All the pictures are grouped in a dedicated gallery which has the advantage of having all pictures easily accesible with no gibberish from me, BUUT it would take you an extra click to get to see the real size images and would not get all this usefull info 🙂 . Be warned!
Some time ago I read in an offroading magazine about a very misterious road in Romania, competing for the title of the highest road in Romania title and beating the pants off Transfagarasan (I do have pictures from there, but not at this new level of mastery. One day I will go back and give you a proper gallery).
Transfagarasan was lamenting that it was the highest paved road, but that was simply lame. Transalpina was built by ‘ze Germans’ in 1940 and only needed cleaning ever since (unlike A1 / A2, that need repairs every year and are not by far facing the same atmospheric conditions)
This summer I was in the area and found out it had incredible potential for traveling in nature and I started searching for more info. As usual, when you need to find something, there is already a HUGE thread on Softpedia. As I read more and more I realized I needed a proper offroader to enjoy the area.
In September I got my friends at Toyota Romania to loan me a Land Cruiser 120 for this trip.
I called some adventurous friends that were prone to accompany me on such a trip and they agreed. Turns out they were much nuttier than I was – they did the Transalpina with a Fiat Panda!!
Transalpina, or the National Road (DN) 67C goes from Novaci to Sebes. However, the ‘real deal’ is between Ranca and Obarsiile Lotrului, a 31 km long portion with no asphalt at all, 1.5 cars wide, with breathtaking landscapes surrounding the road.Yep, that means one could easily fall off the ‘road’ and into the ‘ladscape’ 🙂
We took two days for the trip. The first day we visited the Arnota and Tismana monasteries and fruitlessly tried to visit the Bat’s Cave at the Bistrita Monastery.The cave was closed because ‘The Holy One came today’ (‘azi a venit Preasfintitul’)!!
Arnota Monastery is a very beautiful secluded monastery atop a quarry. I visited it in the summer with the Avensis, you can easily go and you will not regret it.
At Tismana we found some very unfriendly nuns and a monastery that, in my opinion, did not leave up to it’s name.
Next day, because of a rally, the road between Novaci and Ranca was closed. Fortuantely I had read about that the night before we left on the National Roads Administration Website and we did not waste any time going to Novaci.
So, we chose to start the trip in Polovragi, near the cave, to climb up to 1600m to Curmatura Oltetului,
and then to descend to the Galbenul and Petrimanu lakes.
From there we took the Latorita Gorge (Cheile Latoritei) to go to Ciungetu,
then asphalt to Voineasa and Obarsiile Lotrului.
Obarsiile Lotrului is where Transalpina changes character. The Obarsia – Sebes part is long and nice, but doesn’t come close in spectacularity or danger to the Ranca-Obarsia part:
This part of the road is ‘closed’ in order to keep neophytes out.
Of course no ‘hardcore’ explorer stops at a ‘Road Closed’ sign, nor is he deterred that there is no bridge and that he has to go through the river to access this road.
And wonderful sights await for the brave:
Very early on the road we found the famous aquapark, took some 5 minutes for fun:
And then proceeded along for more breathtaking scenery:
As the clouds were faster moving than us, we left these old shepherds and their cute little humongous and dangerous dogs behind and headed for the most difficult part of the road.
The most difficult part of the road is by far Muntinu: a steep, stairlike ascend. That’s if you come from Ranca. We were going to Ranca so it was a steep descent for us:
After Muntinu everything seems quiet, but there is more: Pasul Urdele – 2140 meters high:
And still some great landscapes:
We reached Ranca around 1900 GMT+2, after some 9 hours in which we traveled roughly 130 km, but some 50-60 of those were on asphalt.
All the pictures are grouped in a dedicated gallery which has the advantage of having all pictures easily accesible with no gibberish from me, BUUT it would take you an extra click to get to see the real size images.
Bear in mind that the web makes some of these pictures no justice: all the squeezed photos are huge panoramas in print, going up to 100cm wide @ 300ppi (true photo quality)
Remember: every time you see a picture, if you click on it, you will get a larger version! Click twice – twice as large 🙂