Friday 28.8.2015 Countries:15 456km Total:5697km
Apart from a few photos of the hotel room the only tourist pic I have from Serbia is of the sign at the border saying "goodbye" but it's also one of the most satisfying pictures I've ever taken.
The hardest part was not replying "anywhere but here" when the Serbian border police inquired about our intended destination.
By now we've realized that we have set our goals to high about the mileage we would be able to cover the rest of our journey and with few "rest days" to spare we decided to skip Bucharest completely and instead try to cover the scenic roads with a base camp in Sibiu.
It seemed like the obvious choice seeing that the country have some of the most celebrated scenic roads in the world, one of them being the Transfăgărășan highway which according to the TV show Top Gear is the best road in the world.
I know I keep going on about the heat but throughout the trip it has pretty much been a daily occurrence that the sweat starts pouring from you the minute you step out of the hotel and doesn't stop until you're in the shower at the next one in the evening. This day is no exception.
The orginal plan was to go to Sibiu via the Transalpina, celebrated my motorcyclists across the world as one the greatest mountain passes but luckily we'd already realized that it would be overly ambitious border lining stupidity to try and do that today.
When we've come to the outskirts of the town Timisoara it's past lunchtime and coming from another country/currency and far and wide out of the Eurozone the constant dilemma is payment.
We stop outside a seemingly posh restaurant and I go in and talk to the waiter.
I could almost touch the fear glowing in his eyes from the minute I opened my mouth until I stopped talking.
I was as if every word I spoke was some kind of exotic torture device but instead of a confession he decided that the quickest way to end the pain was to answer everything with the word no.
That included my question about the availability of an ATM which didn't seem very likely in a city roughly the size of Malmoe (Swedens third largest town).
I just can't keep focusing on navigation, insane traffic and that my traveling companions are keeping up and at the same time keeping an eye out for an ATM so I leave the bikes and double back on foot while contacting my support crew (brother) about the local currency.
I hadn't the slightest idea so making a withdrawal completely blind felt like it would have resulted in one of two things, either I wouldn't even get enough money for a hotdog at a petrol station or the machine would light up with words jackpot ringing in the display.
Even so it turn out more like the latter since the highest denomination was 50RON (roughly €10) and I thought I might as well get enough to cover the entire stay in the country which I estimated at about €400.
But now I can at least return to my sleep and hydration-deprived compadres with a pocket full of food stamps and reconnaissance at a kebab-shop with the words kebab and pepsi written all over the wall.
If the previous waiters language skills is anything to go by I though I would at least be able to score my first Romanian yes by pointing at those words because by now we have long since past the point of arguing about a limited menu.
It was a successful mission even though I must admit I pretty much pressed down my kebab without even chewing since we had to park the bikes in a neighbourhood that didn't really have the "secure parking" feel.
Again with the preconceptions, I know.
Of course the bikes where ok.
Romania 1 VS My prejudices 0.
Even if the rest of the ride to what might have been the finest hotel of the trip, the Ramada in Sibiu it has been a very long days ride so pretty much immediately upon arrival we agree to spend the entire weekend in Sibiu. Unfortunately the Ramada couldn't extend out stay so I book the rest of the weekend at the Libra hotel which due to some kind of convention in town was the only place that could have us.
We also collectively decide we're to tired to go restauranthunting so me just freshen up and by the slightest possible margin make the hotel restaurants last order at 10PM.
Saturday 29.8.2015 331km Total:6028km
We move our gear over to the bagade room at Libra. We might aswell benefit from the fact that we for once would end up the same place we started and not have to lug around fully laiden bikes all day. The Lady have decided to skip todays riding and have a day of rest and sightseeing in Sibiu.
When it's time to head of for Transalpine (which was where I at least thought we were going) I realize my shades are missing, the real ones, not the psycadelic kaleidoscope shades I bought in Podgorica.
The Bear is restless to get moving and can't really grasp why I'm making such a big deal out of it since I still have a pair.
I don't really agree with a direct comparison between a €10 pair of crap shades and a pair of Ray Bans. I like my Ray Bans. I like them very much, so much in fact that now I'm in full on war mode.
The Lady who is still at the Ramada (which must be where I lost them) have in the mean time checked my room only to find that it's already been cleaned and no killer shades are to be found.
I refuse to let it go and go back to look for myself.
By now The Lady have already checked with the hotel staff which have started their own investigation resulting in me five minutes later being reunited with my beloved Ray Bans.
I have to admit I never thought I'd see them again, I thought it would have been more like that I'd just sponsered the coolest cleaning lady in all of Romaina.
Romaina 2 VS My prejudices 0.
Now we can finally head of towards the Trans...alpina we still thought until we get to the first tankstop and I realize that the GPS:s routed us onto some kind of cattle track stright west onto the middle of the Transalpina pass. We had of course intended to do the whole thing.
Change of plans. We are now in fact closer to the Transfăgărășan so we reverse the order in which we planned since that would mean we'd only ridden about 16kms in the wrong direction (which I might add is the gravest navigational error I've made in the 5000kms thus far).
There's a taverna right at the start of the Transfaga where we stay for lunch.
I walk in and ask about the menu in english which gives the waiter some kind of empty thousand yard stare and yells out a name.
The name and it's subsequent owner turns up whereby the empty stare waiter points at me and says the word tourist in a pronounciation that sounded like english to me.
He then disappears so quickly that I don't even get to explain to him that I'm am far from fluent in tourist and still consider myself somewhat of a layman.
We get our fill and heads out onto what Top Gear and Jeremy Clarksson have named as the best road in the world.
The show has 350 miljon viewers all over the world and today is saturday.
I don't really know what I was expecting and I definately didn't think we'd be alone on the road but this is almost ridiculous.
I thought Stelvio was overcrowded with slow moving campers, rv:s and other spawns of satan but that was nothing compared to this.
The are vehicles absolutely everywhere, they're either slow moving on the road, off the road, parked on the road or there are people barbecuing and/or drinking beer.
Parking is wherever and whenever you like. Something to see? Just stop the car in the middle of the road and get out.
With the mornings irritation about the sunglasses barely subsided I gravely overreact to the bear overtaking.
We have very different riding styles on these kinds of roads the bear and I.
If I happen to catch up with a car riding the least bit predictably and at a reasonable speed I'm well and happy to tuck in behind and just admire the view.
The Bearminators stance is more of: twisting road, vehicle driving below speed limit equals: target:aquired followed by race mode: activated.
That's why when we get to roads like these I always suggest he takes the lead.
He always refuses but still opts to overtake.
I really hate the overly aggressive driving style of most motorcyclists in this region as they more or less force their way through traffic but I really can't say what trigged my reaction, there was nothing the slightest bit wrong with his driving, he just wanted to drive faster then I was going.
I guess it was just one of those days and I decide that it's every man for himself and just ride on when he stops a few kms up the road.
It was very immature and definately not my finest hour.
Still, apart from the fact that the bear felt a bit guilty and I was raging like a spoilt child I think we both benifited from being able to ride in our own respective ways and when I've cooled down (which I'm ashamed to admit took as long as couple of hours) I stop to let the bear catch up.
To add insult to percived injury it took considably less time than I would have liked.
By now it's almost 5.30PM. Riding the Transfagarasan have taken roughly three times as long as we hade expected and now we have to decide if we're to take the quickest way back to the hotel or stick with the original plan and head home over the Transalpina with the risk of it getting dark somewhere on top of the pass.
Something that even the webpage Dangerous roads states is inadvisable.
We opt for the mature choise which turns out to be the right one since we only win the race against complete darkness back to the hotell with twenty minutes to spare.
We get dinner at the hotel and by now travelfatigue has really gotten a hold of me so of course I also have a migraine headache.
The migrane gets to decide what we do tomorrow, if I'm free from it we ride Transalpina and if I'm not we have a rest day with sightseeing in Sibiu.
Sunday 30.8.2015 369km Total:6397km
A good nights sleep worked wonders on my head. I still have some remnants of the migraine but this is a chance that might only come along once in our lifetime. We go for it.
The Lady turns us loose on our own again.
This time around I accept no excuses as to why the bear shouldn't lead and let the animal loose on his asphalt pray.
The traffic density on Transalpina was nothing compared to the Transfaga, there are plenty of options to overtake slower moving vehicles and the roads are absolutely sublime with long sweeping curves, this is my idea of riding heaven.
Still I can't help but wonder riding along in all that lush greenery on a road so flat you could calibrate a spirit level where exactly that mountain we're supposed to cross is located and if we shouldn't start to climb soon, this is after all with it's 2145m osl the highest drivable road in all of Romania.
...and then we stepped onto the first step of the stairs.
It was hairpins en masse but still bot closer together than that you did get the opportunity to accelerate and overtake and then the magnificent view appeared on the ridge like a kiss on both eyelids.
We've talked about it during the trip, compared to what we usually ride back home which is dead straight roads lined with fir trees on this trip it feels like we've most of the time ridden against a backdrop of mountains in the distance which we never seem to get to.
But now we seem to have arrived amongst those silent giants up in the clouds and the beautiful secrets they hide and it defies all description.
Occasionally you get to a road where you think, that this, this must be it, this is the best road there is.
But still some time later you stumble upon yet another one of those hidden gems, that road winding road with no traffic and a view worth dying for.
So probably somewhere out there, there's a road better than this and I will gladly make it my mission in life to try and find it but until that day I will remember this.
In a fit of complete euphoria we ride down to Novoci and get lunch, that we have to wait an hour to get the food doesn't matter today, we have plenty of impressions to digest in the meantime.
From here we head back to the hotel and pick up the Lady for some supper at Sibiu town square.