Road to London - Love at Second Bite - In Dracula Country, Prejmer, Romania
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
We left Bucharest heading towards Brasov hoping to do it in three days, but the weather had other plans for us. The weatherman had forecasted some rain for the day and when we left the sky was overcast and gloomy but we rode out of Bucharest anyway. The headwind was moderate and we managed quite well until after about thirty kilometers when it started to rain.
Luckily we managed to find shelter along the side of the road. The rain was not heavy but it came on and off slowing us down a great deal. We only managed about 60 kilometers for the day and had to stop for the night at Ploiesti.
When we left Ploiesti the next day we were again slowed down , and this time by the strong headwind blowing against us for most of the day. The wind was so strong that we only managed to cover only five or six kilometers per hour, walking speed. The wind speed must have been at least 40 kph.
That brought my memory back to the time when I was doing the trek in Nepal about seven years ago when we had to go through similar conditions somewhere on the plains approaching Jomsom on what is known as the Annapurna Circuit trek. The area is an high altitude ( about 4,000 meters ) sandy plain where the the phenomena of very strong winds happen everyday around two in the afternoon and last for about two hours.
As such, trekkers going through that region are advised to avoid going through the area at that time . My group started out late that day and had to go through the strong winds at that time and believe you me, the winds were so strong that it caused a sandstorm where the visibility was almost nil with the sand being blown through the air. I still remember the guy in front of me who had his hat blown off and within seconds it disappeared out of sight.
We spent the night at a motel along the highway after covering only about 40 kilometers and the following day we tackled the Transylvania (highlands) region. The road winding up the highlands is very well constructed as the slopes going up are very gentle and pass through quaint little villages and towns so much so that you are actually going up as high as Fraser's Hill without realising it. After reaching the top you the just roll down for about 10 kilometers and a further 10 kilometers takes you to Brasov.
From Brasov we cycled to Prejmer to visit a Romanian gentleman, whom we met, having breakfast with his daughter, at the motel we stayed before cycling to Brasov. He had invited us to his place in Prejmer about 15 kilometers outside Brasov and offered us his place and to show us around. Daniel Bujoreanu (53) is an incredible Romanian gentleman who lives in Prejmer after having sold his place in the 'Old City' in Brasov about twelve years ago.
Among other things Daniel is a ski instructor, a paragliding instructor, a motorcycle enthusiast, who did stunts in his younger days and now Presedinte of Bull Bikers club de motociclism. When he sold his place in Brasov, his friends said he was crazy as the property was in the heart of the city and commanded a very high price that could only increase in value in time. But Daniel had other plans and bought a farm-house with enough land to grow potatoes, corn and tomatoes and other produce, raise poultry, enough place to indulge in his passion for his skills using his hands and to top it all, breathe the fresh air.
He has a lovely wife, two daughters and a young son, Mihail (4) and what he has at this place now is to me the healthiest place to live that anyone could ask for. Since he bought the place, he had single-handedly added two double-storey cabins to house 10 guests and several other rooms adjoining the original farmhouse, garages for his motorcycles and cars, a workshop with power saws and tools, a chicken coop, pigeon holes, and also kennels for his dogs and rabbits.At his farm he also has a trampoline and a caravan.
At one time he even reared pigs but found them to be too cute and intelligent that he didn't have the heart to have them slaughtered for the table so he gave up the idea and gave them away. Now he is happy that he is able to do the things he likes especially raising and teaching his young son in an ideal environment. His elder daughter Iulia is studying in Ireland to be a medical doctor and the younger daughter hopes to go to Italy to further her studies.
Aede and I had intended to stay there for two days but on the third day when we were about to cycle out, it started to rain, forcing us to stay on and it was only after six days that we finally left Prejmer. However for the time we stayed there, it was among the most enjoyable time we had during the whole journey so far and certainly would stay in our memory forever.
For Aede especially, it was an experience of a lifetime as he had never experienced life in the 'kampung' or on a farm, let alone in a foreign land. At Prejmer he experienced seeing chickens running loose around the place, collecting eggs in the morning for our breakfast, the thrill of collecting logs to feed the fireplace in the cabin, shooting at targets with an air rifle and watching Daniel teaching his four old son to ride a motorcycle (a real motorcycle but miniature in size).
The boy really takes after his father and had his first tumble somersaulting over the handlebar that got us worried but he was unfazed and not affected and continued with the riding lessons. He is already competent driving his miniature 4x4 jeep.
There is so much more I can write about Daniel and his family and the farm but that has to wait until I pen my travel adventures in a book, InsyaAllah. Daniel and his daughter Iulia (she is back on a vacation) showed us around the old city in Brasov when the weather was fine and like most cities in Europe they have an interesting history and goes back to medieval times or earlier. We did not visit Bran Castle (where the infamous Count Dracula is said to still guard the place) while in Brasov as the I hate having to add more to his coffers.
We cycled out of Prejmer and Brasov on a glorious sunny morning and should be in Hungary in a few days. And while spring is in the air there is still snowfall and temperatures in the negatives, especially in the night.
We are now in Oradea , the border town before Hungary, and should cross over in a day or two. Some trees here are in full bloom signifying spring is here to stay.
Heading towards Brasov, no mountains too high
In the highlands
Brasov, with the 'Black Church' in the background
Inside the walled church, each family had a room to escape from the attackers
A fortress to discourage invaders
Daniel feeding the chickens
The narrowest street in Brasov or in the world
Daniel is well prepared for the harsh winter
At Daniel's Farmhouse
Planting a tree to mark my visit
Till we meet again
Daniel teaching his 4 year old son to ride a motorcycle
A warm cosy cabin
Mihail admiring my bike
The grizzly farmer
The dungeon at the fortified church in Prejmer
Inside the fortified church
Peace and tranquility at Daniel's farm
If you wish to get in touch with Adnan Osman (his personal blog: http://oadnanxtreme.blogspot.com/), you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can reach Adnan through his wife, Marina Wong (03-77856058 or email@example.com) or his son, Adely (firstname.lastname@example.org)