Brasov and the unexpected mini retreat
Our next planned route was to head towards Brasov which is located in the region of Transylvania surrounded by the Carpathian mountains. The weather was a bit cloudy but thankfully there was no rain when we left Bucharest. The first town we stopped at was Ploesti, which was 60km away, to rest and gather our strength before starting to climb the Carpathian Highlands. We found a really cheap hostel which just cost us RM45 for 2 people which was a real bargain but of course there was no WiFi or internet. When we moved on the next day we were caught completely off- guard by massive headwinds which lasted most of the day. My cycling computer was showing an average of 4-7kmh which was really burning us out. We managed to cover only 40km before we decided to call it a day. In the small village of Breaza we found a small restaurant & motel- stop, which was the cheapest we could find at RM 50 a night. Most of these cheap motels or hostels do not have internet services but are very pleasant for just a good night’s rest. The following morning when we were about to start, we were approached by Daniel Bujoreanu, who was on his way back to Brasov with his daughter (Iulia), who had decided to stop at the restaurant for breakfast. He was interested to know where we were from and our destination. When we told him we were heading for Brasov, he told us to come and visit and stay with him in Prejmer which was located about 15km from Brasov. We took down his details and told him we would give him call before we headed to his place.
After a few kilometers from Breaza we started to climb the Carpathian Highlands. We were told that there were a few challenging sections that would be really tough, but as we started climbing we found out the climb wasn’t that difficult and was much easier than expected. We then decided to stop and relax at Busteni just because it had a spectacular view of the mountains. Busteni is a popular winter retreat with activites like mountain – climbing and skiing. The following day was an easy day as it was only 30km to Brasov and it was mostly downhill for about 20km.
Instead of going in to Brasov we headed for Pejmer. Prejmer is small village with a population of about 7000. The main attraction of the village is the Tartlau Fortress which was built in 1212 by the Teutonic Knights. Daniel gave us a very warm welcome when we got to his place and he then showed us where we would be spending the night. What he showed us was one of the best places that I have stayed in, on this trip. He provided us with a cosy cabin all to ourselves which has its own fireplace, bathroom and complete with a home entertainment system. At first he built the cabin just for fun and for the family to have a place to relax, but now he has plans to rent it out as a summer retreat and also run something like a guesthouse. He is also working on a second cabin which is about 70% complete. For a full countryside experience Daniel also rear his own poultry and the chickens give him an unlimited supply of fresh farm eggs 🙂 (btw eggs are really expensive in Romania as it can go as high as RM1.50 per egg depending on the grade). He also grows his own potatoes and other crops just enough for personal consumption for the whole year. Daniel’s life story is truly amazing. He was an active big biker and stuntman. He is also a ski and para-gliding instructor but he has slowed down a lot due to injuries (he has broken more than 20 bones) and also with the arrival of his son Dan who is now 4 years old.
As we only planned to stay in Prejmer for 2 nights, we were ready to leave on the 3rd day but the weather turned on us and it started to rain and there were very strong winds. On the following day there was also a bit of snow falling and so we were held up for an extra 3 days, so it was like an unexpected mini – holiday. We spent 3 days just watching Dvd’s 🙂
Fate really played a big part on us meeting Daniel and we had a really good time at his place, and with his family. It was also my first countryside experience and is by far the best experience I’ve had so far on this trip. We are truly grateful and thankful for his kind and warm hospitality, something which we are not likely to forget. It really touches me to know that strangers, like Daniel, can show so much warmth and kind hospitality, in a turbulent world that we live in today. Thank you! May God bless you and your family.
Been wanting to watch this dvd ever since I found out about Ewan’s trip years back. Finally had the chance since Dan had the dvd. Super inspirational and very tough journey they had & very touching. Wish I could do something like that in the future :p