Well the bathroom may be ankle deep but they do a top breakfast at the 'worst hotel'. This is a relatively short run so I don't have to be off at first light.
I said yesterday that rural Roumania would be dull but I was wrong. It's very busy. There's a lot going on. There are more horse drawn than motor vehicles on the road, often carrying ambitious loads of almost anything you can think of from cabbages to tractor tyres but quite often just the family. At the side of the road you can buy local produce though cabbages are definitely in season here. My only purchase was a few small gnarled looking pears which turned out to be delicious. Disappointingly there are no local cheeses or varieties of bread. When you go into a village shop the bread is always identical and rather dull, all the cheese is processed and vacuum packed. The villagers themselves are jolly, far more so than the Serbs. They are used to bicycle travellers like me pedalling furiously towards the Black Sea. they wave and cry "Holas", children often hold out their palms for a low five as I speed past. And there are the Roma. According to a census of 2011 there are 620,000 Roma in Roumania though this may be a low figure as many refused to declare their ethnicity on the census form. As I ride they are everywhere, mingling with the Romanian locals but still separate. In one village I pass a Roma celebration of some sort, there is a battered flatbed truck with speakers blasting out local dance music while forty or fifty dance in the street, the women, all dolled up, looking incongruously glamorous with their coils of shining black hair and jewellery. An infant is being passed around with much happiness so I would guess that this might be a baptism party. More often than not however what distinguishes the Roma from their neighbours is their poverty, though the most depressing Roma settlement that I have seen so far was just across the border in Serbia and was utterly wretched.
More country matters tomorrow and just in case you had forgotten I am trying to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. To donate here is the link: www.justgiving.com/Ted-Irwin1 The '1' at the end is important as it differentiates between the old (timed-out) page and the new one. Many thanks to those who have already donated.