Thursday, 7 August 2014


 A lot has happened in a week. Tracy arrived as planned last Saturday and on Sunday we headed to Kecskemet, Hungary. Which was a bit of a shock. Riding in, it looked like a normal non-descript town but in the centre we found several enormous churches ( Catholic, Lutheran, Franciscan, ). Kecskemet ( which I think means Goat market) was a huge centre two to three hundred years ago and known as a centre of religious tolerance. 

Tracy cooling off in Kecskemet.

The following day we crossed in to Romania. For the first time since Dover I had to show someone my passport. The border guard took a quick glance at both of our passports and we were through. We stopped that night in Oradea and had a pleasant evening strolling around their city centre. Oradea was littered with huge and often, but not always,crumbling buildings. 

This old Art Deco building was next door to our Hotel.

What do you do for breakfast in Romania??? Mint tea of course

On Tuesday we only covered 50 miles as we were going to see some bears in a cave. Admittedly these bears died thousands of years ago. The cave was uncovered in the 1970s and along with the usual stalagmites and stalactites caverns found remains of over 140 cave bears. Now extinct, the cave bear was huge and roamed around Europe 30,000(?) years ago. They believe that these bears were hibernating in this cave when something ( an earthquake?) blocked off the entrance. 140 bears, fighting it out as they killed and ate each other?!? That's what we were told - or rather we read that, the guide spoke Romanian ( not surprisingly). 

Weather wise the mornings have been warm and sunny but it's rained and thundered quite a lot each afternoon. This happened at the bear cave and the owners of our a 'Pension' kindly told me to move my bike inside ( I think they thought it might get washed away in the rain and once the rain started they may have been right.)

Leaving the bears we headed for Corvin Castle. Absolutely nothing to do Irish Vladimir the Impaler/ Dracula but just abou the spookiest castle we've ever seen...

(Sorry about the rubbish photos! but these are all taken on the ipad or on my phone)

We also saw our first Gypsy home. Very garish...

In the Middle Ages, when the Hungarians ruled over this part of the world they 'encouraged' ethnic Germans to populate this part of the world, I assume, was a sort of buffer against maraudering Turks. Those 'Saxons' build their villages and thrived. Those villages are now tourist destination in the foothills of The Carpathian mountains in Transylvania. 

We spent two nights in Sibiel, a quiet, rustic Saxon village. We went for a walk into the woods ( where there are bears and wolves and vampires.... Tracy says...'Company of wolves' meets 'One hundred years of solitude'. 

 Not much happens in Sibiel.

Tomorrow we're off to ride the Transfagarasan! Followed by some more Translyvanian castles and bears. This time real live bears, I hope...


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