After visitng the Bicaz Gorge, the time has come to slowly draw back home. So we unhurriedly started to crawl to Romania west border on our Africa. But of course we didn’t choose the shortest path and so we decided to see the most underrated by tourists road – Transrarau.
The road to Transrarau – riding around the Bicaz Lake
To get to Transrarau from the Bicaz Gorge (which we visited the day before) we chose the road 12C through Neagra and Bicaz. Then we drove the road 15 to Dodeni.
There is an alternate way to the Transrarau leading through the Ceahlau National Park. But the road along the Bicaz Lake coast is really feeding your eyes with colours and vast landscapes.
The Bicaz Lake is the second biggest artificial lake in Romania, with area of about 32km2 and length of 40km. (The first biggest is the reservoir at the Iron Gates Dam, in the Iron Gate gorge, on the Danube River.) The lake, created after the dam was made by the political prisoners in 1960 (that’s a sad part of the story behind this beauty), is now a nature reserve. Though, you still can take a short trip around the lake with a ferryboat, which ships out from the port in Bicaz.
We actually satisfied ourselves with the view of the lake, while riding up to the Poiana Largului, as we wanted to see the Transrarau in the sunlight. It wasn’t really late, but the first rule of motorcycle travelling says that everything takes much more time during trip than you assume it will before setting off. So you have to be cautious here ¯\_ツ_/¯
Though, the Bicaz Lake may be claimed as one of more touristic places at Piatra Neamt, I think there’s nothing to compare, when you think of Transalpina or the Bicaz Gorge :) If you want something more relaxing and close to nature, without the crowds of people, so you can chill more… then this it!
Coming up close to the Bicaz Lake
I think there’s also no problem with wild camping if you’re up to that. There are plenty of spots on the lake’s bank and you won’t get any problems, as we noticed the Romanians like to camp themselves. Besides, Romanians are really friendly and helpful, even when they don’t know English :)
Our mere example is when we wanted to stop right at the lake’s bank, to rest for a while and wet our clothes under the heavy motorcycle gear, so it would be a bit less hot during the ride.
We rode off from the road to some gravel, ready to overpass some little brooks on our way to the coast.
But we quickly found out that what is easy for the local people going barefoot, is not simple for a heavy bike (╥﹏╥)
The Romanians, seeing us giving up, quickly started to explain to us, how to get to the water by an alternative way. We couldn’t understand a word, but with a little help of hands things got really easy :) So we thanked them a lot and tried the new road :)
We reached the water, but we spotted a… bull, which seemed very interested in us after few moments, when we tried to rest in the shade. So we didn’t tarry much :D
We also found some strange things during evacuation :D
From the Bicaz Lake to Chiril – along the Bistrita River
The Transrarau (175A) road starts to snake around Chiril. To get there we had to take road 17B through Borca.
You might think that the ride became dull from that moment, after leaving the view of the Bicaz Lake behind. But actually the Bistrita River twisting side by side with the road makes the drive really scenic.
There are also these awesome bridges spread across the river, leading to the feedlots or houses.
For us it’s an always a must stop place ;)
We didn’t know if the river is bathable. But if you wondered how deep is it – some lost cow tested it for us ;)
The Bistrita accompanies you in the whole journey to Chiril.
Cows too, actually :)
The Transrarau road 175A is about 26 kilometers long and starts to climb up the south side of Rarau mountains just few kilometers from the Chiril village.
From there it gently meanders between small cottages, giving you a good view on the Rarau massif rising up on the horizon. But after a while you would get high enough dose of crazy serpentines, leading through the coniferous forests.
Just after you master most of the road hairpins, the forest reveals the Transrarau most panoramic views, when you start to approach the highest Rarau mountains top – the Rarau peak, which is about 1650 meters high.
One of the most characteristic things in Transrarau are the white rocks standing alone between the forest.
The biggest rocks are the Pietrele Doamnei (The Lady’s Rocks), which you can climb upon, but we didn’t try ;) We had that idea in mind, but we really had to ride home.
The hills sides were generally soaked with fresh green colour, indicating the Spring full bloom.
Though, when crossing some plateaus, which revealed the Rarau mountains in their full splendor, you could notice snow at the mountains tops still.
Camping at Transrarau
Enchanted by the scenic, quiet mountains and hills covered in charming shepherds cottages, we decided we will camp somewhere in one of the empty feedlots.
The stable was empty, so we used it to hide from the strong wind. Though, it also was concealing our presence from the drivers riding the Transrarau.
We were happy that one more time we managed to pitch up the tent before the darkest night. So we could prepare the dinner and rest, while enjoying the Rarau mountains landscape.