Contrasts in Romania

We are now in Galati, where the Danube makes its final turn eastward to the Black Sea. On Saturday, yesterday, we took three trains to get here from Carabia.

We pedalled the 46 km or so from the town of Bechet where we had spent a night in a hotel that made the previous one, which I described as derelict, look like luxury. There was a bucket in the corner with a rag to wash yourself, and the loo on a different floor and involved two footpads and a hole. Ths sheets were less than clean, so I got out my sleeping bag. Chris didn’t, but lay awake thinking of bedbugs instead. The padron was a scary character who felt like a mafioso or former Party heavyweight. We had been too tired to ask about price the night before, so he grossly overcharged us.

At breakfast, he brought in a whole raw cow liver in a large bowl. He announced it was ficat –liver, and made mooing noises so we knew it was from a cow. Romanians love liver –I don’t. When I drew a picture of an egg being broken into a frying pan, we got steak, fries and tomatoes, the same as we’d had for supper.

Accommodation was scarce along the banks of the Danube in Southwestern Romania, and we were concerned about safety of camping for reasons of poverty and ethnicity. The novelty of being a public spectacle quickly faded. We couldn’t stop in the country for a rest without being asked for food, or in the village cafés without attracting a crowd. The villages seemed to have been developed in strips along the main road, leaving barely any quiet countryside. It was hot, and the terrain would have been the same for days. In hindsight, I (Margo) was getting ill. We decided to use a day of our Eurail Pass.

We arrived here in Galati at 11:00 p.m., and were chased as we pedalled from the railway station by the worst pack of street dogs we had yet to encounter. I yelled No! Bad Dog! in English, and pedalled like hell. We checked in at a three star hotel as recommended by the train conductor, and this morning it was clear that my stomach was not at all happy. We paid for a second night, and I spent the morning in bed.

This area seems much wealthier, in fact rather like Vancouver on a hot day. We strolled gently along the riverfront promenade this afternoon, along with much of the rest of the city’s population. Nobody bothered us. We are not actually on the Black Sea, but this is clearly an area that has long been well developed, both for tourism and otherwise. An elegant wedding has taken place at the hotel each night we’ve been here.

Our plan for tomorrow, if my innards are OK, is to take another ferry across the river and pedal to Tulcea. From there, we can take a boat to water-only-access town in the Delta, and perhaps get a natural history tour.

One response to “Contrasts in Romania

  1. Hope Margo has a quick recovery. Really enjoying reading about your adventures!/m.

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