Biking in Romania
the first report of Dave, 08.02.2007-08.07.2007
Well, Dave's trip "Biking in Romania" started a long time ago with lots of preparation. And because it isn't quite simple to take your bike over the ocean and go pedal in a completely unknown country the preparation required time.
He had big plans for his adventure.
But all that wound up blowing in the wind when he arrived. At least he told us this. He means, I think, that you can plan and plan but, in the end, you must deal with what you find before you. He is prepared for that and welcomes it.
The flight was pleasant and it arrived on time sharp. But it was a Lufthansa and what else can you expect from Germans?
He was accommodated at the Passion Club Hotel in Bucharest. This is a 3 star hotel in my neighborhood, which I recommended because he wanted it to be easy to meet and talk with my family. He took a single room (68 EUR/80$ for a night, breakfast included) and he told me he has no complaints, but that a US hotel at the same price offers much more.
Until his departure to Pitesti a few days later, we talked a lot. He isn't out to see any particular place in Bucharest. He is interested only in seeing the real streets and market places of Romania and in talking with the people, learning about their lives and taking some pictures with them.
In the first few days in Romania, he discovered an unusual thing on the streets. If you smile at people they don't respond to your smile immediately like they might in other places. But if you ask them for help they do their best to help. The explanation is quite simple: Romanians are nice helpful people but worries about the next day delete the smile from their faces - at least until they get to know you.
The first stage of Dave's
biking in Romania
I advised Dave to take the train from Bucharest to Pitesti because it's a long distance (120 km of only unfinished plains under a very hot sun) so he took it.
The ticket cost was 10 LEI but it was a slow train called "Personal". A Personal train is the best when you travel with your bike, because Romanian trains don't have a luggage car. To take your bike along, you must just speak with the conductor and maybe give him a tip.
From here I don't have much to tell you. I was worried about him till his first message because the weather got bad. We had many storms all over the country, especially in the mountain area where Dave was traveling.
But in his first message he told me he's well, in Curtea de Arges. He had a pleasant train trip to Pitesti. But not a word about how he arrived in Curtea de Arges (by train, by bus, by bike?) I am trying to pin him down for more details.
In Curtea de Arges he stayed in the Posada Hotel, which was quite satisfactory for him. It cost about 35EUR/58$ for one day bed and breakfast. He found Curtea de Arges a very nice green town. He rested there for a couple of days partially because he felt tired and needed to recover from the trip over, partially because of the rainy weather.
On Wednesday, the 8th of August he took his bike and started a trip to Corbii a village about 20 km /12 miles from Curtea de Arges to find an old church dug into the mountain stone. The place is called Corbii de Piatra (Stone Ravens).
From there he plans to see the Poienari Fortress (Dave saw a TV special on this before he started his trip). This is the real fortress of Wallachian prince, Vlad The Impaler. Vlad is also known as the Romanian Count Dracula to many and this fortress was built high on a mountain top of mixed stone and brick in an attempt by Dracula to ward off 2 separate enemies: the local merchant classes who wanted to reduce his authority and external conquerors.
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