Romania and the turkey on a lead

After a few days we had had enough of dry ski-slopes and said goodbye to Frederick the cat and set off for Romania.

The border is a river. The crossing involves a miniscule and dilapidated floating car park. It couldn’t really be termed a car ferry as such. There is no cabin, or front. The only other border-crossers were truckers, all chain-smoking, all in stained vests pulled over their big bellies, all driving vast articulated lorries. We stood out.

The river was pretty good though, it looked very exotic and wide and Amazon-like, especially considering it was the Danube. Maybe we caught it on a good day.

Southern Romania is 150 years behind Europe. The gypsies far outweigh non-gypsies, the horse & carts far outweigh engine-driven vehicles, and all the buildings are wooden with very ornately decorated tin roofs.

I watched an old peasant woman in holey tights pull a turkey along on a red lead.

The women were all in headscarves and knee-length skirts with wool tights underneath, even the ones my age. The men all wore trilby hats. Everyone sat outside their homes on specially erected cartwheel benches facing the road, and they all waved as we went past. The small ones pointed and looked worried. One threw a rock.

It got late and we needed somewhere to sleep. We stopped to ask at a truck-stop, hoping to sleep next to the truckers. We were lost, scared of all the oddness and too tired to ride on.

We got sidetracked before we could ask, by a giant man with his belly out, shaking us by the hands and congratulating us for owning a ‘Buh-Muh-Vuh’ and speaking rapidly in Romanian. We had to leave without asking the truck-stop man, who looked very scared of us, and even more scared of the Belly.

We had to ride on. It was all a bit worrying-looking for wild camping, so we carried on and on and on.

We arrived into Craiova, an amazing New York cosmopolitan city (relatively-speaking…) It was like reaching heaven, but we were outrageously lost. A saint appeared driving a taxi, and drove with us to show us the best hotel in town. We were sad, and explained our poverty, and he was even nicer, and drove us even further to a cheaper version. He drove off without any further anything, just a saint wrapped in a yellow taxi.

We were staying at the ‘Grim Hotel’. We walked into reception, and straight into a wedding. The guests were immaculately adorned, and the children wore frilly knickers and meringue-dresses. We dragged our stinking, dirty selves through their party and they all smiled.

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