A stage too far

Someone has suggested that I ought to say how much a lei is worth 19 pence or about 5 to the pound.

I also have to mention the traffic and the people. The road is fairly quiet with only a few big trucks. Of the rest about 10% are horse and carts. The locals obviously use them as a normal means of transport. The other 90% is modern cars doing about 100 mph. No one seems to consider the option of slowing down when passing an obstacle, like a cart or a bicycle or even a bicycle passing a cart.

The countryside is very rural with long thin villages dotted along the road. There is a very integrated mix of shacks, decrepit empty buildings and beautiful modern houses – often unfinished. Outside almost every house there is bench on which the older inhabitants sit to watch the world go by. Without exception everyone would wave or say ‘Hola’ to us.

It seemed as though every 1000 yards there was tiny shop cum bar where the younger men would sit nursing a beer or a coffee. The coffees were 1 lei each!

In the end the bill for dinner bed & breakfast was quite reasonable at 400 lei.

We knew we had a long way to go. My calculations said 108 km so we were off early but by the time we had negotiated the horrid track back to the main road it was gone 9:30.

The Danube plain is dead flat but the villages had all grown up on the terraces up above the river. The road obviously passed through the villages so we were going up and down gentle hills all morning. Some road surfaces are smooth and pleasant to ride on the road for the 45 km to Turnu Magurel were harsh bumpy and energy sapping – it was hard work. By the time we got there we had had 2 coffee stops and Lola had confirmed that my calculations were screwed. It was 31 km to Corabia and a further 47 to Bechet where we had the hotel booked. 

It was obviously time for lunch and a rethink. Ever optimistic, l concluded we should push on and see what happened.

Just before we got to Corabia we actually saw the Danube for the first time

i can’t see it either but is in there somewhere


 By Corabia we both knew that Bechet was not going to happen. We pulled into a bar/hotel for a beer and with the intention of booking a taxi to the hotel. We asked the waiter (who informed us he had lived in Ireland) and he said no chance – no taxis in this small town. Hmmm what next. We have not finished the hotel yet he said but we can put you up for the night. How much. 11 Euro!!


The hotel will eventually be very very nice but it was clear they had not yet hired the cleaning staff. Used towel under the bed, bin not emptied in the bathroom, no shower rail or curtain – but the bed linen was new and clean and the bed was comfortable. We actually saw staff coming in for interview.

We never actually got to know the name of the hotel.

We did not understand any of the 3 ‘menu’ options on the menu so settled on pizza which was huge and excellent.

I spent most of the evening on the internet cancelling and rebooking hotels for the next week. Most of the time I was able to make a change but I had to pay for a couple of the near in ones. Still very much prefer the lack of stress from booking in at midday but the ones I can see are so far apart that I feel we need to book ahead.

After breakfast in the morning we paid the bill – all in, several beers, several coffees, diner B&B – 141 lei about 28 euro.

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2 comments on “A stage too far
  1. Greg and Angela says:

    You blog is far more interesting than a Rotary AGM. You got fed 5 of our Members did not get a main,no food left!!!!! And had to go out to get fish an chips!,,,Stay in Bilgaria…..do not rush back! Gregoire

  2. John Flury says:

    Sorry about your hotels not being quite where you thought you would be but we are sure you will get them sorted out eventually. Very surprised there were still people to interview for jobs as thought they were all over here working. Weather looks much better than GB South which has been bloody cold the last few days. Is it Serbia next?

    Pat and John

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