It’s like magic. For hours we have been driving in misty weather on one side of the mountain… hardly being able to see anything but what looks like white walls. Then we drive through the Balea tunnel and it’s like we evolve from one climate into another. From cold misty weather into a sunny warm climate with clear views. Needless to say that all of the sudden we feel back in the real world where there is so much to experience.
Photos wowtrendmag and Jeffrey Vandervaart from Vandervaartphotography.com
The scenery is just beautiful. Green hills, rivers, waterfalls, … lots of (wild?) dogs and some photogenic and curious donkeys.
As the minutes pass by we notice the temperature climbing from 8°C to 21°C. We enjoy the warmer weather… the smell of grass, of trees, … of nature in general – that’s another advantage of driving a convertible – and then there it is. That unforgettable view we have been awaiting for the past few days.
A panorama from the top of the hill on the Transfagarasan road that winds through the landscape like an artful serpentine. It just looks a perfect landscape painting of Vincent van Gogh. The Splugenpas may be impressive with its repetitive pattern of similar hairpin bends, but this Transfagarasan road through the Carpates at the foot of the Transylvanian Alps shows much more variation in its curves. Our heart pounces faster as we know that very soon we will be driving that part of the road.
It’s the irregularity in the pattern of curves which make the Transfagarasan more fun and challenging to drive. This road simply is the best circuit in the world! A good thing because the Transfagarasan road required 6.000 tons of dynamite to make it and 40 human lives were lost. Contrary to what we expected and were told, the road conditions till here were quite ok.
During our day trip we had the chance to drive four different cars – all with 2.0 liter (184 hp) engine and all manual gearbox, and one RF. The new Mazda MX-5 is from now on available with a new 2.0 liter engine and this Mazda wanted to promote. According to the manufacturer the average fuel consumption is 6.9 liter/100 km. Our consumption average fuel consumption was 7.1 liter/100 km with the RF and 7.4 liter/100 km with the roadster. Which car we preferred? Well, for this road the RF. That is the MX-5 with metal roof as we did experience less wind in the cabin than with the regular Mazda MX-5. However we think a 1.5 liter engine would have been even a more challenging drive. More fun to play!
From Valea Cu Pesti where we have lunch we drive about ten minutes more downwards to the Ceti dam at Vidraru lake.
It’s from here onwards driving further down to the Cet. Poenari castle ruin that road conditions get so bad that we really have to slow down and drive around holes in the asphalt concrete.
But it’s worth the trip as you will be able to have a look at or visit Cet. Poenari also known as Poenari Citadel, a ruined castle, notable for its connection to Vlad the Impaler and therefore also called ‘the real Dracula castle’.
Claims that the Poenari Castle would be the “real” Castle Dracula as featured in Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula novel have no basis in Stoker’s book. Stoker never heard of the Poenari Castle. It is ca. 200 km away from the novel’s place of action in the north-east corner of Transylvania.
Poenari Castle was apically constructed around the beginning of the 13th century by Wallachians. Around the 14th century, Poenari was the main citadel of the Basarab rulers. In the next few decades, the name and the residents changed a few times but eventually the castle was abandoned and left in ruins. In the 15th century, realizing the potential for a castle perched high on a steep precipice of rock, Vlad III the Impaler repaired and consolidated the structure, making it one of his main fortresses. Although the castle was used for many years after Vlad’s death in 1476, it eventually was abandoned again in the first half of the 16th century and was in ruins by the 17th century. The size and location of the castle made it difficult to conquer. In 1888, a landslide caused by an earthquake brought down parts of the castle which crashed into the river far below. It was slightly repaired and the walls and its towers still stand today. Like a visit? Be aware that you must climb 1,480 concrete stairs to get anywhere near the ruin.
On our way back we have a short stop at the cemetery. We hear some rustling and when we take a look a deer sprints away.
Prices new MX-5:
28.490 € for the 2.0 liter Roadster (184 hp)
30.990 Euros for the RF with manual gearbox and 32.490 Euros for the one with automatic gearbox.
What to pay attention to driving the Transfagarasan road
– Respect the speed limits as speeding might cause you trouble with the police.
– Be alert to deal with many unexpected circumstances: dogs, sheep or deer crossing the roads, rocks falling down, people crossing, … We experienced a lot of slow driving farmers on their tractors.
– Be aware that the further you approach the turning point of the route near Dracula’s castle, the worse road conditions get. All things we feel very okay to deal with…
#Mazda #MX5 #drivetogether