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Bucharest Bound

by Tara

Like yesterday, today was restfully easy: a flat, uneventful ride towards Bucharest. The highlight of our morning was finally using one of the many wells we've seen dotting the roadsides over the last few weeks!

Tyler Filling Water @ Well

Tyler lowered the ancient chain and it's equally old bucket into the depths and brought up cool, refreshing water, getting his hands covered in rust in the process. After the subsequent hand-washing, we filled our bottles and hit the road once more.

An hour or two later, we stopped to rest and eat, and were pleased to find that we had yet another canine lunch guest! This guy was a little dweeby, but in an adorable way; his tail flailed around in a circle like a helicopter propeller when we offered him some scraps.

Playful Stray

He wasn't the brightest pup in the litter. Every time we tried to toss him food, the little guy would spin around in a circle and then start frantically sniffing everywhere except where it landed. We had to walk up and physically point out the individual hunks of cheese and bread before he could chow down.

Playful Stray

Even though our lunch guest was a total spaz, he didn't interfere while Tyler made us grilled cheese, opting instead to plop down on the grass next to us. It was nice to have a hot lunch for a change, as we usually just snack on veggies or make quick, cold sandwiches. Great idea, honey!

Tyler Making Grilled Cheese

After eating and cleaning up, we applied a generous helping of gross, oily sunscreen and continued on into the sweaty May afternoon. When we reached the outskirts of Bucharest, we stopped for an ice cream break, raiding the ice chest at a local minimarket.

Once we'd devoured the treats, our GPS led us directly to Robert's (our friend Silviu's brother) apartment and were greeted with welcoming smiles.

Bringing our gear to Robert's seventh floor apartment was a tricky affair. With one of the bikes reared up like a stallion and shoved in the small elevator, the doors were unable to close. So, Tyler stuffed himself in and held the little sensor knobs down so the doors would think they were closed. I took another elevator with a load of luggage, and then we repeated the process until everything was up and safely locked in Rob's storage closet.

The rest of the afternoon was relaxing and fun, spent getting to know our kind and generous host. We took hot showers, did laundry in Rob's washer/dryer (for the first time since Greece!), and finally sat down to a traditional Romanian dinner made by Robert and Silviu's mother.

Cornmeal for Mămăligă

Robert made mămăligă (like polenta), aided by his mom who called repeatedly during the process to make sure everything was going okay. We had ciorba, a tomatoey brothy vegetable soup with pieces of chicken in it, and then sarmale (mincemeat-stuffed grape (or other) leaves) served with the polenta and sour cream.

Homemade Ciorba (Soup) Sărmăluţe & Mămăligă (Mincemeat-stuffed grape leaves & Polenta)

For dessert, there was a massive cake filled with fruit and chocolate cream (it weighs about a ton in its giant tupperware) and a sort of eggy, rum-flavored flan. Suffice it to say, the entire meal was delicious!

After cooking for us, serving us, and stuffing us full of delicious food, Robert even refused to let us help clean up! With enough food to feed an army still left over, we patted our full bellies and skyped with Silviu and his girlfriend, Aliyah. It was great after emailing back and forth to finally "meet" each other!

To Robert, Silviu, and your mother, thank you so much for your hospitality!