Police can be useful sometimes! ;)
Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
76Trip End Aug 08, 2011
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Where I stayed
In the police station
Finally, I made it to Turnu Magurele and decided to go down to the ferry port and find out if there was a train on the other side in Bulgaria to the city of Pleven where I had a couchsurfing host ready to welcome me. Unfortunately, no such train existed but my journey was not in vain as I met Michael and Sybille, a young German couple who were cycling around the world. They each had a bike trailer for carting their dogs around with them, and were pretty well-equipped, to the extent where their daily average was 40 or so kilometres.
It was great talking to them and it transpired that they had organised a minibus to carry them and their gear to Constanta on the Romanian coast that very night
We said farewell and I rode back into Turnu Magurele to check out the hotel. The prices were exorbitant compared to what I'd been paying, so I decided to cycle out of town and wild camp or something. I chugged along, not seeing too much that inspired confidence for safe wild camping and finally it started to get pretty dark. In the village of Traian, I contemplated camping in between someone's cornfields, but several people saw me so I went and asked an old woman if she'd let me camp on her lawn. I was using hand gestures, of course, but her answer seemed to be in the negative. I continued, and tried a few other people, but the prospects didn't seem much better.
Finally, as I was nearing the edge of the village, a family sitting on a bench outside their fence (as rural Romanians are wont to do) beckoned to me, and at first I thought they were going to invite me to stay, but they simply warned me to be careful and told me I should visit the police station
A young woman greeted me and told me that yes I was at the police station, when I was a little unsure. Then two police officers came along, out of uniform, and we started speaking in English with a bit of Romanian thrown in. Eventually, one of the officers invited me to stay in his lounge, at which I was overjoyed.
We then sat out front and had some beers together, I ate a little dinner and they told me a bit about the life of a police officer in rural Romania. Between the 3 officers there is just 1 car, and they often have to attend incidents on bicycle. There are very often fights in bars where they must intervene at great personal risk, although they do have pistols. To my surprise, both of the officers I was drinking with felt that the Police force was better under former dictator Nikolai Ceaucescu, and the national economy also! They have no computers, and must use a typewriter for all paperwork. Their houses were nice enough, by my standards, although some might desire more than a single outside long-drop toilet shared between the 3 policemen and their families.
Reluctantly, I had to turn in somewhat earlier than the rest with my illness in mind. I left them for a night of peaceful sleep.