Tag: #lovetravel

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……..

The Time of our Lives

‘Hey Brit, how you going’ talking on the phone with my daughter, she was 2780 km away working in the northern territory.
‘Hi dad, how are you?’
‘Matt and I just came across a really good deal for flights to Kuala Lumpur, what do you say we head there for a few weeks to have a look, be like celebrating your 21st’
‘Sounds good to me Dad, I could do with a break from working’
So, it was settled, instead of a 21st party why not spend the money on a sneaky little 2-week trip to Malaysia.
The flights were cheap, very cheap as the carrier Air Asia tried to get a foot hold in the Australian market. $49 flights to KL not to be passed up. Problem was we had to fly out of Perth, Matt and I living in Wollongong and Britt living in the Northern Territory a plan needed to be formulated. We still had to arrange fares home, with the proviso that economy was a factor.
That trip was so much fun, me spending quality time with my grown-up children before they became burdened with the responsibilities of adulthood; I know what goes on tour stays on tour, but me being the responsible adult I feel I can divulge some of the more humourist aspects of the time we spend together.

Matt and I flew out to Yulara to spend a day or two with Brit whilst she finished up her work, then the 3 of us flew on to Perth and spent a day wandering around. An early morning flight had us landing in KL around lunch time. We had no accommodation booked, we never do favouring the seat of your pants style of travelling. Matt bragged about how good he was at getting local information out of the people, so Britt and I challenged him to see what he could get out of our taxi driver on the way into town.
‘How are you mate, has it been busy today?’ Matt starting up the conversation
‘Uhh’
‘So, is there a good place we can stay that’s cheap?’
‘Uhh’
What’s your favourite place to eat?’
‘Uhh’
In the back-seat Britt and I thought this conversation was hilarious, Matt was struggling and his claim of the guy who is at one with the locals was in serious doubt.
‘Ok can you just drop us off near the centre of town, maybe in China town’ Matt was beat and he knew it, so the first joke of the tour was on him.
‘Uhh’
Britt and I lost it in the back and roared with laughter.


We spend the next few days in KL and enjoyed every moment, we hung like mates drinking beers, eating with the locals on the streets and generally taking the piss out of each other. Another funny story, we were wandering around the city and the afternoon thunderstorm hit bringing with it torrential rain with added thunder and lightning. We headed for cover at a bar (we are Aussies) and ordered 3 beers; wasn’t long before we realized it was a bar frequented by working girls, and as it was only afternoon not very busy. They left us alone; It was obvious we were just after a bit of shelter from the rain. One of the girls out of boredom, and I imagine practicing her English came over for a chat with no thought of drumming up business. We chatted for a while, and whilst Matt was in the bathroom Britt in a rather mischievous way told her Matt was looking for a wife. It was so funny watching Matt fight off the advances of this young lady, I even think she knew it was a joke and pushed it further. We had to make a run for it in the rain when she had to go back to work, we laughed and made our way to a more suitable place to have our evening meal.


I didn’t escape the ridicule of the guys either, I probably copped the most, but as the author of this I won’t go into too much 😊
A few days later we were navigating our way through the language barriers and heavy crowds of the very busy KL bus terminus. I may have accidently knocked over a lady with my back pack, the people of Malaysia are on average a lot smaller than us from the west. We were late for our bus and I found the bay we were to hustle too so I turned (with back pack on) to the guys to point out which direction we needed to go. I didn’t even feel the poor woman I knocked over and it was only when I turned again (nearly taking out her kids) that I realized what was going on. Britt was helping her to her feet and Matt was smiling, knowing he had years of material he could use to ridicule me into the future; and he has.

We caught the bus south to the city of Malacca where we set up camp in a two-bedroom apartment close to the centre of the city. Matt being the pest he is shot gunned (to call shotgun is to claim a seat or room for oneself) the biggest room with the queen-sized bed and left the cupboard like room with 2 single beds too Britt and I; We were not having this so Brit and I raided his room and pulled all the bed clothes and general messed the place up. This horse play soon turned into full on wrestles in Matts room throwing pillows and generally acting like children. The poor bed could not handle the pressure and collapsed, the three of us could not stop laughing, it was hilarious, it took us many minutes to regain control of our giggles. Britt and I got up and left Matt in his very “rock star like” trashed room ‘All right you can have the big room’
We did report the bed and all was ok with the owners, although we were joking around were not hoodlums 😊


Many funny stories from our few days in Malacca; Matt and I stumbling into a bar run by the local bikie gang, the heat of the night markets, Brit if your reading remember “Sweat bombs”.
I may save these stories for another post.

After a few days, we again found ourselves on a bus heading south, this time to Singapore. At customs, the Singapore officials decided that Matt was due for some extra attention and held him up for more body and bag searches. They tried to hustle Brit and I on, but I refused to go anywhere without him, it got a little heated as I bluntly refused, common sense took over, one of the experienced officers intervened letting me hang around, more to save the hassle I would imagine. Not sure how much longer I could have stayed, what if they drew weapons, would I still refuse to leave, I just knew I wasn’t going to let Matt out of sight.
So, with Matt well and truly searched we headed into Singapore, found some digs in the Indian quarter and spent 2 days exploring the wonderful city, it was in this metropolis that the famous “Singapore KFC Incident” unfolded.
I will not be releasing the details of this incident here, for several reasons; the main one being Brit gets married in 2 weeks and it makes a wonderful addition to my father of the bride speech 😊

We made it home via several cheap flights, taking way too long, but keeping with the theme of the trip. We had a ball, we had a laugh and for this I am forever grateful.
As I mentioned Britt marries Dave in less than 2 weeks, Matt married Margot 4 years ago; well into the journey we call life. Both well and truly making their way in the world, but every now and then when the three of us are together the conversation will lead to ‘remember on the KL trip when Dad did………..…..