First half of ‘the best road ….. in the world!’. Transfăgărășan, Romania

Another quick peek at the pass and it looks like Dave is in for a treat tomorrow!

Dave the motorhome is at 2,034m at the top of the Transfăgărășan or to give it its official, but not so exciting, title the Drumul Naţional 7C (N45.60252 E24.61380). The Top Gear crew drove it in an an Aston Martin DBS V12 Volante, a Ferrari California and a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder during 2009 and Jeremy Clarkson said “this is the best road… in the world”, so we had to let Dave have a go. Today has been such a photogenic day, that I’ve gone camera mad, so I’ll let the photos and videos tell the story. Enjoy!

Last night we went for a meal at the hotel/restaurant down the road. The food was so so - a bit like not very good pub grub - but at £0.80 for a HUGE glass of wine I couldn't complain. 'No alcohol for me' Jay explained to the waiter 'I have to drive the Transfăgărășan in the morning'. The waiter looked very unimpressed.
Last night we went for a meal at the hotel/restaurant down the road. The food was so so – a bit like not very good pub grub – but at £0.80 for a HUGE glass of wine I couldn’t complain. ‘No alcohol for me’ Jay explained to the waiter ‘I have to drive the Transfăgărășan in the morning’. The waiter looked very unimpressed.
Maciej from Poland arrived on his 24 year old motorbike. By now it was pouring with rain so once he'd set up camp next to us, he joined us in Dave for the evening.
Maciej from Poland arrived on his 24 year old motorbike. By now it was pouring with rain so once he’d set up camp next to us, he joined us in Dave for the evening.
These guys have the most full time of full time jobs. The road was covered in rocks - we even saw some falling (which scared us both a bit)
These guys have the most full time of full time jobs. The road was covered in rocks – we even saw some falling (which scared us both a bit)
Romanian falling rock sign - or is it a bomb of some kind?
Romanian falling rock sign – or is it a bomb of some kind?
Dave trundles his way up the south side of the Transfăgărășan
Dave trundles his way up the south side of the Transfăgărășan
First stop the Vidraru dam. Jay has a great view from the top of the steps.
First stop, the Vidraru dam. Jay has a great view from the top of the steps.

High tech Vidraru Dam being crossed by low tech horse and cart. So glad we don't have to be the ones to climb the ladders on the side of the dam, or the ageing walkways!
High tech Vidraru Dam being crossed by low tech horse and cart. So glad we don’t have to be the ones to climb the ladders on the side of the dam, or the ageing walkways!
Not sure how painting the crash barrier will help things - you need to worry more about the falling rocks!
Not sure how painting the crash barrier will help things – you need to worry more about the falling rocks!
A never ending job, keeping the road clear and open
A never ending job, keeping the road clear and open
If you're worried you won't make it over the pass, you can stop off at these convenient little churches for a quick prayer.
If you’re worried you won’t make it over the pass, you can stop off at these convenient little churches for a quick prayer.
Coming out of the trees the valley widens and the fun really starts!
Coming out of the trees the valley widens and the fun really starts!
Wild horses having a quick drink from one of the mountain streams - the views just kept getting better the higher we went.
Wild horses having a quick drink from one of the mountain streams – the views just kept getting better the higher we went.
Surely the highest caravan park.....in the world. We were tempted to join them, but ploughed on.
Surely the highest caravan park…..in the world. We were tempted to join them, but ploughed on.
Soon we could see the tunnels high up on the hills above us - the road goes up there? How?
Soon we could see the tunnels high up on the hills above us – the road goes up there? But how?
Ah, that's how you get up there - many many wiggles
Ah, that’s how you get up there – many many wiggles
Dave on the south side of the pass, sunshine and blue skies.
Dave on the south side of the pass, sunshine and blue skies.
If we were worried we wouldn't make it over the pass, this chap on a unicycle soon put our minds at rest.
If we were worried we wouldn’t make it over the pass, this chap coming down from the top on a unicycle soon put our minds at rest.
At the top of the south side the road goes into a mile long tunnel (to cut out going right over the top of the mountain!) Right outside the tunnel on the north side are souvenir shops and car parks. Dave pulled into the first car park and the attendant wandered over and said it would be 15 Lei. '15!!?? That's far too much, we're going' I stammered, then Jay pointed out it was £3 and we could sleep the night, so we'll be here for about 20 hours - bargain!
At the top of the south side the road goes into a half mile long tunnel (to cut out going right over the top of the mountain!) Right outside the tunnel on the north side are souvenir shops and car parks. Dave pulled into the first car park and the attendant wandered over and said it would be 15 Lei. ’15!!?? That’s far too much, we’re going’ I stammered, then Jay pointed out it was £3 and we could sleep the night, so we’ll be here for about 20 hours – bargain!
Our first view of the north side of the pass - grey and cloudy :(
Our first view of the north side of the pass – grey and cloudy :(
As the cloud came in, the wind picked up and soon the sky was full of these fellas!
As the cloud came in, the wind picked up and soon the sky was full of these fellas!
The cloud clears and we get our first view of the other side of the Transfăgărășan
When the cloud cleared we get our first view of the north side of the Transfăgărășan

If you want to see how the Top Gear trio tackled the pass, check out this clip

And this video shows how the Our Tour trip tackled the pass in a Top Gear style!

This is George. He and his mates set up a jump in the snow next to the car park, so we could watch them from Dave's windscree! They brought supplies of beer and his Dad's moonshine (made from plums). Jay wandered over to take some pics and an hour later was helping them see off some of the more potent stuff, which at 50% proof kept him warm for the rest of the day (until he had to have an afternoon nap!)
This is George. He and his mates set up a jump in the snow next to the car park, so we could watch them from Dave’s windscreen! They brought supplies of beer and his Dad’s moonshine (made from plums). Jay wandered over to take some pics and an hour later was helping them see off some of the more potent stuff, which at 50% proof kept him warm for the rest of the day (until he had to have an afternoon nap!)
Charlie has a play in the snow by the lake. He didn't reckon on his paws being this cold on July!
Charlie has a play in the snow. He didn’t reckon on his paws being this cold on July!
In need of fresh air we went for a walk around Balea Lake at the top of the pass.
After a lunch of food from the stalls by the roadside – corn on the cob, cheese wrapped in something and dry cured sausage, we went for a walk around Balea Lake at the top of the pass.
George told us about this memorial just above Balea Lake, it's dedicated to a school group who died here in an avalanche, their bodies couldn't be recovered until the following spring - now this area and the pass is closed from October to June.
George told us about this memorial just above the lake, it’s dedicated to a school group who died here in an avalanche, their bodies couldn’t be recovered until the following spring – now this area and the pass is closed from October to June (weather-dependant).
Abandoned by Balea Lake and looted for any valuable parts this poor piste basher has seen better days.
Abandoned by the lake and looted for any valuable parts this poor piste-basher has seen better days.
Standing on a rock in Balea Lake, Charlie wasn't very impressed.
Standing on a rock in Balea Lake, Charlie wasn’t very impressed. According to George, behind us is Nicolae Ceausescu’s holiday cabin.
It's so chilly up here even the birds have their winter coats on.
It’s so chilly up here even the birds have their winter coats on.
Another quick peek at the pass and it looks like Dave is in for a treat tomorrow!
Another quick peek at the pass and it looks like Dave is in for a treat tomorrow!
Don't fancy driving the pass - then grab the gondola instead! It looks like it is skimming the tops of the cars in places.
Don’t fancy driving the pass – then grab the gondola instead! It looks like it is skimming the tops of the cars in places.
Among the international registrations up here we spotted a UK registered bike, so had to go and say Hi. Israel (like the country) Gillette (like the razors) is from Jonesborough Tennessee and he not only had a great name, but he's biking around the world. You can follow him on his blog http://israelgillette.blogspot.it/
Among the international registrations up here we spotted a UK registered bike, so had to go and say Hi. Israel (like the country) Gillette (like the razors) is from Jonesborough, Tennessee and he not only had a great name, but he’s biking around the world. You can follow him on his blog
Jay mentally prepares himself for the descent tomorrow.
Jay mentally prepares himself for the descent tomorrow.
As the crowds thin, we get to watch abseiling from Dave's windscreen.
As the crowds thin, we get to watch abseiling from Dave’s windscreen.
The pass is closed from 9pm til 7am, so we should be in for a quiet night.
The pass is closed from 9pm til 7am, so we should be in for a quiet night.

Ju x

Ps – here are Top Gear taking the pass, a tad faster than OurTour I must admit!

 

6 Comments

    • Haha, Marius! I’d built up the pass to be a monstrous nerve killer, a single track, rock strewn, lorry laden van killer, and decided a hangover would not do! Once I’d seen how good it was, the Bulgarian beers came out! I’m currently supping a Kamenitza while Ju tapes our thermal screens to Dave’s window in anticipation of some nutter bikers tearing past the dirt road we’re parked up against! It’s a mad world, we’re at the finish area of Red Bull Romaniacs 2013! Hope all is good at camping VT, cheers, Jay

    • Hi Ali, it would be a beauty to add to your extensive collection of experiences, and Ozzie could get in some cool high altitude flights around the mountains too! We came up from the south and down the north, but I don’t think it matters which way you do it, it’s the view from the top that’s the thing, the eye candy, the kind of place you stand and stare but can’t take it in. Hope the war chest is filling rapidly for you guys, we have another could of months then will be desperately seeking wonga back home. Enjoy the sun mate, Jay

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