Tuši's blog

Wednesday, August 03, 2022


Romania: Summer Vacation 2022 - Day 7: Via Transfăgărășan to Bușteni

Our main destination for this year's summer vacation was Romania. In the morning we started driving on the famous Transfăgărășan road, built in the early 1970s as a strategic military route that connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. I was riding on the same road in 2012 (12087) with my motorbike Blue Horse. We stopped at the Bâlea Lake, which is much more crowded then 10 years ago. After we explored the area, we moved back into Angie and we continued driving to Sinaia, where we visited Sinaia Monastery and Peleș Castle. We ended the day in nearby Bușteni.

Previous days of our Summer Vacation 2022: Day 6 - 15783, Day 5 - 15782, Day 4 - 15781, Day 3 - 15780, Day 2 - 15779, Day 1 - 15778.

The Transfăgărășan was constructed between 1970 and 1974 during the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Built mainly by military forces, the road had a high financial and human cost. Work was carried out in an alpine climate, at an elevation of 2000 metres, using roughly six million kilograms of dynamite, and employing junior military personnel who were untrained in blasting techniques. Many workers died, official records state that only 40 soldiers lost their lives, but unofficial estimates by workers put the number in the hundreds.

Bâlea Lake (Lacul Bâlea or Bâlea Lac) is a glacier lake situated at 2034 m of altitude in the Făgăraș Mountains.

Tuši and Bronco near the lake.

View to the Transfăgărășan road from the top leading to the North.

The lake is only about 11 meters deep and 360 meters long. However, it is not a bathing attraction as the temperature of the water can rarely reach 10 degrees Celsius in summer. There are also summer days when the water temperature hardly reaches three degrees.

Through the Bâlea tunnel, which is 884 meters long and until a year ago it used to be the longest tunnel in the country, we reached the southern side of the Făgăraș Mountains.

Simple way how to cross the creek.

Vidraru Lake is a reservoir lake created in 1965 on the Arges River for Hydroelectricity production. It has 465 million cubic metres of water, with a length of 10.3 kilometres, width of 2.2 kilometres and maximum depth of 155 metres.

An underground power station is situated in proximity of the lake, 104 metres deep under the Cetatuia massif. The installed turbine capacity is 220 MW.

Time to take a shortcut.

Without any problems for our Angie.

Horses near Pietroșița.

In the suburbs, horses are still used for working.

In Sinaia we visited the The Sinaia Monastery, founded by Prince Mihail Cantacuzino in 1695 and named after the great Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt.

Since Bronco wasn't allowed to visit the monastery, we walked to a nearby cemetery of soldiers fallen in the First World War.

In the cemetery, both known and unknown Romanian soldiers are buried, as well as their opponents in the battle - Germans and Hungarians.

"Biserica Veche" (The Old Church) at the Sinaia Monastery dates from 1695 and was built in the Byzantine style.
The Great Church - Biserica Mare at the Sinaia Monastery was built in 1846.

Near the monastery we explored the Neo-Renaissance Peleș Castle, built between 1873 and 1914.

When King Carol I of Romania (1839 - 1914), under whose reign the country gained its independence, first visited the site of the future castle in 1866, he fell in love with the magnificent mountain scenery. In 1872, the Crown purchased 5 square kilometres of land near the Piatra Arsă River. The estate was named the Royal Estate of Sinaia. The King commissioned the construction of a royal hunting preserve and summer retreat on the property, and the foundation was laid for Peleș Castle on 22 August 1873. Several auxiliary buildings were built simultaneously with the castle: the guards' chambers, the Economat Building, the Foișor hunting lodge, the royal stables, and a power plant. Peleș became the world's first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity.

Gardens near the castle.

Peleș Castle has a 3200-square-metre floor plan with over 170 rooms.

Inner court.

Leaving the castle.

Under the supervision of the director of Bronco, I opened the wine to accompany the dinner.

Geocaches found (all received a visit by trackable items "Magic: The Gathering, Rivals of Ixalan Trackable: Vampire Die Bonbon Dose", TB8Q8AY and "Finnish Flag Micro Geocoin", TB9N8D5):
- Transfăgărășan, GC6REXG
- Bâlea Lake, EarthCache, GC70N11
- Transfagarasan´ s chapels, GC7C14M
- Cimitirul Eroilor / Sinaia War Memorial, GC6Q24T
- Peleș Castle #3 - The fairy-tale square, Multi, GC6Q1BR

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