Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 55 - Europe 2011

Day 55 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - Giurgiu to Oltenita, Romania - Trip 85.41 kms Time 4:52:29

I managed to get through the night without any more bouts of diarrhea. I got up at 6:15. There was hot water (thank goodness) and plenty of water pressure for my shower. I did some packing before going down to b'fast. Once again, no one else but myself in the restaurant. I ordered juice, tea, omelette, toast, butter and honey. There were about a dozen different menus to choose from, 3 specifically for Chinese. Very weird. I went back up to my room and finished packing. Carried my panniers to the elevator and went down to the lobby. I paid 185 LEI for room.
My bike survived the storm although it was leaning to one side a bit. I asked for directions to Oltenita but the receptionist wasn't able to help and the directions I got from 2 other guys, who happened to be in the lobby. were very vague. After loading my panniers and stopping at a nearby shop for water I headed for the main road I had come in on. I stopped at a taxi stand just before the main road and was told to turn right and keep going straight ahead. It turned out to be 11 kms before I saw the turn for Oltenita. After that the road became a bit hilly with 8 climbs before I reached Oltenita at 1:00 PM. The heat and humidity was very exhausting.
While I was looking for a hotel I saw a young girl, about 14 years old, get hit by a speeding motorists at a crosswalk in a very busy part of town. He must have been doing 70-80 kph in a 30 kph zone. He really hit the brakes but wasn't able to stop in time to avoid hitting her. It didn't take long for a large crowd to gather and an ambulance and the police to arrive. I did see her sit up on her own so I don't think she was critically injured but I'm sure she will have a broken bone or two as there was a horrible thump and she wen't flying about 2 metres just like a rag doll. My stomach started feeling funny again.
I rode around town for 1/2 hour or so looking for hotels but it seems there are only 2 hotels in Oltenita. One was above a bank and didn't even have a sign. When I asked about a room I was told it was completely reserved by a company. The other hotel was a 1 star affair called Hotel Cezare just a block or so away. I tried the door but it was locked. A young lady minding a cellphone shop next door rang the hotel manager and said he would be around in 5 minutes. I went to a nearby shop to get a cold drink and as I was returning I met up with him. The rooms were 2 flights up a set of very steep stairs. The manager, after securing my bike under the stairs, helped me carry my panniers up to my room. There were 3 single beds, a TV, a fridge, a fan, a table and chairs in the room. W/C and shower were down the hall. I asked about Internet and the manager got up on a stool and plugged in the Wi-Fi router. The price was 50 LEI without b'fast. Since there were no other hotels available I checked in at 2:30.
I lay down for a nap and later went out to get a bite to eat and a beer. I bought some groceries for b'fast and returned to my room.
I checked the guide for tomorrow's ride to Calarasi (which appeared to be not to difficult) and the following day to Constanta. The final stretch is 134 kms form Calarasi to Constanta and it sounds really tough with several hills, cobblestones, etc. I just hope my rear wheel holds out!

This blog was posted at the Hotel Calarasi in Calarasi, Romania on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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