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J156 - Sunday, March 21: Bran-Somewhere in the mountains heading for Sighisoara

74.08km – 10H23’
Altitude : 608m
At km8 Serge is at the foot of the famous and much visited Bran castle.  The village is still asleep.  Then, 500 meters further on it’s time to say goodbye to Chantal, Cleo, Michel and Adrian, who came to spend the evening and the night with us.  We have an appointment for next September when we will go through the Ain department, since Chantal and Michel live near Bourg-en-Bresse.  We give a farewell salute, with a thousand thanks for your warm welcome.  The route continues to Brasov, which we will skirt to the west before picking up the N13, which we will follow to Sighisoara.
The terrain is not as hilly as yesterday.  Serge is on a vast plain below Brasov, at an altitude of 500 to 600 meters.  We can see the ski station of Poiana-Brasov to the east, used mostly by skiers from Bucharest.  Daniel was there for one week in 1982, memories, memories.  The region of Brasov was Saxon, i.e., German long ago.  There are many fortified castles, which explain why the region attracts a lot of tourists.
It is also an area with a large bear population.  60% of the wild bears and 40% of the wolves of Europe live in Romania.  Some bears even go into Brasov to feed on garbage.  Serban told us the following story on the subject: during training one day, he found himself nose to nose with 2 bear cubs and their mother.  He was sure the game was over; luckily the mother, who was behind the cubs, slipped on a plaque of ice, which enabled Serban to take to his heels.  Still today when he tells about the experience his heart beat accelerates.  Every year there are 2, 3 or 4 deaths among hikers attacked by bears.  Even if Bertrand would like to take a photo of one of these charming small “plantigrades,” I would rather we not meet one.
In Romania, there are road and shop signs which we can understand.  Romanian is a Romance language that is rather easy for us to understand, the same as Italian or Spanish.  It is worth mentioning that many Romanians speak French for the following reason.  During the communist period, the choice of languages in school was limited to French or Russian.  For those Romanians who refused to learn Russian they naturally studied French.
This Sunday the Romanians have brought out their barbecues to grill meat.  It’s good to have a picnic outside regardless of the weather.
The Race around the European Union continues, Serge moves along at a good pace, even though the pain in his knee has returned.

GPS : N 45.54520° E 025.24245°