This tour will long linger in my memories. The cycling was scenic, varied and truly fun. Much of it was through truly remote areas, such as through a dense forest where we were told the largest concentration of brown bears in Europe still make their home. We waved to farm workers, many of them Roma, on the sides of dirt roads. We passed medieval castles and towering churches.
And on most days we saw far more horse carts than cars.
Other aspects were perhaps even more memorable. The lodging, for example, was unique and wonderful. In Talisoara we stayed in a restored castle and dined in its richly decorated banquet hall. In Cund, we overnighted and dined at Valea Verde Retreat, an endeavor that has brought a dying farm village back to life. Guests get to experience farm life as it had been for centuries—and even go foraging with the chef/owner, Jonas Schaefer.
The traditional cuisine was another highlight. Valea Verde has also become an award-winning destination for foodies across Europe, and our group savored some of the best farm-to-table cuisine I’ve experienced—and it’s especially fun when the table is at the farm.
We also visited Moşna and had lunch at the farm of Willy Schuster, a passionate supporter of the cause of sustainable and organic farming in Romania and abroad. After he introduced us to “the happiest cows in all of Europe,” he and his team brought out tray after tray of fresh farm delights.
Also along the way we also got to watch craftspeople and artisans at work such as brick makers, blacksmiths, and shoemakers.
All this is part of efforts to keep traditional crafts and customs alive.
So this is a tour that truly benefits the people and communities we pass through.
--Jim Johnson, founder and president, BikeTours.com