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  • Writer's pictureRegina Bircher

Regina - Travels

Why the Romanians got so much land.

27 days in Romania.

Prejudice is really a bad thing. I admit that before leaving for Georgia I could not imagine spending so many days here. Now we are at a hippie place at the Bulgarian border, using the last units of the Internet map and I have no idea how to design my contribution so that it does not degenerate into a long lecture.

But this land deserves it! It has grown close to my - our - hearts.

"Romania is dirty, full of gypsies, cheats and thieves. Swiss travel agencies have no interest in this country". You miss something!

With about 240 thousand square kilometers of land, Romania offers a variety of natural highlights, as well as in culinary and cultural direction.

The driven 2’800 km over roads that have quite strained “Hâusi”, over the wonderfully maintained curves of the "Transalpina" and "Transfãgãrãsan", as well as the modern highways were worth it - lined with car industry ventures, western companies, beer breweries (no matter what label), shopping malls and wind turbines financed by the EU.

Unfortunately, the Don Quixote de la Manche would benefit more from the 1’000 giants installed in the southeast than the Romanian people. Only 5% of the produced energy can be stored and used. Romania does not "want" to have to afford the cost of the necessary transmission lines for the remaining 95%. On a small scale, we have felt this "I pretend" scheme in the campsites. For example, at an accommodation in a fabulous place with sensational cuisine and plenty of space to stay, we found only 2 toilets and for the shower it was necessary to turn off the disgust mode. Later we got a flyer from the owner with contact details, so that we do not forget the positive reviews in social media.

At another, yet not so spectacular place, the quality of service was rated 5 stars. Social media had absolutely no importance to the owner. Guest satisfaction was.

Thus, the feelings and attitudes swirl. What is clear, however, is that the Romanians are aware of their sights and offer the sites for paid visits. It is also good that way. (I like to list a few at the end).

The beautiful passes with lots of blueberries and honey sellers on the side of the road are driven with pleasure, the bears in the forests of Transfãgãrãsan attend to the tourists. The young furry fuzzy things pass the elementary school of begging with flying colors. Thus, in the bend, the mama sends the smallest, running on the hind legs, towards the "tourist car" for a treat and it works!

Papa Bear watches comfortably, leaning on the guardrail. The temptation to stroke him is great. But so is his paw.

In Romania there are 6’000 sighted bears. We have seen only 4 of them. But in innumerable quantity we have met the stray dogs. On one side I can understand the dog owners in Switzerland who own one "rescued" by the organizations. They look so cute and sad. On the other hand, seeing a strong pack in the mountains, I could not imagine catching and separating them. The thought hurts. They were strong and looked out for each other. Basically, the animals have a different function here than in Western Europe. The cats, chickens, rabbits, etc. They are also kept that way.

Thus, the many horses with the ladder wagons can be seen not only in the field. They patiently stand also on the traffic lights in the city, used as a means of transport. The owners are aware of the value of this, so they look accordingly.

Speaking about looking. Look to your own things, watch out not to get these stolen.

After a day trip, the laundry, the cooler, table and chairs had remained in the same place. Untouched. We close “Hâusi” at night only exceptionally. It is important to add that we basically left out the big cities. There it is probably like everywhere.

Thus, we have been able to explore nature and its treasures. For example, the mud volcanoes in Berca, which bubble out the cold mud from a depth of 3’000 meters. The surrounding hills are dotted with many "sea buckthorn couples" (there is always a male specimen growing next to the "female" bearing the fruit). High respect for the children who sell these little vitamin-rich globules by the roadside. You can't get them off the branches without scratching yourself!

What also proverbially holds like pitch and brimstone is the mud in the lakes of Sovatas. The biggest lake has the salinity of 250 g/l and its special effect is that the warm water is 50 - 60 °C down in the depth and on the surface you can swim nicely at 20 °C. Just do not dive! This phenomenon is called heliothermy and you can google it. We chose the smallest lake, with asphalt black cold mud. Funny dirty characters sit around, to be able to jump into the water later and get clean again. Unlike the volcanoes, this mud is healing. We also smeared our "aches" and even took some in a Tupperware with us. (I think that it is not necessary to describe how “Hâusi” looked inside).

We also dared a hike. Since in Romania the hiking routes are not marked so precisely, we climbed over hill and dale to the mountain above us to shoot THE photos. As a reward we encountered a rare species of crickets. With the very last ray of light we arrived back to “Hâusi” and were warmly greeted by the mosquitoes. Never before have I used so much protectant agent. Not even in the Danube Delta. I also underestimated the consumption of sunscreen. Except for a few wet days, we sizzled at 30 - 37 °C.

It was absolutely not funny that on one day ventilation and air conditioning in “Hâusi” went out. What a coincidence, we were just on the way to a Citroen garage to clarify whether the metal noises come from the rollers of the timing belt and what to do with it. After the third successful garage, “Hâusi” blows out of all holes again, the whistling in the front on the right side drives me crazy, but apparently, it's nothing serious.

Upon further urging to my better half, I got the answer, "Don't worry, I met someone yesterday who knows someone who could come and pick us up." I see. Well, I'm reassured. In Transylvania, at night. The bears and who knows what else. In addition, without a garlic equipment! (After the recommendation of a friend, we did not visit the Dracula Castle, which may be well animated and geared for the tourists, but yes, we have our own dramas that tug at the nerves).

The chirping in the engine doesn't stop and after cruising around in the Carpathians we dare to drive to a bigger city. “Hâusi” was checked, important things were looked at, but nothing was repaired, as the majority of the mechanics were on vacation. With a clear instruction not to strain the engine, we drove to the Black Sea. The experienced already suspects and knows that a 3.5 ton “Hâusi” is not, but really not compatible with sand dunes. We knew it too, but yes. (Gerold's sidecar colleagues could sing a few songs in the choir there 😉.)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We probably would not have convinced the gentleman who later pulled us out about the level of our studies and intelligence. But he did it for us.

What convinced us, on the other hand, was that we were not the first to be so "stranded". Many boards with telephone numbers of the tractor men reachable in the area hung everywhere. Thus, again a proof that Romania's people have the heart in the right place. That they are helpful and open. That they like to share their culinary arts, like their life stories and the places to stay. We didn't encounter any thieves or cheaters.

But we encountered sensational, wild nature, people, food, sea, many sights. If we had not allowed ourselves to cross this country on the way to Georgia, we would have missed a lot.

One of the dear mechanics told us this story:

When God distributed the countries, the Romanians got way too much. Understandably, the others complained, "Why, why?" And God answered, "Don't worry, the Romanians get down to it themselves".

A hard story to think about. With that, back to the prejudices.

Yes, there are Gypsies here, but they live for themselves. How the villages finance themselves, we do not want to know. There are also dirty places and a lot of garbage. But it is not only here.

The country is still struggling with the transformation from communism to democracy.

Many things are lacking, but many things are also done.

Who will cast the first stone? A lot of the foreign companies have just chosen their new location here. I have stopped counting the timber trucks that we have encountered.

Where does this wood go? To where the women waiting at the roadside are driven by the small bus? Certainly not on vacation.

Who knows, for what reason, who gets what, at what price?

Stop now. It is not for me to judge, to condemn.

I have written enough today. Thank you for your attention if you have read this far.

In case anyone is wondering what happened to “Hâusi”? While we were having fun in the vastness of the Danube Delta with pelicans and wild horses,

(Gerold writes about this part in his article) busy working took place in the engine room.

So, we are on the road again with a quietly humming “Hâusi”.

PS For the Facebook followers:

In the Danube Delta, if you wake the frog at sunrise, he will come to watch the sunset with you later!

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