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After the creepy turn that our way of life took last spring, the last months were stressful to say the least, with the daily bombardment of bad news and of course the lockdown limitations that kept us confined inside four walls. All this time I was dreaming of motorcycle trips and at last I saw light at the end of the tunnel, the lockdown is over, the borders open and the time to escape on two wheels has come again!

This year’s trip was planned with the country crossings in mind so I booked rooms relatively close to the borders in order to be covered in case of trouble. That was the only compromise but, lucky for us, everything went well anyway.

So one warm summer morning I strapped my bag on my bike, zipped up my leather jacket and departed towards the borders with Bulgaria, instantly feeling better about myself and the rest of the world. There I found my co-traveller Minas, waiting for me patiently.There was a line of about ten cars which we immediately bypass without even stopping and the Bulgarian official took our papers and gave them back without even looking at them along with an empty document form. Before I even ask if we need to fill it, he sent us to our merry way. That’s it!

With intermediate riding gear and relatively cool weather we immediately set off towards the north and the mountains and, before noon we have reached Sofia, the capital, which we bypassed in order to refuel at Novi Iskar where the riding fun begins! This time we will not only cross Bulgaria, we will enjoy the best mountain passes on our way to Romania.

We ride swiftly and calmly next to rivers and rail lines while crossing small villages…





…until we reach the little bridge of Lakatnik





A train says hi :)



And we continue riding on the pleasant route with the flowing open bends straight into the ravine as the landscape getting rougher and rougher…



…until we arrive at small plateau with amazing views of the river and the huge rock formations surrounding it!








After more twisting and turning we leave the gorge behind in order to spend the night at Varsets.


 

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A great first day then, that warmed us up in order to start the second day dynamically and delightfully with the Milanovo pass! At first the road climbs up and passes through a dense forest





And after the green canopy, the revelation! An amazing ribbon with superb asphalt, natural flow and outstanding view towards the rest of the road and to infinity :cool:









Blooming nature, shining sun and we get lost from hairpin to turn and from hill to hill





 

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Damn you're making me so jealous, We still can't leave the UK properly and Eurotunnel is like 100 eur even for bikes
 

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This time we will cross the new Vidin – Calafat bridge, no control at the Bulgarian side and only three cars on Romanian soil, we are done in five minutes and we also avoid the obligatory for cars road tax vignette. So all peachy again as we calmly ride towards the base of the famous Transalpina pass through vast sunflower fields...



When I explored the Transylvanian Alps, the Eastern Carpathian mountain range and the tv famous Transfagarasan pass seven years ago, I pledged to return and enjoy the western side of the mountains and, of course, the Transalpina pass. Comparisons kicked in almost immediately as the highest point at 2.145m altitude is the first that one reaches when starting from the south:



The little ribbon that leads to the top has no resemblance at all to the monolithic Transfagarasan, but the rest of this exceptional route will clear things up for good!



We put on our winter gear as the very twisty road continues into an impressive plateau with amazing views and wonderful alpine scenery wherever we look at. The surface is perfect and there is little to no traffic at all!











 

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But the real magic begins immediately after, as the route plunges into the dense forest







Whereas Transfagarasan is a statement of socialist power, I blow up mountains, piercing through granite and sacrificing human lives just because I can, Transalpina is something almost organic, a writhing river of asphalt that always finds its way like flowing water.







And we indeed see water while flying through the turns and enjoying this exceptional route with all our senses, we can smell it, hear it and follow it on our two wheeled land boats!







Especially this part is like someone, somewhere, sometime designed it just for me and my Er6-n, a constant interchange of amazing third and fourth gear turns with one combination of bends after the other connected seamlessly and naturally in a sequence of riding joy, and the permanent alpine décor blurring around my machine that turns octanes into fire, power and exhilaration.

 

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As we reach the enormous reservoirs and dams on the other side of the pass we are just happy and grateful to be lucky enough to live this experience. Human intelligence is in perfect balance with the amazing beauty of nature without trying to overpower it, if Transalpina was a work of art it would be a renaissance painting, while Transfagarasan would be an ode to social realism. There can be no direct comparison as we talk about entirely different things, each with its own charm, and the only sure thing is that one must definitely experience both these passes!







 

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This unforgettable day will be concluded at the picturesque Sibiu where we will settle for food and a good night’s rest. This beautiful town is a former Cultural Capital of Europe and an Unesco World Heritage Site, offering tranquility and images of the glorious past:















 

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The next day we follow a stunning and relaxing route along the shores of river Olt, ideal for touring bikes and also for us after the exhilaration of Transalpina pass. I leave the torque of my Er do all the hard work as we enjoy are riverside ride…



…and after many wonderful, flowing miles we arrive at the Orthodox Cozia Monastery that too dangles over the river waters:







The beautiful, exquisitely adorned church dominates the interior of the monastery and most of the intricately detailed iconography is in Greek language, a remnant of the once great Byzantine Empire.











 

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Unfortunately photography is prohibited inside the temple but our stop at this peaceful place fills us with energy as we continue our trip towards the Bulgarian border and the bridge of Rouse. The border crossing is again uneventful and in almost no time at all we enjoy the view of the Danube River from our tenth floor room and a short walk around the city.





 

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Back in Bulgaria then, and for dessert the menu includes the Beklemento – Karnare pass, the most famous in the country, again with clear skies and uplifted mood! Almost immediately we are climbing ever higher, with no traffic and swift rhythm until we spot a huge, monolithic structure in the distance, on top of the highest point o_O



It is the imposing monument of Freedom, and our climb all the way up to its base offers us the most extensive, amazing view of the surrounding mountains and the snaky route that awaits us later
















The next part is the most technical part of the pass, just have a look at the map and you will understand

 

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Carved through imposing rock faces, this route is the roughest, most dangerous road of the many that I was lucky enough to ride through. There is no continuous flow, every twist is unpredictable and the combination of camber angles and not ideal road surface makes the suspension work overtime. Great challenges offer great satisfaction though, and this will be the last of this year’s motorcycle trip







We spend the night in Filipopolis, modern day Plovdiv…








...and the next day we return to Greece through the mountains of Bansko :)

These six days full of motorcycling, nature and freedom filled us with experiences, images and optimism for a future full of endless miles of freedom for all!

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Damn you're making me so jealous, We still can't leave the UK properly and Eurotunnel is like 100 eur even for bikes
I know man, I have many friends in the UK, it was the same here until June 15 so I "escaped" as soon as I had the chance...

When the situation gets back to normal everywhere just pack up and go!
 

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I know man, I have many friends in the UK, it was the same here until June 15 so I "escaped" as soon as I had the chance...

When the situation gets back to normal everywhere just pack up and go!
Unfortunately I'd only spend the money to leave the UK if I'm doing a big tour, but due to Covid-19 My Euro trip was postponed another year :C Hopefully everything goes according to plan come 2021, in the mean time I'll explore every nook and cranny of the UK
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Unfortunately I'd only spend the money to leave the UK if I'm doing a big tour, but due to Covid-19 My Euro trip was postponed another year :C Hopefully everything goes according to plan come 2021, in the mean time I'll explore every nook and cranny of the UK
That's a good tactic my friend, take advantage of your home soil, plan and go stronger next year.

In a few months everything will be normal and come spring you will enjoy an amazing Euro trip (y)
 

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That's a good tactic my friend, take advantage of your home soil, plan and go stronger next year.

In a few months everything will be normal and come spring you will enjoy an amazing Euro trip (y)
Would you be able to share the route you took? My Eurotrip will take me to hungary and I'll stay there 2-3 weeks since i have family there, it would be nice to hit up Bulgaria and Romania for a quick dash and those twisties and forresty areas looked stunning
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Would you be able to share the route you took? My Eurotrip will take me to hungary and I'll stay there 2-3 weeks since i have family there, it would be nice to hit up Bulgaria and Romania for a quick dash and those twisties and forresty areas looked stunning
Yes I can, so here you go, I've only included the best parts so that you connect them however you like:

Milanovo pass and Lakatnik Gorge


Transalpina - Sibiu


Sibiu - River Olt and a couple of amazing nearby places from my first Romanian trip:


Beklemento Pass


Here is my complete first Romanian trip:

Some nice places from Hungary in these topics:


And my top 5 list with nicer Transfagarasan pics:

My tip would be to stay in Romania, ride through the Sinaia area and then pick between Transalpina and Transfagarasan or both if you have the time ;)
 

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Once again I didn't want this topic to end...

The amazing combination of words and photographs made me travel along with you!

THANK YOU for another fantastic journey and description :)
 
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