Good Bye Romania
We will not miss the bad tempered automobile drivers, thundering trucks, poor neglected dogs or Luminati, the proprietress at the only accommodation in Dragodana who, no matter how much money we tried to throw at her, refused to let us pitch our tents on her weed infested patch of grass for one night. We never did find out the reason for her vehement stubbornness, but immediately abandoned all manipulation when she relented to the idea of a slumber party in the large, dilapidated reception area. After another one of Chef Jonâ€™s sublime meals, the bleak floor was soon covered with sleeping mats as 45 weary bodies jostled for space and some semblance of slumber.
We WILL miss its unpretentiousness and the gentle, quizzical, salt of the earth rural folk who were so kind to so many of us along the road.
The mercury kept rising, and peaked at 45 degrees on the day we rode into Bucharest. Accompanied by a lone traffic officer on a motorbike, the riders braved the hectic traffic and potholed roads that led to the hotel. Pretty swish by Romanian standards, it had an elevator on the outside of the building which afforded a grand view of Ceausescuâ€™s â€œPalace of the Peopleâ€… the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. Renamed â€œParliament Placeâ€ after the demise of communism, it is now used for parliamentary sessions but most of the 3000 rooms stand empty. Overall, the city feels a bit like a tired old tart smoking a cigar on top of a demolition site. What was left of the old city â€“ and there are some beautiful old buildings â€“ is hemmed in by crumbling communist era buildings, many of which are covered by enormous fabric billboards. A most intriguing sight to see one crumbling ideology (communism) being gift wrapped by another, flimsier one (capitalism).
We crossed the border into Bulgaria yesterday and spent our first night outside the town of Russe in a beautiful campsite around a lake. It was time for the second Talent Show of the tour and we were entertained and delighted by a handful of the riders who recited poetry and sang ballads and songs. The highlight had to be the performance by Janice and Stewart, who belted out their rendition of â€˜My Wayâ€™. Feel free to sing along….!
And so the time has come for me to take a trip to Turkey
Along a rugged road, Orient Express, the name is quirky
With maps and written notes Iâ€™ve followed each and every by-way
But more much more than that Iâ€™ve ridden my way
Detours, Iâ€™ve had a few, but then again too few to mention
Iâ€™ve closely followed notes which made me lose my direction
But when the camp is near or someone calls â€œItâ€™s your dish dayâ€™
Thereâ€™s more, much more than this, Iâ€™ve ridden my way
Iâ€™ve ridden plains and Iâ€™ve climbed hills
Passed fields of corn and bars with ales
Iâ€™ve read the signs to find the towns
Iâ€™ve done the ups and done the downs
Iâ€™ve ridden fast but still come last
Iâ€™ve ridden my way
In camp I pitch my tent away from those so fond of snoring
Dinner time, a big surprise, but nothing ever dull or boring
The lunch stop every day, a focal point along the highway
But more so more than this, Iâ€™ve ridden my way
For what is a man what has he got?
Two sore cheeks and one big spot
To ride the roads he really wants
Not just the usual local haunts
I took the chance to ride from France
And rode it my way