The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Greetings from Romania

Hi again:

My daughter, Jessica, and I made our way, kind of slowly, across Hungary, heading for Romania.  I am having a good time traveling with her. She never complains. She is willing to pick out and research the places we go to, and she acts like she enjoys riding long hours on the back of my motorcycle. Thanks, Jessica. I love you.

Jessica and I liked Hungary. There are a lot of what the guide book would call "quaint little villages" there. This one is called Holloko and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Holoko is not a huge village, but it is very interesting.  One of the best places in it (at least it was the place I enjoyed most) was the print shop. I really liked learning about the old printing presses and how the Gutenberg Bible was produced, and how Benjamin Franklin probably printed "Poor Richard's Almanac". Here is Jessica printing out an etching of a church (with some help from the printer).

Back on the road and headed for Romania. But first, gotta have some gas. There is no shortage of cars on the road, but gas prices are so high that I don't know how they can afford to drive them. It cost me 35 Euros (about 40 dollars) to fill up the relatively small tank on my bike.  I get 75 miles to the gallon. I wonder how expensive it would be for a car that gets 25 miles per gallon.

Now that Odysseus is full, I guess it is time to fill my own belly. They sure serve enormous amounts of food here. I never seem to be able to eat it all.

You never know what the highway will do in Hungary. Here, the road (more of a country lane) suddenly stopped at the Tesla River. If you want to get across the Tesla River, you will have to take a ferry.

So, after a while,  we got to Romania.  It was a little bit of an ordeal getting  through the border checkpoint. It was no problem for Jessica and me, but I thought for awhile I was going to have to leave Odysseus behind. It took some time to I convince the border guards that the number on the Illinois Motorcycle registration I had with me was correct, and that it matched the bike's license plate.

The roads my GPS routes us down are fascinating -- they might be four lane super highways one moment, and then turn off  to become single lane byways. Jessica, in the back seat, kept trying to take pictures. Look at the potholes in this road. We were lucky if we could average 10 miles an hour on roads like this.

Look at this picture. It is mistletoe growing in huge clumps. That stuff was on a lot of the trees along the road.

Every so often we would come to a railroad crossing, and sometimes we might have to wait for 5 minutes or more for the train to show up, pass through, and the crossing guard to wind up the gate by hand. Their trains were pretty slow. The entire process was so different from France or Germany where the gates come down only a minute before the train whizzes by. It is a relaxed kind of life here.

The people are very energetic here, but it is quite obvious there is not the level of wealth that there is in Western Europe. Jessica, my backseat photographer, kept taking videos of them. I won't try to show you her videos, but here is a snapshot she took of one of the horse-drawn wagons that are so common here..

Sometimes the wagons had family members in them, all dressed up and headed to town or church on this Saturday night.

I really like Romania so far. Tonight we are staying in a Pension run by a farm family. They tell us that everything they eat is "natural" and "farm fresh".  They even make their own plum brandy, which I enjoyed but which was too strong for Jessica. Too bad Jessica, but more for your dad.

We are the only ones staying here. I guess it is off season. The grandfather took us out to show us the pigs and chickens and how he makes and ferments the pig food. It was quite the tour. He is proud of his farm. He even sent one of his workers up a tree to cut down some cherry-laden branches for us. Jessica has quite a bag full to munch on while we ride along. Too bad for Odysseus. He does not get to enjoy the hospitality. He has to shelter in a small lean-to from the threatening storms.

So now it is time to enjoy a much need night's sleep. Tomorrow we head up into the Carpathian Mountains so we will need our energy.  Here is a map to show where we are. The blue line is the portion of the trip that Jessica has joined me on.

Good night. Happy Father's Day. I hope all of you dads are as fortunate as I am.  God's blessing on you all.


1 comment:

To comment click on "comment as" and choose name/url. List your name (you can leave url blank). Make your comment and click on "publish". Please keep your comments clean and positive because my students and family also look at these pages. Ron