What’s the Adventure?
Romania is a land of contrasts. Not too far away from the chic restaurants, designer shops and nightlife of big cities like Timisoara and Bucharest, there are farmers living in the mountains using horse and carts as transport and with guard dogs with nail-studded collars protecting their sheep from wolf attacks.
It’s a country that doesn’t have any motorways, and the tarmac roads reach only so far from the towns before giving over to gravel or unsurfaced tracks, especially in the mountains.
And Romania is big on mountains. The Carpathians sweep south-easterly down towards the capital Bucharest from the Ukraine, before linking to make the shape of a bent arm with the Transylvanian Alps that run east to west across the middle of the country.
Our Favourite Bit?
We started the day at 905 metres altitude and the highest point we reach during the morning is 1100 metres (3608ft) . The highest peak in the area is the 2200-metre Munti Godeanu, but that’s further east and sited in a National Park, which is no-go for vehicles.
The halfway point of our journey is the small town of Teregova. We zig-zag down some dusty, hairpin-strewn tracks before halting the convoy for an ice-cream. The sight of the dusty war machines trundling down the main street doesn’t seem to worry the locals.
Then we head north out of Teregova, crossing the Timisul river as we climb back up again through more delightful scenery. Flecks of silica sparkle in the sandy soil, reflecting the bright sunshine.
I’m really enjoying the Range Rover, which is dealing effortlessly with the steep climbs. It may be 17 years old, but it’s in good order and Walter has it set up nicely. As always when I spend some time driving a capable vehicle, I wish that I were taking it home with me.
Making it out alive
It’s been a short but very sweet visit to Romania, and it has whetted my appetite for further adventures in the country. In fact, I’ve already agreed to join Walter and Ute on one of their adventures next July. And I can’t wait.
The full story can be found in the January 2012 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.