Ten multinational women embarked on a guided biking and walking tour of the Romanian region of Transylvania. We boarded a bus at the Bucharest airport and settled in for a five-hour drive to Richiș, a dot of a town in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. I was part of a group of 10 women, all of different nationalities. Our common bond was my childhood best friend, Catherine, who has lived in Europe for almost three decades. It was her idea to bring her friends together in Transylvania, a part of the world most commonly associated with vampires.
Our plans did not involve Vlad the Impaler. Rather, we were embarking on a five-night biking and walking tour with the Slow Cyclist , a British travel company. Founder Oli Broom first visited Transylvania in 2014 and was smitten by its tumbledown quirkiness and authentic field-to-table culture. The Romanian region had an untapped tourism infrastructure in its charmingly restored but mostly empty network of guesthouses. My group visited in May — peak wildflower season.
Our destination was the Saxon Lands, a collection of villages colonized by the Germans in the 12th century. Current residents are mostly Romanians and Gypsies, who scoffed when I asked if they wanted us to refer to them as Romani, which I thought was the more respectful term.
These towns are the land that time forgot. Hay is hauled in horse-driven carts and homes stand close together along dirt roads, like brightly frosted gingerbread houses. There are storks nesting on […]