During A.D. 2009 the powers that be decided to asphalt Transalpina. Letting aside the discussions on the real (hidden) reasons, the practicality of the idea (given the fact that snow is meters high from November until May !!), what this means for us is THE END of Transalpina as we knew it.
Transalpina used to be this hidden gem of a national road, higher than Transfagarasan, but unpopulated by the famous Romanian Buffalo . It used to be a road for ‘aficionados’, for people that love the adventure and nature, beyond the love for their cars or their image. You would see Fiat Pandas, Citroen BXs, Daewo Matizes et al trying their best not to fatally hit the underparts of their cars, just to be able to enjoy the extraordinary landscapes. It was not a road for SUVs (I have not seen X5s, GLs and the likes), for manelists and barbecue eaters.
All that is gone now, with the advent of asphalt and ‘civilization’ . I have personally vouched to search for alternative roads for those who would appreciate them (there are rumors about a passage between Curmatura Oltetului and Vaideeni). But until I find them, we do still have one option in the area: the Strategic road.
Like Transalpina this was built by ‘ze Germans’ during the second World War. It is approximately 60kilometers long, on the top of the Latoritei mountains. It is perpendicular on Transalpina, which it crosses in the Saua Stefanu. That is one end of the Strategica. The other is in Valea Macesului, between Brezoi and Voineasa. This end is well hidden, as well it should be:
When you see this sign, stop the car and start looking for an un-obvious ascent into the forrest:
In my opinion this is were your adventure should start, because the first 4 kilometers are literally tough for ‘normal cars’ (non offroaders). So I’d rather have the difficult part in the beginning of the day, with gas, energy and time ahead of me. For real offroad cars, when dry, it’s a walk in the park. If rainy, it could become tricky (lateral inclination, no trees, ruts, mud, etc).
When dry, the ascent has been done with cars as ‘low’ (offroad-wise speaking) as the Audi Allroad or the Subaru Outback. They DID however struggle (had to push, burn the clutch, etc). Enough with the small talk already, let’s look at some pictures:
This is the reason you want to get on this road: it’s so high that you actually look DOWN on eagles:
I made an inspired “stop” :
and what I mean by “Inspired Stop” is that I chose the best damn place to take this LC picture, toghether with the fact that I did actually stop 3 meters from the abyss:
You can notice the road from Valea Macesului to the Galbenul and Petrimanul lakes on the bottom on the valley!
After this, the road is easy, clear and simple (you can make mistakes, but they are correctable: if the road disappears or becomes to difficult, you took a wrong turn 🙂 )
As you can see, somebody is taking care of this road:
This is the biggest danger to offroad cars on this road:
which means that there is a lot to enjoy on this road:
There are some ugly things going on in the area, like the forest clearing on the road from the lakes to Curmatura Oltetului:
These photos are a dedication to those who say that offroad cars disturb the environment…
Oh, since we are having a parenthesis about destruction, here’s how the Muntinu Stairs died:
“shooting works” 🙂
If anyone is still not convinced to make this trip, I end this post with a bang (actually what I hope to be a memorable photo of the area):
PS 1: I have to mention the fact that the road passes through two peasant yards. So you have to stop the car, get out, open the gate, pass, get back out and close the gate, so that the animals don’t get out…