Monday, July 14, 2008

On the Liban(on)

Slowly but surely the roads in Harghita County are being resurfaced and therefore made driveable. When I arrived here (4 years ago TODAY! bloody hell), the roads here were appalling. Potholed and virtually impassable even for gas-guzzling SUVs (not that I ever actually experimented with one, but I reckon)

As time has gone on though the county council has made a concerted effort to make destinations accessible for people, which is a nice touch. Cities and towns are a bit slower to catch up, so you can still find yourself leaving a pristine new road surface for the old style potholed track whenever you get to a town or village, but you can't have everything.

Anyway, the latest road to get the treatment was the one that runs over the mountain between Udvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) and Gyergyo (Gheorgheni), and this weekend we drove along it to see places we'd never seen before, for fear of destroying the car. It was spectacular. The road crosses the mountain at a place called Liban, which affords great views over thickly forested mountains and hills.

Here is a map of Harghita County to give you a sense of where the road is:

Since the county has three sizeable towns of note and this road connects two of them, it seems like an important one to have had done, so presumably it will make life easier for people having to travel between the two. The bus which goes between them, for example, has always used that road and it must have been one of the most miserable "short" journeys in the country. Now however it will be almost pleasurable.

Another road which was made useable two or three years ago was the one over the Bucsin pass between Gyergyo and Parajd (Gheorgheni and Praid). I only know of a couple of important roads now that could really use some work - the one between Csikszereda and Gyergyo, and the one between Udvarhely and Keresztur (Cristuru Secuiesc)

By the way, I would have tried to show this map on Google Maps, but for some reason Google Maps hates Romania, and just has vast empty spaces where anything should be. There is nothing there north of Brasov. Absolutely nothing. It's weird. The satellite images work, though they're not especially close in, and the ones round here are all taken in the winter so you can't actually see half of the roads as they're covered in snow.

I would quite like to know what Google has against Romania and why they can't be arsed to stick a map up, though.

6 comments:

Gadjo Dilo said...

Where you are do you also get the roads-are-only-improved-if-the-incumbant-village/town-mayor-thinks-he might-lose-the-imminent-local-elections, Andy?

I've been wanting to visit Ghimeş-Făget (Gyimesbükk) as I've heard they've got some great music there - have you ever been, and if so what's the road like?

Andrei said...

You can find maps covering all of Romania here (only works on Internet Explorer):

http://www.ancpi.ro/

(Click on 'Server imagini')

Andy H said...

GD: Oh yes, though to its credit the County Council has been repairing roads even outside of election periods (I mean I know that's what it should do, but one does tend to get cynical sometimes)

The road to Gyimes is very good (well it's good at least as far as the beginning of the first village, after that it gets a bit worse), but at least from here through Csikszepviz (Frumoasa(!) in Romanian) and up and over the mountain it's excellent. It's a regular cycling route of mine as it's such a pleasure to ride on.

Andrei: Thanks a million! That's a fantastic site.

Frank Sellin said...

GoogleMaps is giving me the second highest possible resolution on Miercurea Ciuc. Unfortunately, I can't link the iframe version to your comment page, but insert "Miercurea Ciuc" and zoom into your heart's content.

Maybe Google prefers Romanian place names over Hungarian ones? :D :D

-F.

Frank Sellin said...

P.S. The above comment refers to satellite mode.

Gastaldo said...

@ Andrei,

Great link !! really really great..