Romania, Gruia to Corabia

Since my short ride uphill without luggage I have been contemplating off loading my winter gear which takes up the majority of one pannier and about 4 kilos. Just in case, and for once we hit altitude, it’s all packed at the bottom, along with my rain gear. A merino long sleeve came out again yesterday, we had even used our sleeping bags to take away the chill overnight and if I wasn’t lying in a hotel bed with a mild stomach upset today the goretex gear would have been out. Thunderstorms have rolled in the past 2 evenings and this morning the booming thunder claps were joined with a torrent of rain at our estimate time of departure.
I am not traveling anywhere. Apart from a few unpleasant trips to the bathroom I am sleeping, writing, quickly recovering and thankful I am not today experiencing the elements as the sky grumbles and my inner workings along with it.
The part of Romania bordering the Danube continues to have very little accommodation. After leaving the previous hotel our first camp experience was one of necessity with absolutely no options and dark quickly approaching. We had attempted to ask numerous locals about camping but were directed to a town 50km away. We have been advised and read advice, not to ride at night, depending upon who you talk to, because of thieves, or just pot holes, poor roads, non existent lighting and drunk drivers. We did not want to ride at night due to exhaustion , Li still recovering from her bug and the nasty distaste in my mouth, leaving our other potential accommodation too far back, behind us, after fleeing the only 2 unpleasant encounters we have had in over 4000 kilometres. Not dangerous encounters but annoying, sleazy and disrespectful men that had me seething enough to have at least a fantastic swift, furiously fast 50 kilometres ride further than planned.
So the camp site…..communicating our needs proved difficult, riding much further was not possible and we were left hazy as to whether responses to camp near villages was acceptable.
The country side is mostly flat and gentle hills with fields as far as the eye can see. Very little cover, and there are always people, or at least a person in our view, tending crops, herding animals or in small shepherds huts.
Finally we spot a small track between fields of corn and sunflowers. Both are tall and close to harvest. The track bends towards the flowers and up a small hill, below the hill a small water catchment enabled the water reeds and small bushes to hide our view from the road. The bend in the path hid us from both directions and adjacent us sunflowers illuminated by the setting sun, obscured us from the remaining directions. If not for our unease at camping uninvited on a farmers land, their livelihood, the place was idyllic.
From our camp just outside Bistret we rode 100 kilometres to Corabia, and took up in a hotel rather than struggle to find another place to pitch our tent. I have read seething reviews of this part of the Danube Bike Trail, that it is monotonous and boring. I have found it anything but boring, overtaking more vehicles than we are overtaken ourselves. The road was described as with moderate traffic but the few cars and trucks are courteous, we feel safe, and enjoy the friendly waves and cheers when overtaking the people on ancient bicycles or horses and carts. The sky has been filled with sun beams, breaking the clouds….and the fields, golden wheat, yellow full flowers, lush green corn. The colours, the smells, are vibrant and alive.
Tomorrow we have decided to ride a final day before leaving the Danube and heading south east into Bulgaria in the early evening. We will not cross at this border in Corabia patrolled by police that think it is acceptable to talk about a strangers assumed sexuality in a language they assume we do not know. Some words are the same in any language and I am currently unimpressed with many Romanian men.
It will be raining and despite the mountains that await we will hold onto our warm gear. It’s a lot of luggage but it is treating us well.

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