Bucharest, Romania - May 19, 2010
Well, I caught a break yesterday. Literally. A subsidence break actually. As the winds were coming over the Carpathians from the north, they descended on the south side and gave me a couple hours of sunshine. What a relief. I just lifted the front of the helmet, got a little sun on my face and tried to remember that this is what this trip was supposed to be like. Didn't last long. By the time I got to the outskirts of Bucharest it was overcast again, and continues to be so this morning.
But it was better than the last three days. When I got to Oradea a few days ago, I happened to catch CNN International in English on TV. Their lead story was the hurricane force winds and rain that had hit Budapest the day I left. I guess the bulk of it went more NE towards Slovakia... I was only on the trailing edge. Yikes. Still see stories about flooding there. The day before yesterday was a grunt too... mostly because of the fact that the vest failed. It wouldn't work at all. Anyway, I pulled the switch apart at the hotel (which had broken) and soldered in a jumper. So yesterday I had heat and sun. The switch doesn't work now as a switch though. Plug in the vest for on, unplug the vest for off. Good day in comparison.
Dracula's Bank, Cluj-Napoca
I can tell I'm getting farther away. There is more native dress, more horse-drawn carts and less pavement, or at least more potholes. Some gas stations are now not paved. Also there are more street markets. I'm not sure what's going on... but town after town have street markets selling basically four things: wicker baskets, multicolored beachball-sized soccer balls, lawn-sized pinwheels and three-foot tall stylized plastic cows, in various colors, all decorated with 60's style daisies. Store after store. One town must have had 30 shops, all in a row, all selling these four items and little else as far as I could tell. And these are not main tourist routes. So who are they selling them to? And how many plastic cows do you need?
Main Center, Cluj-Napoca
My current hotel is on the western outskirts of Budapest, but I'm not going into Bucharest today. I'll just take a slow road over to the Black Sea coast. Would be nice if there were some sun as the beaches look pretty inviting. Would be a good place to recharge a bit. Then into Bulgaria tomorrow. The border crossing looks like it might be more complicated with a decontamination charge and a variable road tax. Could take a while. I should still be able to make Turkey by the 25th (when my EU insurance expires).
Catching a Break in the Carpathians
Haven't taken very many pictures in days really. Just head down. Just saw the TV weather forecast. I'm still in this loop of the jetstream. I've been here for a month. Western Europe is now beautiful. Sigh...