Monday, 30 July 2007

Day 68 - Bucharest

Well, I am in Bucharest, staying in a hostel that is less of a hostal, more of a student doss house. The others have been a good standard and a good place to meet people, though few are in my age group and I do feel a bit old at times. Whilst in Brasov I was talking to 2 Aussies in the kitchen, then we were joined by a German, Swiss and Welshman, all around 19 - 23. At 23:00 we were asked to vacate the kitchen as it was near the dorms and too noisey. Most of the other decided to head for town, but after I had read for a bit I decided to turn in ready for an early start. The Welsh lad was in the dorm. "I cant decide what to wear" he said. "What is wrong with what you are wearing" I replied. "Oh, nothing, it just that I have pirates outfit and I think I would be off better wearing that". "Ok", I said laughing, "If you happy wearing a pirate outfiit go for it", so he put on his striped shirt, black waistcoat and and enormous pirate hat. "The trouble is" he said "is that I feel a bit silly as I havent got the sword and the eye patch anymore. Perhaps I should just go with the waistcoat". "You look fine without the sword and eye patch" I said "but just the waistcoast would also be fine, I sometimes wear a waistcoat", "Yeah" he said "that is what I was worried about!"

Saturday was a fairly easy ride despite a climb up through the mountains, some of which was amongst trees so in the shade. On the descent there was a nice monastry which I stopped at and the frescos were excellent. A little further down the vista opened up and there was a river. For a mile or so there were so many people camping wild that it was like a huge campsite, but way to early for me to stop. I dropped down out of the mountains and passed a hotel so I thought I would check it out. They wanted 70 lei, too much so I suggested 50 lei, then they said for one person and one night you can have it for 35. What a great way to haggle for a price. It was a bargain, a nice room and cheaper than all the hostals I have stayed in including the matress on the floor. I began to regret it when I was given an anti-moquito device to plug in, it was useless. I regretted it even more later when I returned to loud music for a wedding that when on past 3am. A much better device to combat the mosquitos is a good book and so much more satisfying. The night was nowhere near as bad as when I was in Edinet.
Yesterday was just a bash across flat ground to Bucharest and I kept up a really fast pace, over 23kph which dropped to 22.5 through the city and the traffic lights. Early on this morning I was approaching a guy, probably in his late 50s, when he decided to pick up a large boulder and run shouting towards me with the boulder held above his head. I had to swerve to the far side of the road to avoid hitting him, but thankfully he kept hold of the boulder. I am not sure what it was all about, I didnt stop to ask! At the hostal in the evening a Greek guy about my age insisted on keeping my beer glass topped up which only had the effect of making me really tired. May be I was so boring that it was his plan.

Today has been a bike free day and wandering around Bucharest. The highlight without doubt was the Thingy Palace, you know the one I mean it was Ceausescu's former Administration Palace (see photos). The tour around the inside was excellent with all sorts of amazing facts, most of which I have fotgotten already. It is the worlds 2nd largest building and has 1100 halls, mostly constructed of marble, 9 million light bulbs, a chandelier that weighs 5 tonne, a carpet of 1000 square metres weighing in at 3 tonne, it was a truly amazing place. From the balcony there are views across the tower blocks created at the same time after the dictator had flattened all the historic buildings in the area. The contruction was started in 1984 was 70 percent complete when the revolution happened in 1989 and is now 90 percent complete. The rest of Bucharest isnt that exciting and reminds me of the Pest side of Budapest.
So tomorrow I move on again and all being well I should cross into Bulgaria. My map shows campsites and time will tell if they exist or are usable, but I rather fancy getting back to basics and camping as I have had enough of cities and searching out accommadation for a while. I am getting used to the heat now too, thats not meant to be rubbing it in by the way, so I think I will be able to cope in a tent again.
Nick Barlow, I seem to have lost your email address, so perhaps you could drop me a line, feel free to take the piss! I saw pictures of Alcester under a lot of flood water. I hope you havent been affected and that all is ok.
Thanks again for all of you comments. I do enoy reading them and it make it feel worthwhile writing all this rubbish if people are actually reading it.


Lorna said...

10 countries in 68 days with pedal power... Oh and summer might finally be with us, so we could be catching you up and acclimatizing to warmer temperatures!

Just had an amazing weekend in Wiltshire at the Womad festival - never experienced mud quite like it, but at least we didn't end up looking quite as bad as you:-)!!!

Caff said...

Ok, I think I am slowly beginning to regain consciousness after viewing the picture of you and all that mud (I've been out cold for 3 days!) - thanks for your advice Aoiffe I have booked a full holistic therapy month in order to get over the shock - 5 days of acupuncture, 5 days of reflexology, 5 days of sauna and Turkish baths (maybe that wasn't quite so wise!), 5 days of counselling, 5 days of facials and hot stones.......and I've booked a 5 day holiday in Istanbul, but not sure if I will be there the same time as you!!!!!!

Caff said...

Lorna, surely Womad should read Womud?! :-)

S said...

You had better get your thermals out - Bulgaria's weather forecast is for a mere 28-29 deg.