Tag: #accomadationontour

Rural Romania

There are good days on the bike, and there are better days on the bike, but some days are just magical.

The bike trip eastern europe 429
Terry and I crossing the Danube river from Bulgaria into Romania

The day, back in 2013 when we cycled from Bran Castel Transylvania deep into Romania was just one of the most magical days to go cycling.
We broke camp and were on our way around 8 in the morning. It was a little cool and for the first time on the trip I needed to start the day with my riding jacket.

The pine forests were alive with the summer, the air was not only for breathing, but you could taste the freshness and purity of the day.
We had the most magical first 30 km making our way through small villages and waving to locals who all waved back, man woman and child.

We stopped for morning tea and was greeted by the owner who made us apple tea and an apple Danish type pastry. It was lovely and we all sat in the morning sun enjoying the day.
We continued our meander through the country side, stopping to talk to local farmers tossing and baling the hay all my hand. We could have made this journey 100 years ago and the view and people would have been the same.

 


My soul filled with joy as we pasted through village after village of country Romania.
We were getting close to the 1000 km mark of our journey and we all agreed to stop and mark the occasion with a photo.

As Terry was setting up the tripod all the kids in the village came over to see what we were up to. A local man stopped and the lady whose house we stopped outside of came out join in on our 1000 km celebration.
The lady did not speak English but a little Spanish and I was able in a very mixed up sort of way to translate basic information back and forth. Ema would have laughed if she could have heard me bastardise her native tongue.

The lady went inside and came out with 4 coffees for us to have, it was a very memorable stop and we rode away talking and chatting our adrenaline on high, and the kids chasing us down the street.

 


We cycled on, the road was flat and the wind on our backs, perfect.
Lunch was at a small village, we found a small shop to buy some bread and ham and make sandwiches whilst talking to the locals as they all come out to see what was going on.
We rode on and into our camp site by 4.00 pm, 110 km of easy flat roads with plenty of stopping to take it all in.
We managed to set up our tents and then the thunder storm rolled in so the 4 of us made for the cover of our tents with the gift from the campsite lady of homemade cherry liqueur.
Terry does not drink but I did the honourable thing and drank his, it would be rude not to.


So we toasted our day from different tents as the rain came tumbling down.
Now some might think that to sit in a very small tent with all your gear in a thunder storm is a pretty ordinary way to spend a holiday, but not the slow cyclist, this is living……..

007 on a Bike, finding accommodation can be like a secret mission…

Boris leans in close and in a heavy Eastern European accent whispers “Listen very carefully as I shall only say this once” I raise an eyebrow but kept listening not wanting to upset him. “First you must go straight on this road, at zee church you must go right” he is hard to understand and uses lots of hand gestures. “Then when you get to zee semaphore” we stop him at semaphore and ask for more details. He grunts and says, “Just listen please semaphore like flashing” he is opening his hands in a twinkle little star fashion. “Traffic lights“ I say. “Ya, ya, then you must go left, then straight on, then you will get to where the trains go over the road” “Like a bridge” I say. “Ya, ya” he waves me off uninterested in my understanding. “Then you come to Hotel Costa’s, there will be a white car with a lady, she will flash her lights at you, she is your contact” Now is this a part in an Ian Fleming Bond novel or another story from the Slow Cyclist ?

 

 It was our first night in the mountains of Montenegro and I was looking forward to some authentic local food. We walked into the small town of Centinje and sat for our meal at a street side café.

The menu was not in English and there was nobody there to help us so we just let the waitress order for us. We needed a very big meal after climbing out of Koto; one of the biggest days of the tour climbing and climbing.

Good thing is Beer is pretty easy to translate and if you hold your hands up and apart to indicate a big beer then you usually get a half liter, Turns out the waitress did well and we had pork fillets with chips, basic but very nice.

 

 

We planned to have a relatively easy cycling day to the capital Podgorica, our reasoning being that the last day was a very heavy day and the day before a long day in the saddle. So in the morning we were in no hurry to set out on our 40-km ride to Podgorica.

Ok I shall make my apologies here, I know I am a visitor to this country and I have respect for all her people, but Podgorica is not going to win the tidy town of the year award anytime into the future. The capital is littered with graffiti and rubbish, guessing they don’t get many tourists here and it appears there is only the big hotels with hefty tariffs in the city. No pensions, rooms or even campsites. We were asking every one we could and having trouble finding someone who spoke English, that’s when we met Boris.

 

Ok so my first paragraph may not have expressed how friendly Boris was, he was a real nice guy and when he found out about our plight he was on the phone ringing around looking for somewhere for us to stay. That’s when we got the instructions to meet the woman in the white car, so off we cycled looking for the mysterious woman.

15 minutes later and on the other side of the city we met her, I was amazed as I thought it was some sort of gee up. She had an apartment we could let for 1 night at a very good price, I questioned her occupation, because she looked and I say this without judgment, like a hooker.

Maybe letting us rent the place for one night was more financially beneficial to her than her normal activities. We slept in many strange places on our tour of the Adriatic coast and up into Montenegro, we seem to have a lot of luck when it comes to places to stay, we have literally stumbled across so many bargains and good accommodation that I could write a book on how to tour Europe on the cheap.

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