May 02, 2007 GMT
Asai Viata (c`est la vie) in Romania

So, lots has happend since I left Budapest a week ago. I partied with students in Eger, got attacked by Maikaefers (Maybeetles) in Romania, dropped my bike the first time, sought for enlightenment with the Monks in northern RO, climbed with chief alpinist Voicu, pholosophised with a pension manager, explored the roots of my ex-gf in Transylvania and have still a few more days to come in Romania.

After a day of sightseeing in Budapest,


Hero Square Budapest



I wanted to meet the MZ-Racing guys for a scooter race in the evening. Unfortunately it rained a bit and since I had quit my (too costly) room i decided to go to Eger straight away, even though I would arrive there in the dark. I had two contacts there so I didnt worry about finding a place for the night. In fact, Peters parents gave me their entire old house that they`re currently selling. That worked out again, took me half a year of travelling to achieve that in Australia!!!
I think I also found the reason why they live somewhere else - across the street was the college and some pretty good party was going on (as probably often). I joined right in, and after the language barriers were removed (washed away with guess what..) I had a fun night till almost sunrise.


Partying with the students in Eger

Next day a had a look around romantic Eger, and in the evening Peters parents took me to the "Valley of the beautiful girls" where there are lots of wine cellars. I had to take a 2l bottle of the so called bullsblood-type with me. Peters father also explained the background of the city and its castle in the time of the turks from which the Minaret is still left over. For me this is a sight I`ll get more of soon...


Minaret in Eger, notice the half moon next to the top

After another short night in the college-bars I set of for Romania, which I entered near Oradea. I was welcomed with smells of everything possible to burn (garbage and rubber), smells of decay, lots of dirt, scruffy looking people, old cars always full with people, horsecarts and so on. Thus I was struck at how poor the living conditions actually are. I decided to take a small road through some village and especially here I saw people working very late in the day, with very basic, mostly manual tools. Lots of old people. Travelling by foot.


horse and cart


A man walking his probably only cow to graze at the road shoulder

Slowly the day took its end and I started thinking about where to sleep that night. The roads were so bumpy I had to go below 50kmh and realized I wouldnt make it to the next town (Dej) where I planned to go to a pension. The startled and not really friendly faces off ALL the people that saw me riding through their villages didnt encourage me to ask somedbody for a spot to camp. I doubted that these old people speak a word in english let alone german anyway. So I rode on, but kept surpisingly cool, somehow knowing that something good will come up. When the sun set an old guy stopped me somewhere on the road in the middle of nowhere and asked me to take him down the road a bit. Of cursee I did (the bike suspension didnt like it) and set him off where he wanted it, far outside a village, to see him wander of into the hills. He didnt understand my question, if he had a place to stay for me so I rode on, but not far.
Found a nice spot to camp, not in view from the road, far from the next villages (with barking dogs) right between some blooming cherry trees. It was a really idyllic place and I was so happy. Cooked my spaghetti, drank some of the wine and noticed what I thought were hornets flying around me. After a while they became so many, I started getting worried. They came from the cherry trees and went into another tree right behind me. I thought I was sitting in a beehive. Sometimes they bumped into me and I slowly got afraid of them stinging me. I waited it out though, maybe the`ll fall asleep soon... which luckily happened. To me as well.
So after a good nights sleep I opened my eyes to this...


Morning view out of the tent

... and after getting up and looking if the hornets are still in the tree I found out, that YES they are there, but NO, the are May beetles. Since I had to spend the night alone I was kinda jelaous at this sight:


May bugs snuggling

Riding through very pleasant countryside, sometime around noon I looked at the map where I was actually going that day. Found out, that one of the climbing spots I had researched on the Internet was pretty close and decided to go there. The road went up a mountain, got pretty bad, and when I read a sign "Manasteria Rarau" I thought that's my place. Well, turns out, that Manasteria means Monastery and I found myself talking to the monks, asking them if I could stay the night. After answering the important questions, confession? married? how old? alone? father Gabriel showed me my bed and told me how things were going. He was very kind, as were the other monks, but the only one who spoke english. I had good conversations with him.
I also went to the midnight service, but left early (it went till 3am). Nobody minded though and next morning the working monks were eager to have me help them with wood splitting an finding out more about me. I really enjoyed their company and was happy with them at how content they were with their simple life.


Some monks


Father Gabriel an me at the Monastery Rarau


Blessed still life

Before I set of, I had dinner with the monks. I spent the wine I still had and heard a lot of `muzu mesk` (Thanks a lot) for that :). Father Gabriel also gave me the tip that every weekend (it was saturday) a guy named Voicu, head of the Alpinist rescue troop, was up at the mountain and I should ask for him. He also mentioned snow on the road, but I didnt believe it because we were only 1500m high and that winter there was no snow anyway, right?
Well, I was wrong again and had some fun:


First drop, it had to come!

At the hut at the end of the road I asked the people around for the climbs, but nobody understands me. When I finally say the word "Voicu" the hut manager takes here mobile phone, dials, and I have a guy telling me he`ll be here in 10 minutes. Half an hour later we were at the base of our first climb:



A bunch more came, I was really happy to climb again. It went pretty well, taking into account I havnt been on rock for over 2 month now. We even did a 7-.

The night I spent up on the mountain in a wheather station. A lot of people were there for the weekend and I got to know more Romanians. Old and young ones. Socializing, drinking, having fun. A favorite pasttime of the romanians, not so much working they tell me...


Students from Jas fooling around

I also found out more doubtfully featurese of (some) romanians, as fighting when drunk (i guess thats international), being VERY proud to be romanian, hating Hungarians. The gipsys being proud of trading, and screwing people. Or stealing. Hmm, I watched my shit, but I think it was never in danger. Everyone was actually very open to me and likeminded regarding my travels on the cheap.

After a cloudy morning it started pouring rain and I got ready to go, first ride in the wet. Made the snowy part down without any more falls and got to Piatra Neamt, where I philosophized with the manager of the pension I was staying in. Was good, but he didnt quite get my search for simplicity. Thought if you have money, spend it on cars, girls and whatever luxuries. Family also! Hmmm

I`m getting kind of tired now, so I finish up. I went to Grossprobstdorf, a village of the Sasches, near Medias. My first girlfriend Elfi was from there and I was always interested in the ways they lived here. So I went to their old house was welcomned by the guy that lives there now, but unfortunately, my knowledge of the romanian language is so poor that we couldnt talk that much. It was a pleasant time nevertheless, he showed me the house, his three pigs, the chucks and little turkeys, the wine cellar and so on.
The next day I had a extended look around in Medias which I liked a lot with its middleage feel. Also, the other siebenbuergen towns like Sibiu and Hermannstadt are like that, but much more touristy.
So from Brasov, where I sit in the Internet-Cafe now, I still want to go a little into the mountains - Busteni - in order to get some hiking, maybe climbing in tomorrow.
Gotta hurry, its getting dark outside. Already 7:23.

see ya, Andi

Posted by Andreas Naumann at May 02, 2007 03:25 PM GMT

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