Saturday, 5 May 2012

5 May Stage 23 Drobeta Turnu Severin - Craiova

Dep 930     Arr 5.00     Dist 116.6 km     Total 2611 km

Lots of pondering last night and looking at maps. In the end the decision was quite simple. The river bends away from here and does a big arc around to Giurgiu where I cross into Bulgaria. The villages on that route seem to be tiny and will be unlikely to have places to stay. I can get back on the E70 and do a straight line to Craiova which is a big city with lots of small hotels and Irish bars with football matches on. So that's the plan. 120km today, hopefully settled for the game by 6ish and maybe a well-earned rest tomorrow together with bike repairs. Breakfast is delicious, by the way.

Massive hill early on. I checked on bikeroutetoaster and it didn't seem too bad but think about sweat dripping off the end of my nose and me blowing it off and it then dropping onto the computer and it becoming caked almost immediately until I started to blow it off rhythmically to the side which ended up a decent sized drip almost every breath. It might have looked funny but I wasn't laughing. Then you see a car in front disappear round a corner and seem to go downwards but you find when you get round that corner it was only a false flat and onward and upward we go again and again. It lasted 8km which wasn't much short of an hour's riding and it was about 1 in 15 which isn't ridiculously steep but it was hot.

There is always a positive and that is that the rest of the day's trip was flat or downhill. I called into a shop in Strehaia for some victuals and got milk cereal and bananas. When I came out there was a lady with a clipboard. She opened it and showed me a photo of a disabled child and when I said I didn't understand she said "Money, help". I explained that a proportion of my income was already allotted to charitable causes of my choice but she didn't let it go. I just then said "No" and she turned and wandered off. The road surface I have ridden on has been brilliant but there were patches now and then that weren't that good. Every now and then there would be a long stretch of roadworks where they were obviously improving the surface on one side. At the next one there were people with clipboards pestering the drivers who were stopped and it figured that the gypsies might have gone upmarket. As I rode to the front of the queue a navvy waved me through on the side being repaired. I rode along and my way was blocked by a JCB. When the driver saw me he manoeuvred out of the way and waved me through. A bit more helpful than thhe German navvies, eh? I wondered what the Rumanian loggers are like.

I had an original arrival time target of 6.00 which would just about give me time to get organised, have a shower and find a bar. I was calculating the necessary average speed all along the way, which helps to pass the time. The arrival time was getting earlier with every calculation and I arrived at the centre of the city of Craiova just before 5.00 which was plenty of time. I phoned an Irish bar to check the game was going to be on their telly and when I was ready asked at reception for directions. The man said it wasn't far but it was difficult. He suggested a taxi and for some reason the taxi man couldn't understand me or didn't know the place. I rang the place from the taxi and handed the phone to the driver who babbled on and ranted while we were stopped at some lights and then handed me the phone back. The man at the bar said "Do you want me to tell the taxi man the address?" I thought that had all been done and gave the taxi man the phone. He stopped the car and gestured for me to get out. I was a bit confused but then looked up and saw a shamrock and realised we were there. I met Daniel, a local lad who supports the reds and two chaps from Yorkshire who were over here contracting for Fords. I had a few beers and saw the game. Not the best result but I think the best team won.

I wandered back through the city and enjoyed a pizza and a last beer in a beautiful busy square full of pleasant people enjoying themselves. When I got to the room there was live band playing some kind of traditional music nearby. I just put the music channel on the telly very loud to drown it out and managed to fall asleep.

I reckon that's 1487km to go. With no rest days that is 15 days which gets me there on 20th so we'll play safe and keep the arrival day at 23rd for now.

Today's Route

No comments:

Post a Comment