercom- with Stratos about the next 2 days program that we would return to Athens. At that time I look at my watch and see that the month was 10, which meant that we will arrive home one day EARLIER!!! Something was wrong with the calculations... the recent changes in the work program and the relaxed travel arrangements, brought us in this situation!!! "We have to stop in Ranca for a coffee and with a clear mind to check again the days available and the alternative program..." I said to Stratos. 

Indeed we stopped in an open Pensiune - Restaurant. Searching the map for alternative route, unable to believe what was happening, different scenarios was coming in our minds... We decided to drive the 4th famous route of Romania, the TransSemenic Road. Before 3-4 days in internet communication with Mihai, he had proposed a specific path, which was recently paved. We had to reject this idea, as the road was very west, near Timisoara, in particular at Rasita. With new schedules, data is now changed. Our new plan was to return a few kilometres to the rear and at the intersection of Petrosani, to turn towards it, following the western route now. On this route we drive for a few kilometres in 2010, but due to circumstances we could not complete it. The new course was: Ranca - Petrosani - Hateg - Carasebes - Resita (about 200 km).

So we returned to the back, passing again from Transalpine Pass, until we were in the main junction of Transalpine Road, where we turned left, taking the western path. The route also overgrown with trees. Minimum traffic movement and the street in good condition. A few kilometres further, we found ourselves on the borders of two neighbouring prefectures. The negative was that from there a dirt road started (about 5-10chlm) due to road construction! Very carefully we passed and soon we were about 20-30chlm before Petrosani, where a beautiful drive was starting in a canyon alongside the river Jiet.

At some point one small waterfall attracted our attention, so we stopped to take some photos. The truth is that when the new paving is complete, then the choice of direction for driving the crossing of Transalpine Road will be a puzzle for strong solvers!!!

The Petrosani, we passed almost without stopping. Having already seen such beautiful medieval towns in Transylvania, it seemed very little to our eyes. Perhaps worthy attraction to visit is the main pedestrian street of the city... at least from the little that we saw... 

Out of Petrosani and with tags for Hateg, the road was excellent making driving comfortable despite that the temperature began to rise... the truth is that we had descend height enough! Soon we came across a sign for Banita and Pestera Bolii. The area was marked on the map as a landmark due to a cave and a fortress. We decided to visit, so we turned right from the main road just before the Banita river bridge.

After 4-5km we got out of the cave. We parked our bikes and we got tickets for the visit to the cave. The helpful clerk suggested we leave the helmets and jackets in the shade and will watch it, so we do not carry theme. About 50 stairs leading to the cave entrance. 

The river Banita, entering the cave, crossing it from one end to another. The cave is about 2.5 km but only 450 meters are open to visitors. Foundings are there up to the Neolithic Age. Inside, the small wooden suspension bridges lead you almost to the end of its interior. Because I wore the boots and I could walk through the waters, I managed to get to the exit of the cave, where a small trail leading to the country road that leads to point ticket vendors. Very interesting presentation of the monument dedicated to Saint Barbara, that helps people who work in mines.

The cave is connected with a legend: the elderly residents tell that in the area is buried treasures of the ancient inhabitants of the region, the Daci, who hide him to protect him from the Roman conquerors. The legend says that is protected by a curse. Those who have tried to reveal it finding the secret passages in the cave, they failed to return. Locals said that some nights, "magical" bonfires illuminate the hills, where is buried the precious gold, but the ghosts of Daci, change its location, every time someone tries to reveal the secret location.

The only sure thing is that, while knowing that it is a simple legend, that has nothing to do with the reality, when you visit the place you feel strange... In any case, the legends achieves their role in traffic part and really deserves to anyone found there.

We left the cave and drove the route Hateg - Carasebes to arrive in Resita town. The route generally crossed the plains, and in some places was very beautiful, like after Carasebes. Both our not so restful sleep the previous day and the elevated temperature forced us to stop for a coffee at the road edge, in one of the few shadows encountered.

At 5.30pm we entered in Resita. Based on some plates, we tried to approach the center, so we came to the main avenue. The architecture was not like any other of the cities that we used on our trip. Squared tall buildings, most unpreserved reminding the times of past "Eastern Bloc". We drove along the avenue, incase we could find some accommodation.

Some small signs on electricity columns, informed us of the existence of 3* "Hotel Dusan si Fiul". We decided to try it as within the city we did not see any other option. The drive up there was very comfortable, and in general the city had no traffic. After a short time we managed to find the hotel, which at the begining seemed closed... Not one vehicle in the parking. We not intimidated and we went to the reception where a lady showed us a double room. The price was 35 euro and the room was in good condition... clean and new. From the window you had a panoramic view of the city. The lower level of the building was a huge restaurant -most likelly a event hall I would say, that seemed closed, although it was paved as if they were waiting a wedding.

Anyway we took a bath and prepared for eating. The truth is that the restaurant didnt look right to us, although when I asked the employee he said that it was open. We decided to go downtown to find something to eat. We went only with one motorcycle, he had left one suitcase each on each bike, so we loaded both on mine and went with Stratos bike. 

Following the signs for "Centru", we were in a rectangular square. On one side was the central avenue started and on the other was a communist type rectangular building, a remnant of times past. The only nice point was the modern fountain create an aquatic game! People sitting around the square, observing the ones passing by. The city was known for its metallurgical plant and for manufacturing trains. So everything was rigged around that. The Resita was and also showing what it was, an industrial city in decline... Interesting was an outdoor train engine museum located near the city center and is open almost 24 hours a day.

We took a walk in a research of a restaurant. After a failed attempt at a pizzeria that we did not sit since it was closing (it was only 9pm !!!), we found the Pizzaria del Centro, which was a very nice cafe-pizzeria with pleasant employees and sophisticated environment. The behaviour of the staff and the shop it seemed to us like a fly to the milk, in despite to the first impression we had... We ate pizza which was delicious and cheap.

Returning to the hotel at 11pm everything was closed. At some point we thought that they might have locked the main entrance of the hotel as well. We did not met anyone. We went to the room and lie down in a comfortable bed... I do not know if it was so comfortable or we were so tired...