It all started so well ...

The best laid plans

My previous post covered the first half of our day out exploring the Mother of All Roads but that was not all that the day had in store for us. As we gently unwound down the final stretch we could see that the weather was finally catching up with us and we might get a bit wet if we couldn’t outrun it any further. The ominously dark clouds had been building steadily and now threatened to boil over the mountain and come tumbling down on top of us. A quick roadside stop had us suitably attired in rain gear although I have previously commented on the porous nature of my “Bone Dry” trousers!

The plan was to ride in a big triangle, stopping off at a castle ruin of Vlad the Impaler then heading back to the city of Brasov for dinner via yet another of Vlad’s castles (this one in Bran – allegedly the inspiration for Bram Stocker’s Dracula) and then back to our hotel in Sibiu for the night. Unfortunately, we completely underestimated the distances involved and were completely unprepared for the way the rest of the day would unfold.

Peter spotted the first castle ruin perched high above the road atop a hillside with a fantastic vantage point from a defence perspective. Access however was via 1,500 (almost vertical, ladder-like) stairs up the mountain!! My back has been killing me for the last few days (I appear to have pulled a muscle) and the prospect of even getting off the bike to walk 10 stairs in full bike gear was daunting so disappointingly we agreed to press on to Dracula’s place. As an aside, since we were surrounded by signs that said “Bank of Transilvania” and “Transilvanian Restuarant” and Transilvanian everything else, I had the lyrics from Rocky Horror Picture Show on repeat in my head – specifically:-

“why don’t you stay for the night?
And maybe a bite?”

Now I don’t know if you recall the scene from Rocky Horror when Brad and Janet are driving in torrential rain and they spot the castle? Well, someone up top decided to ensure that we lived the reality of this scene as the heavens opened and the gods of thunder and lightening unleashed a flood of biblical proportions. Within minutes the roads had become rivers and I saw Peter hesitate as the road ahead had water coursing across our path at least a foot deep and twenty feet across. Ducks and geese were being swept away and I swear I caught a glimpse of a small horse struggling against the torrent!

Banks were collapsing all around while the locals looked on at the apocalyptic destruction as lightening streaked through the sky and thunder drowned out all sound of our engines. It was at this point that I lost Peter!

Peter had been riding point since Lucy had continual spats with the older and wiser Gladys (Peter’s sat nav) who had proved infallible, while Lucy, who thought she knew it all with her updated maps and everything, constantly routed me in the most convoluted manner possible – I followed Peter rather placing my trust in Lucy. After 10 minutes I realised that emergency protocol had to kick in – forget “dinner in Brasov” this was now survival – we would re-group back at the hotel as agreed.

What followed was 2 hours of intense pain, mind numbing cold and draining concentration as cross winds blew the bike horizontally across the road nearly metre with each gust. I arrived at the hotel drowned and dishevelled to see
Peter’s bike already in the parking lot – obviously Gladys had come through for him once again while
Lucy was up to her usual games.

After thawing out in a long, scalding shower I went and knocked on Peter’s door and was greeted by an un-composed, distraught, ashen faced Peter – “I’ve lost my passport somewhere on the road today!”

In a foreign country, with multiple borders to cross – how do you get out? How do you get a replacement passport?? And what about our plans ahead? Where do you start?

I read once that the adventure doesn’t begin until the plans fall apart – until then it’s just a tour.

So actually, the tour just ended, but our adventure has only just begun 🙂

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Quite possibly the final resting place of Peter’s passport!