The Black Sea Coast

On Wednesday morning my intestines showed signs of being under control –though I was tired. I blessed modern antibiotics and admonished myself for not having begun to take them earlier. We loaded our bikes and panniers into Petre’s boat and began the journey south through the delta to Murighiol, from where we would pedal south towards Constanta. We felt like true explorers with our bikes and gear in the boat, and Petre’s French bulldog, Zia, came along –adding to the feeling of an adventure. This was a logistical move, but we still slowed to look at shore birds and fish traps.

Our timing forced us to keep moving, but I could have easily spent more time in the delta. There are areas of higher ground which hold interesting plant communities of oaks and lianas, and there areas of shifting sand dunes closer to the Sea itself. After lunch in Murghiol with Petre, we started south. We met two young women –one German, one Kiwi–cycling the opposite way, who had started in Germany. We also met some Romanian and US soldiers in a Hummer! We were near a NATO base, and there was a training exercise in progress. I was slow and tired, but we made it to Jurilovca to a small, clean and friendly hotel, and continued to Constanta the next day.

We’d had romantic notions of walking barefoot on golden sand, and dipping out feet into the Black Sea. The resort area north of Constanta involved a strip of high-rise hotels that make beach access almost impossible, so we contented ourselves with a rest at a beach on the lagoon side, just inland from the hotel strip. This was a relief after passing through an area of heavy industry where Chris had yet another flat. (A tire rant will come later. ) There were several kind offers of help as we fixed the flat on the shoulder of a busy ramp. We also saw several sport/road cyclists as we approached Constanta –the first we’d seen since Hungary.

We pedalled to the train station to book our journey home. Constanta is not bike-friendly, in fact the city cycling experience was harrowing –if not terrifying. Arriving at the station, we were swarmed by a group of twelve-year-olds putting their hands all over our bikes and gear. They backed off with a few sharp words from us, but experiences like this are new for me. As with other things we observed or encountered in Romanian train stations, this was hard on the Canadian and maternal sensibilities. Leaving the station having booked a train departure for the morning, we honed our defensive skills and teamwork as we found a two-star Soviet-era hotel –many hotels were full– and settled for the night. The dinner at the hotel, by the way, was delicious!

M

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