Left the hostel/hotel at my usual 10 am, planning a short day of 55 km given the last two days, and 55k brings me to the next large town. With a forecast for great weather, and the road likely flat, I intended an early arrival in Slatina.
Except for three more switchbacks, smaller than the monster yesterday, I spent the day cycling a slow slight gradient. The Romanians know how to build their roads. Past the construction from yesterday, a solid shoulder ran down the road most of the way. Consistently beyond the shoulder? A 6-foot drop and no guard rail — fine as long as I don’t cycle over the edge.
The weather turned cloudless today. A lovely day, the sun beating down on me. I fight weather almost every day. I normally start my tour earlier in the spring, and of course I planned a longer than normal tour. Regularly applying sun screen still leaves me constantly at the edge of sunburn. I find myself seeking out shaded spots to rest, and on roads with next to no traffic, cycling on the shade when on the other side. By the end of the day salt encrusts my hat and shirt, leaving white patches. I carry about 2 liters of water on the bike, plus regular resupply.
In the past couple of days two different ambulances screamed past me, lights a-twirl and sirens blaring. I find them reassuring; someone needs medical care, and ambulances come to pick you up. The ambulances are indicative of other things in Romania. Better roads, fewer abandoned hulks of buildings. Streets have signs. Mile markers and direction arrows. I’ve been in two major supermarkets in the past two days, instead of the micro-markets throughout Bulgaria. Romania is still clearly Eastern Europe, but headed towards the rest of the EU.
No real issues finding the hotel. The cell phone partially mitigates hotel costs; instead of selecting a hotel at random, I look the hotel options up on-line and can then follow the GPS to the hotel with the lowest cost. I can’t distinguish service-wise between the two- and three-star hotels. The rooms have a small TV, an (unplugged) mini fridge, and a bathroom. The bathrooms often have a drain in the center of the floor, leaving the entire bathroom as a shower component. Simple, elegant design.
Spent part of the relaxed afternoon tinkering with the web site, the ISP, and considering the requirements for a new hosting provider. The site runs legacy code as part of an old project, those legacy components making a transfer from one ISP to another more complex than I’d prefer.
I have not been tracking my milage, but I’ve rolled the odometer over on the bike; I’ve passed 1,000k. The Carpathians are coming up fast, and I have to decide where and how to cross. Much like the past few evenings, a light rain falls now, but leaving little trace in the morning.