Woke up today to an inspiring backyard view and a lovely, homemade breakfast buffet (jams, yogurt, butter, dutch pancakes, apple juice, eggs from the farm -- yum!). Then it was off to a 9:30 AM start. I'm not going to lie; I was dreading it and telling myself to take deep breaths. The kids and I talked a lot about what our gears should be while biking and guess what -- we kicked ass. We did so much better today with the hills, but that probably is because the hills were early on (hills were about 9 miles of our 20 mile ride today) The kids really did awesome, but they also had there moments, like "this is stupid", "I hate this", "I am never biking like this again." So I kept encouraging them the best that I could and then...we were done. WE DID IT!! Fifty-five miles in two days (six hours the first day, three hours the second day). Seriously so proud of the littles.
Our pick-up point was the super inspiring Interethnic Museum of the Hartibaciu Valley. Stefan, our museum guide and owner, launched the museum two years ago. Their story goes: he and his brother began collecting things from abandoned houses in the area 20 years ago as a hobby, and today, they own the non-profit museum AND renovate houses in the Southern Transylvania area. I also learned that they are supported / sponsored by Prince Charles, who visits them annually.
The entire trip was truly an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!
A few fun facts about our biking adventure:
Sky was shocked by an electric fence, while trying to feed some calfs.
A bug flew up Ryder's nose.
We were hit by a ton of bugs and have the bug guts on our clothes, to prove it.
We were flying down a hill and my phone went flying off of my bike and did many flips and flops until it finally came to a stop. Thankfully, it did not crack or break.
The dog at the guest house would hug the kid's legs with one arm to be pet (over and over again) and wouldn't let go.
We were blown kisses by some of the locals -- and everyone was kind.
We were stared at often.
We met a bee-keeping, traditional glass-painting Priest of a local village.
We saw a shepherd and his hundreds of sheep -- luckily, not the dog.
We saw storks and their huge nests, on top of light poles.
We learned so much history.
Sky: "I would rather climb Mt Fuji again than do this."
Ryder: "I will NEVER bike like this again."
Sky: "This is stupid."
Ryder: "And why did you think that we would like this?"
And a bit more about the inspiring Museum and their mission, courtesy of the Transylvania Cycling website:
A central objective for every trip we make in Hârtibaciu Valley area is the The Interethnic Museum from Alțâna.
The local ethnographic collection has in excess of 1000 objects, amassed over the course of 12 years from 25 different settlements, from all over the Hârtibaciu Valley. It brilliantly succeeds at bringing together the most relevant cultural assets of Romanian, Hungarian, Saxons and Roma ethnic groups. This impressive collection grows constantly thanks to donations and acquisitions and it includes everything from traditional costumes and furniture to ceramics, religious objects and folk technique.
The person who owns the museum is also a knowledgeable and dedicated guide, who is fully committed to the traditional village in this region. In addition to the Museum collection, you will have a chance at expanding your knowledge about the traditional houses made exclusively from natural materials. There is no shortage of programs aimed at reopening the manufacturing centers, where traditional bricks and tiles are produced.
The key to succeed in this line of work is reteaching the local people how to maintain and repair the traditional houses. This is the cornerstone of most of the existing projects and many of them are already underway, which explains the unbridled enthusiasm of people who got involved and already get to witness the progress made.