Friday, 20 July 2007

Day 58 - Bacau (Romania)

Right, just to prove that I can be a good Brit whilst I am away I am going to moan about the weather. The weather here is terrible, it is way, way to bloody hot! No I havent finished, I have only just started. It reaches 40 degrees by about midday and seems to settle down at about 45 during the afternoon. This means that I am on the road by 6am, which also means that I have to set my alarm for 4:45, the first time I have set an alarm since January. That is the least of the problems though. Places big enough to have a hotel are about 130k+ apart and that offers dilemmas. In the heat about 100k is as much as is comfortable, and sometimes they are pretty hilly days as well, so what do I do? I can carry on, as I did today covering 136k, but then I am in the full force of the sun and the heat for too long and my poor old heart really doesnt approve of me doing all that exertion in the extreme heat. The other option is to stop early and camp, ooh, theres a nice throught, trying to breathe in a nicely heated tent! Also if I stop to camp then I need to stop about 1pm in the middle of nowhere as there are no campsites and it doesnt really cool sown until it gets dark, so what do I do with myself? I could stop in a bar for the afternoon or rest under a tree, but that makes the extra distance to a potential hotel just too tempting, so all in all its not a happy situation. Right now I would welcome cycling in the rain. I knew I would experience this type of weather somewhere during July and/or August, but now I have reached it, it doesnt make it any easier.

Thankfully there are still wells here in Romania which means that I can stop occasionally for a fully clothed "shower". Wet headgear is the best thing as that is so much cooler. I wasnt sure of well etiquette so I was careful not to wash straight from the bucket and use the provided mug to pour water over myself, but since then I have seen people drink straight from the bucket and today I saw a horse drinking straight from the bucket, all the more reason to filter the drinking water.

Yesterday wasnt too bad, hilly, but I made it to Husi, having crossed the border by about 13:30, the last bit was tough but otherwise it was ok. I thought there were about 50 lei to the pound so when I tried to change my Moldovan lei to Romanian lei at the border, the offer seemed terrible at about 4.5 lei to the pound, so I refused it. I later found that 4.5 is the going rate and now I am stuck with Moldovan lei that I cant change anywhere. I discovered my mistake when a posh hotel only seemed to be two pounds, so I had a feeling something was wrong. So one lei is about 22p and they have no change so you get overcharged for everything or at best given sweets instead.

Today started well and I made good progress hence I decided to push on, but it became hilly again later and in the full heat I suffered somewhat. I stopped at a bar at 9:45 and had a litre of orange pop, but everybody else was on beer and they were doing a great trade. Old men, young boys, older women, they were all downing it, mind you, it is the cheapest drink. Bacau is a modern town, that means modern hotels with modern prices and I searched for about 2 hours to find one under 40 pounds. I found a Pension but he wouldnt let me stay as he didnt speak English. Personally I couldnt see the problem, I only wanted a bed for the night and didnt want to put the world to rights.

Since Ukraine there have been plenty of dogs, most roaming free and there have been a fair few dead at the roadside. I saw one end up the same way today as it was hit by a van coming the other way to me, the dog died instantly but the driver didnt bat an eyelid as he lost his bumper and number plate. Not a nice thing to see.

The old Renault 12 rules the streets out of town here, followed closely in numbers not in speed, by the horse and cart.

So tomorrow is another 135k, but I am going to try extra hard not to ride beyond 1pm as it really doesnt do me any good. I guess the afternoon will be a bit of a drag and I will probably sleep under the stars as it will be the coolest place.

No this doesnt feel like a holiday, it is defineately hard work!

No USB connections here, so you may have to wait for more photos.


aoiffe said...

Your rant about the weather makes Marcus Brigstocke sound like Mr reasonable! Go for it!

chris said...

Stop whinging you old tart! Save that for later when the children start chasing you and throwing stones!
Anyway, I'm intrigued and glad that you mentioned having to set an alarm clock.....I want to know - do they work better in Romania than other words does setting one suffice or do you have to set many as you used to in Blighty?

PS You need not rush around the world as we've had some wonderful flooding and your house is probably floating down the Thames as we speak - you may come across it when you reach the Great Barrier Reef!