What a long, strange trip...

Trip Start Jul 04, 2013
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19
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Trip End Aug 29, 2013


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Flag of Romania  , Argeș,
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

...it's getting to be. Ever since we crossed into Eastern Europe, I keep expecting Rod Serling to appear from one of the many cinder-block facades we pass. With the exception of Budapest, the landscape and social climate of this region appears to be frozen in time. We've passed bunkers, flight-control towers that resemble flying saucers, men somehow carting sofas and other curious bundles on bicycles, a sheep farmer shearing a sheep by hand with a large set of scissors under a shade tree, and numerous horse-drawn carts. The carts are apparently taxable vehicles, as evidenced by the license plates affixed to the rear.
Many of the towns have either abandoned buildings/offices/stores or are in an incomplete state of restoration/construction. However, the people remain warm and friendly, doing everything they can to understand our speech and gestures while being creative and earnest in their own attempts to ask us questions about our trip and relieving us of some more currency that makes no sense to us.
And sometimes the day consists just of peddling through a hot headwind to get to a hot campsite. Sometimes there's a pool, river or lake to cool us off there but we never know until we get to camp. I find the headwinds mentally draining and when the terrain is monotonous, I have to dig a little deeper to find some redemption.
Yesterday the highlight of my day was stopping at a closed restaurant and convincing the proprietor to sell us some cold drinks. While there, we watched a Romanian cook on television using a caulking gun to stuff sausage casings. He then demonstrated how you could creatively twist the links into a heart-shape OR the shape of the breast-cancer awareness symbol. He then expertly dropped the sausages into a pan of shallow water and as the sausages began to boil, he enthusiastically yelled "Boom!". I think that's Romanian for "Bamm!" I wanted to stay and learn how to boil potatoes, but my companions were on a vigilant search for ice cream, so we headed back out into the heat.
We are now into a new time zone (8 hours ahead of Texas time) and beginning to venture into the Carpathian mountain range. This morning was cool and after sleeping like a baby and consuming Bonny's "Super-porridge", I felt invigorated for a morning of climbing and coasting in the foothills. We are now in a quaint little hotel with "vintage" decor. I'm excited that I don't have to struggle to deflate, roll and stuff my Thermarest in the morning. And I get to ask Lisa more personal questions ;-) One more week in Romania.
And tomorrow we ride...
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Comments

Banks. on

Super Laurie: MC and I remember our many century rides together in celebration of our birthdays. This year you brilliantly out shine them all. Happy Laurie Day!

Philippe Melot on

Hi Lauri, awesome blog! Actually I am catching up, as I discovered your blog thanks to Jim and Lauri, with whom Agnes and I are currently staying. I read it all and must admit you are an excellent story teller!
We are definitely putting Orient Express on our bucket list, which starts being very very long.
Go on writting, it is a pleasure reading you.
Philippe

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