The Way Is The Goal

Tag: Romania

Fainting in Romania

From a bike in Romania, back by plane to Holland. Happy I was, cycling from village to town, over mountains and rivers, coming to places where no sane traveler would ever come, finding myself on that same very day, just after sunset, bleeding and scratched, fainting and screaming for help.

Three weeks ago, I was in this small town close to Sibiu in the Transylvanian region of Romania. It was a marvelous day, with great blue sky, big white clouds and a warm sun. I was cycling just by myself, enjoying one of the nicest tours of my life, while my travel-partner was out on a museum-day.

As I was cycling through a beautiful countryside with hills and greens, I realized yet again how priviliged I was. Passing through the numerous small villages where hardly a stranger ever comes, I was greeted by many. I waved back and asked how to avoid the high hills, as I explained I am from Holland and that I like flat land.

But these events soon turned differently and my laughing turned into crying. A man send me up a different road and an hour later I had to walk up a hill with bike in hand to find my way home. Seeing the sun going down, my pace increased as I went down the hill on the other side.

I lost track when a big hole in the ground appeared in front of me. Breaking turned impossible to avoid falling so I jumped high and landed well. But I couldn’t avoid falling as I landed in yet the next hole and I had to dive, away from the bike, towards the ground.

That hurts.

I deny the pain and get back up the bike again, only to faint 3 seconds later. I look for help when I wake up and spot a horse with some people slowly driving away from the scene. I call out for them, without result.

Thanks to a stranger that appeared, a taxi driver who was his friend, some villagers and an older lady, I got to a hospital an hour later with my travel-partner and our hosts who were able to locate me after a phone call and a long search. The doctors took away the pain and told me to get straight back to Holland.

Three days later we were on a plane, a particularly funny event when you know your travels are over. At the hospital here they explained me my collar-bone was dislocated. No operation was needed. All I need to do is rest and relax…


Breakfast in Romania

The main question tourists ask here in Romania is: “Who was the real Dracula?” For us the question rather is: “What do people have for breakfast and where?”

In Turkey they eat tomatoes and cucumbers, a boiled egg, feta and bread. In England they serve baked beans and scrambled egg, and in France you find croissants and chocolate breads. But we looked and looked while in Romania for two weeks now and still don’t know what to eat for breakfast and where.

Walk around in any random town other than Bucharest and, really, you will have a very hard time finding a spot to have breakfast – even bakeries are hard to find. So what do we have for breakfast? After a morning in Sighisoara looking for breakfast we stopped at a place for tea, coffee and… pizza.

On the railroad

Seven in the morning and a loudspeaker wakes me up. I look outside and I see a blond woman, high heels and a miniskirt. This time the loudspeaker does not call me for prayer – as during the past three months in Turkey – but it tells me where I’ve arrived.

But where am I? Sure you have miniskirst too in Istanbul but not this early, ready for work, waiting for a train.  I try reading the sign of the station, it is written in a alphabet that I don’t understand. I rub my eyes and I look again. I see the platform full with women.

Forget it. I close my eyes and fall back asleep. Eight hours later, and yet after another passport-check (“Do you smoke anything special?”), I leave for the final destination and walk around a new town.

The following four days I learn how many women are in fact working in jobs here and how much they dominate the sights of public life. Quite a cultural shock after Turkey and it really was the first thing that got my eye.

Believe me – Istanbul is not that bad – but what I saw in Bucharest was against all odds. The contrast is just enormous! Women are present just everywhere – more so than what I am also used to from Spain or Holland. They fill the museums we visit, the post-offices, the restaurants, trains and a lot more.

Bucharest is also full with new construction. And hopefully one day this will lead a city build less from a male perspective but more with a female eye. As such, this city has a huge potential – though currently it is still full in transition and not as full of life as in most Balkan counter-cities.

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