Cycling around saxon villages, Romania - May 5 - May 13, 2019
The Saxon villages of Transylvania sounded to me like an intriguing place to visit on a bike. it is marketed as a region full of history, social upheaval and change, all set to a backdrop of stunning scenery. it is all of these things and more, the little medieval villages inhabited by industrious saxon farmers for over eight hundred years lie in amongst the pretty wooded meadows and valleys.
Due to economic deprivation over many years, these once prosperous villages are now set in a time freeze. unchanged in over a century. beautiful castles and fortified churches sit beside well constructed houses set out in the neat linear fashion of the Saxon village.
Since the communist era many of the Saxon people left their houses and businesses and returned to Germany . much of the land is common ground, grazed by the romany shepherds with their flocks of sheep, usually assisted by half a dozen big dogs helping to guard against the bears and wolves also living in the area!
Poverty is evident in this area, the villages and churches are very run down, though there are signs of funding and investment to repair and maintain.
It is a fabulous place to tour on a gravel bike, in fact just made for gravel bike touring! some of the roads are well surfaced, but many are either really badly potholed or just clay and rubble surfaces. there are many footpaths throughout the region which make great cycling in dry weather, beware though, when it rains the mud becomes a tenacious sticky clay that will stop any bike in its tracks! The topography is gently rolling hills with some steep but short climbs. all the while travelling through open meadows, woods and forests.
So its a great place to cycle tour, but if like me you prefer to stay in bed and breakfasts rather than camp then logistically its very difficult to make a plan. I was unable to confirm any bookings until I contacted Silviu Martin of Martin Adventures. Silviu was terrific, he arranged all the accommodation along the way , no mean feat as even with use of the native language tying down bookings was difficult. Silvui is the consummate professional, he is conscientious, and really cares that his clients get a good experience. We were a self guided group, but Silvui kept in touch to ensure everything went smoothly. I would highly recommend Martin Adventures