Farther away in the northern range of the Apusenis lies the most beautiful of all Romanian caves. It is called Pestera Ursilor – The Bears’ Cave – and was discovered less than 20 years ago. It owes its name to the remains of an ancient species of bear that were discovered here.
In terms of cities and culture, the region offers quite a lot if you are prepared to spend some time driving. The main cities of the area are Turda and well-known Cluj-Napoca. Turda is an old mining town, offering a visit to an underground salt mine which was originally set-up for mining by the Romans, and which is now known to be a spa for people with respiratory problems. Cluj-Napoca is an exciting and vivid university town, offering all comfort and services one can image in contrast to the rural villages.
All good stories must have some suspense, so we had ours in the form of a ripped off track bar bracket on the rear axle. We presume that the very bad shape of the unpaved (and paved roads), and a fully loaded and packed Jeep, caused too much stress on the Rubicon. By the last days of our holiday, we started to hear a weird kloink-kloink sound from the back of the Jeep when we were climbing up to the Bihor Nagy mountain pass. It turned out that the rear track bar bracket welds had been ripped off, clearly too week construction of Jeep here!
We had to stop because the body of the Jeep started to rub against our tires. We made it off-road (luckily) and were towed after seven hours of waiting. In terms of service and helpfulness of the assistance team and Jeep dealer in Cluj-Napoca, there was nothing but praise. The bracket was welded back on in less than a day, and we got home safely.
In all, this trip from Camp Jeep through Poland and Hungary, and our longer holiday in Romania, clocked off 6450km – 2,580 miles – on the counter. Despite warnings from friends and wild stories about the dangers of Romania, we had a great and very pleasant holiday with great people and great experiences. I highly recommend this trip for all!
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.