Three Rivers Tour – Romania

Did lekker 75km into Rumania, Drobeta-Turnu Severin along the iron gate gorge. Super duper scenery sometimes high up on the ridge. Lots of small climbs and one really big one for a loaded Qhub. Also back to 36 degrees so v.sweaty as well.
Ma coped brilliantly and in the last three days we have gained a day! Excellent.
In last night’s Pension we met our next room neighbour who was A large Canadian who retired at 42 and has been sailing and roaming the world since. Been to 61 countries. A bit full of himself but interesting. He talked about his travels and then said ” I am not a racist but” . I shrank away expecting the normal tirade, but he said , ” The one nation I hate is the French”. So funny, especially as he was of French Canadian extraction.

Eventually got to get my target of sleeping in an ex-commie, Russian style hotel. High ceilings, huge doors and narrow corridors. A Red behind every cupboard. Still looking for the hidden microphones. Very acceptable though and R400 for us for the night. Food in restaurant also OK but not getting us back.

Trying to organise a special break soon as Ma needs a rest. More news tomorrow, I hope.

Suddenly getting the feeling of finishing although we still have 800+ km to go. The Black Sea has always been like the fictitious Ocean At The Bottom Of The Garden. Now it is close by.
( Did I just steal that phrase?) [Ed: paraphrased rather than stole]

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Magnificent views at Iron Gate Gorge.

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Maggie in the old school hotel.

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“Foraging for food and alcohol” ???

Sorry for the gap in coms. I seem to have a huge urge to head north to Transylvania. Don’t know why. Something to do with Victor???
Anyway we are still on course for the Ocean at the end of the Lane.
Tried to rely on WiFi, but none at last place and broken at the place before!
Did a fine 90 k to last night’s stopover which didn’t quite work out due to lack of email. I planned to stay for two nights at Port Cetate, a Living Museum with artists, writers and poets etc in a whole bunch of restored Old Port buildings. They were full but let us Camp and use their facilities. A Really lekker plek. Would love to come back. Stayed only one night then rode a comfy 30 k to Calafat. A small old town but a good old hotel for two nights. Still very hot 36 today, so need a break

By the way, as we rolled into Port Cetate, there was Romanian Jacques distilling Peach Brandy! It was sooooper!

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Filling bottles at Romanian well.

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Brewing booze, Romanian style.

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Port Cetate artist house

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Transylvanian wine, R20 a bottle.

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Chilling in room now. Nice hotel after short ride today. No cycling paths unfortunately.
Just got back from you guessed it – supper. Had fish n chips no idea what fish it was but it was delicious. Dad was living dangerously and had pizza….

Tomorrow some sightseeing in the town. The real sightseeing is en route going through villages. Romania is a very poor country and there are lots of peasants living in squalor. The men pass their time drinking beer it seems. Everywhere you go there are ‘bars’ where they sit and watch the world go by. Sad really but it’s life. People who cruise the rivers on fancy liners don’t get to see that side of things. But I suppose they’re there for scenery and that’s fair enough hey?

Anyway, me and Dad are enjoying the whole experience. It won’t be long before we reach the Black Sea. Can’t believe how far we’ve gone already.

Now watching Midsomer Murders (in English fortunately) and enjoying the vino Dad got me to go with the two puncture marks I had on my arm this morning. Yes really. If it was a vampire bat it was a) very short sighted as it missed my neck by a mile and b) very small as the marks are only a centimetre apart…

***

After yesterday’s heat marathon the weather cooled to 33 degrees and we had an easy 70 k with a tail wind. Yippee!
The last few days have been a bit boring as we don’t see much of the Danube and we schlepp through endless Wheat and Sunflower fields, absolutely massive ones. Today huge fields of melons. There must be a melon for everyone in Europe.
Loads of horse and cart combinations taking melons to market. I don’t know who buys them all. Everyone sells melons from carts, car boots, stalls and just cardboard boxes. If they each sell five a day they must be lucky. Poverty is everywhere and somewhat a surprise for a country that is nearly an EEC member.

Arrived at our village stopover in Islaz. A long thin village of poor people and broken houses. As we cycled slowly down side street Ma was getting depressed that we would spend a night in a shanty. Then we arrived at Villa Giulia. A magnificent Italian Villa. What a surprise. Huge comfy bed, Italian furniture, big spotless bathroom. 9.5 Shower.

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Colin and the endless sunflower and melon fields.

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Maggie resting next to the cemetary, greeted by friendly locals.

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Buffalo feeding at water hydrant. Life saving in the heat.

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Plums…

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More comfy than the orange dome.

Tough day of 75 k into 30kph headwind and 31 degrees. Just got head down and worked hard in 20 km chunks. Still going through massive fields with Romanian ladies farming with their huge melons. Maybe that should read, harvesting their huge melons!

Stopped to pay respects as funeral procession with body on trailer behind tractor came past. Eerie.

Arrived at hotel to find it non existent. Booked in next door, 4 star!!! Then had dinner in only restaurant in town. Good food, good price. All combined still way below our budget.

On the way ,I stopped to soak under village hydrant but no water. People came out the neighbouring house and gave me a two litre bottle of cold water. Bear in mind they lived in a hovel called a house, in Romanian terms.

We are in Zim ( Zimnicea ), people live in shacks, no running water, shops with nothing to sell, locals fetching huge bags of mealie meal on makeshift trolleys. Reminds me of another Zim.

Should be three more sleeps till the seaside. Yippeee!

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“Hotel and taxi”

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Actual lodging.

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Luxury day! Easy 72 km on flat, good roads with little Sunday traffic. Bonus, a tail wind the whole way. Yippeee!
Still boring wheat and melon fields but with occasional villages to help us relieve boredom.
We finished at Giurgiu, quite a big town. Loads of collapsed old industrial buildings from Russian times.

Motel had a good rating on booking.com but is very odd. Restaurant is closed but they kindly made us pig and chips tonight. Good supply of beer so all is OK. Room old but clean.

I forgot, breakfast at the 4 star Inter Hotel was really strange. Should lose a star. We ordered the French breakfast. We were delivered two bowls of at least 500/600 ml of hot milk and had to deposit our bucket of muesli in it. Yuck. Then Six slices of stale bread and four choc croissants with one little block of butter and one little blikkie of jam. French apparently eat very strangely.

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4 thoughts on “Three Rivers Tour – Romania

  1. Mariana

    Hi you 2. I’m seeing everything through your eyes and the wonderful descriptive prose would make a “Best Seller” novelist green with envy, love reading every word ! Miss you my friend xxxx

    1. Bianca Cooper

      There have been many cold beers. Fewer tail winds but what does that matter when it’s acceptable to drink beer at 9am?

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