After months of preparation we are finally gone. First step: Romania.
Our first day was long but everything was ok: no breakage of bike in the aircraft and no loss of screw at the dismantling and at the reassembly: perfect ! The path between the airport and centre of Bucharest was less easy. We had the choice between à motorway or a part on a dirt road with mud. We chose the second option. The mud sooted our fenders. We also see the number of roaming and aggressive dogs in Romania. Note that Fanchon has a phobia of dogs! Churches are very common in countryside and are often in much better conditions than most houses.
Then, we visit during two days the capital city, Bucarest with friends came for the wedding. Gabriel who has ever been here five years ago noted an imrpovement in the city: less electric cables, dogs and cars. Bucarest has lot of orthodox churches. Its architecture is inspired either by french architecture or by communist style, which creates a real contrast!
The parliament palace is a fine example of architecture built under the communist regime. Formerly called the House of the People, it was erected in 1984 by Ceausescu. Its floor space of 45,000 m² and its 12 floors perfectly reflect the megalomania of this dictator. During its construction, several architects worked in parallel, which gives sometimes very different styles to the many rooms .
The trip continued in Craiova for the Franco-Romanian wedding of Pierre and Oana. All the guests were welcomed for the midday meal at her grandmother’s house. Tradition has it that foreigners, as a sign of welcome, are greeted with a piece of bread to soak in salt.
The day continued in a typical Romanian restaurant. We spent the whole night dancing in circles on traditional music. The watchword was to dance between each of the dishes and only god knows that there were many! The Romanians were indefatigable, the dances lasted at least 15 minutes each. So when it begins, it lasts for a little while! We take this post to thank Pierre and Oana for the traditional dancers, it was a very nice surprise. As well as for their warm welcome throughout this weekend.
It is then time to leave the soft mattress and the hot shower to really start our cycling trip.
The first day of our trip should be quiet. Our postponed departure for one day allows us to discover the different villages on our route under the sun. We exchange briefly with the people we met on the side of the road. The photo of a stork’s nest allows us to meet a very nice little grandpa who has also traveled in Europe but behind the wheel of a truck.
After 50 km we decide to find a place to sleep. At the exit of a village we meet Claud, very nice who returns home on foot. He speaks a little French and invites us to follow him to his home. We accept the offer and continue the journey with him at the pace of the walk. After 10 km, we understand that he actually lives 20 km further. Faced with his insistence and seeing the evening arrive, we agree to meet in his village, we by bike and he by hitchhiking. But when we arrive, no Claud and we can’t find his place.
Next to the church, we ask a person who has the keys if we can put our tent in the courtyard. Dan refuses but invites us to his place. We are invited to sleep and eat in the traditional house of his family. Water is drawn from the well and our room is heated with a mass stove. We are also taken to a private tour of the local monastery where his wife Georgica works. The next day, Miha the girl goes late to work in order to say goodbye. They give us a good breakfast of eggs and sausages, enough to build up our strength to cross the Danube and reach Bulgaria!
This first day was finally very trying with its 80 km and its magnificent encounters!