“But why? What’s wrong?”
“There’s a bear cub round the corner. He just cut me off and hid behind a bush. His mother is probably somewhere close!”
“OK. Let’s move back a little and wait. Maybe it’ll leave.”
“Is it gone?”
“I think so. I can’t see it anymore. I guess we can get going now”
This is the beginning of a one day biking trip across the Bucegi Mountains. We got down in the Sinaia train station early in the morning and we started cycling, feeling our fingers nearly frozen. When we entered the forest on the dirt road we were suddenly faced with what we would later call “the obstacle”. The bear cub was even more scared than us. But the thought that his mother might be around could have been enough to have turned us around. Anyway, we didn’t give up. And after a few more kilometers, suspiciously looking into the dark forest, we reached our first pit stop, the Cuibu Dorului Chalet.
The ascent to the Dichiu Saddle (Șaua Dichiu) went on smoothly. We were beginning to relax after our fright. Stopping on the way wouldn’t have been such a good idea, as the sun was still hiding behind the edges. The cool air determined us to keep going. As we were getting closer to the top we left the forest behind and the mountain opened up before our eyes. Just a few more curves and we were there. A sign post let us know we were already in the Bucegi National Park. There’s a crossroad here. Another road continues along the ridge towards other chalets, all over 2000m.
From here we got down to the bottom of a valley. The fast descent made the previous slow ascent all worth it. We soon arrived on the banks of the Bolboci Lake. The forest around it gives the water a greenish color. The whole mountain is mirrored in it. We went round it on a winding road. At al times we could see the rocky Tătarului Gorges from where the lake gets its water. They are just like a crack in the lean slopes. And we were heading that way.
We knew we had some kilometers of straight road ahead of us and that was it. It’s all paths from here. We had another pit stop at the Padina Chalet. We checked our bikes, shared a chocolate bar and decided we have no time to lose. So…bikes up on the shoulders and let’s go.
We had to get to 1904 m, the highest point in our route, pushing our bikes on the leaner sections and carrying them on our backs on the steeper slopes. It wasn’t until we found ourselves right behind the wooden shelter that we knew we had finally arrived at the Strunga Saddle (Șaua Strunga). It was cold and windy. We put on all our clothes and had lunch beside our bikes. We were beginning to feel our fingers and legs getting stiff. As much as we were enjoying ourselves, it was time to leave.
The path went straight down from here. The descent was far beyond our expectations. A long narrow path took us through lean forests, boulder covered slopes, glades and by a couple of sheepfolds. It just didn’t seem to end. And we loved every bit of it. In fact, when we saw the first houses of the Bran resort we were quite disappointed. We treated ourselves with an ice-cream at a nice little terrace away from the crowds. It was only then that we realized what a great trip we had.
We only had a few kilometers more to get home to Zărnești. We were relaxed and felt that the hard part was over. After leaving the ice-cream place we were faced with a flat tire. We fixed it by the side of the road, while all the locals on the street got out to see what was happening. We thought we were set to go. But we were wrong. In a little while, we could already hear the familiar noise of flat rubber spinning on the pavement. We went through the procedure once again. And this was basically how we spent the last part of the route, as the tire seemed to have a mind of its own. But all these adventures and “obstacles” only make the whole trip even more funny and definitely unforgettable.