“Travels to a Different Time” 18July1974: Heading North from Bucharest: Sending Gypsies Running in Fear!

Too much spaghetti and beer bloated me up and had a sweaty sleep. However a shower, more spaghetti, apple pastry and mineral water revived me. I had a mess to clean up with spaghetti sauce all over the walls. Caked pots in short an East German beer disaster! At noon a farewell to Sorin. A couple of buses took me north of the city. I plan to eventually cross into Yugoslavia and head further north up to Germany. The outskirts of Bucharest are particularly ugly full of shoddy and drab high rises. And there is more coming by the amount of construction you see. After reaching the highway there were a crowd of Romanians hitchhiking but being a weird looking tourist I had the edge and quickly flagged a ride in a van. It was super hot and the road to Ploeşti was very dull and dreary and Ploeşti looks like an industrial eyesore. We stopped outside Ploeşti for some Borsec spring water which is my favourite. As we headed north the flat ugly plain changed into rolling hills and forests. They left me off at a tiny town and I caused a commotion. I entered the small town square and when people saw me there was complete silence for 5 seconds and all you could hear was a plate crashing to the ground. This small little town has never seen anything like me. I said hello to a group of gypsies and with terror in their eyes they ran off. As I walked to the highway a group of kids approached me wanting to buy anything I would sell them particularly blue jeans. That sale would leave me with too much Romanian currency and I am leaving the country soon. I received a ride in a petrol truck and the driver kept on yakking away with me understanding very little. I think he was happy to have some company!  Next a lift in a Russian made car that squeals loudly at every corner like it was some massive curve. I got a lift right to a campground in Sibiu. Someone had left their headlights on so I had no trouble setting up my tent. I headed to the campground cafeteria and to my surprise my mineral water, orange drink, cabbage salad, rice, French fries and a cutlet for $1.40 was actually quite good.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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