I got an early start this morning. Unfortunately Tourist Information did not. In this large, primary tourist town, not only is TI closed on weekends, but open hours during the week are noon – 6 pm, and they’re hidden in the museum and hard to find.
Andrew and Hayden headed off the Bran Castle (Vlad the Impaler’s castle, though really not). I spent the morning researching where to cycle, waiting for Tourist Information to open. By 11 am I had all the information I needed, marked up my map, and headed out.
Yesterday everything worked out for a great day. Even the failures added to the experience. I had little expectation today would rise to the same level, but the day could have tried just a little harder. Four more fortified churches, none as good as yesterday. All closed to visitors, or closed for renovation. The castle also completely closed for renovation, and encased in scaffolding.
At one point, in a very small town, I found a brand new Tourist Information center. She was able to tell me what was closed or locked up and she didn’t know who had the key, but no suggestions on where I should go. I suppose technically that’s information, but the return of time for information not so good.
Monday meant heavier traffic, so once headed back to the hostel I found a back road – slower but more relaxing. The road degraded to packed gravel, then loose gravel, then finally ended at a bridge. If there was a bridge, that would have been fine. But the bridge was completely gone, part of road renovation from the other direction. The river at that point was a canal, a 20 foot steep man-made slope to the water, and the water moving fast and deep. Despite ranging back and forth 100m in either direction, I had little choice but to trace my steps back to the last town, adding some 10 km to my trip, back across the gravel.
Back in town, Andrew and Hayden had been unimpressed by Bran Castle, packed shoulder to shoulder with tourists. At least Andrew found a Dracula fridge magnet. We hired a taxi to take us to the best vegetarian restaurant in town (which also served great ribs, as I refuse to become a herbivore). Cost of taxi? $1, and adding another mode of transportation to my trip.