**So what does “Domashniy moloko” mean in Romanian??**
On Tuesday, 8th August, I left Berlin after around one month hitchhiking towards Ukraine again. Initially I wanted to start a day earlier but I was a bit sick that’s why I postponed my departure.
I arrive really quick at the border. Around midnight I passed the small border crossing at Budomiercz. When I didn’t find any car to take me further at 2.30am I just slept in my sleeping bag next to a field. At one time I woke up because some people were passing by, who got got a bit scared when I woke up and asked what’s up. They wanted to see my documents but when I asked if they are some police to have the right for this question they went away.
Wednesday morning I met with Sava, Sasha and Ivan in Lviv and supported the three as best I could in their project.
Friday at noon we cycled to Lviv where the official by the press accompanied start took place.
So as my Ukrainian friends cycled west on 13th August I turned towards the south to Romania.
It should get a very exhausting continue with a total elevation gain of 13 600m on 500km. Though the first day was kind of easy. I just had to follow the main road and could buy some honey before I put my tent behind a church.
Sunday it started getting difficult. For calculating the routes I use the service of openrouteservice.org. Usually I follow that proposed route, sometimes I leave it. I had noticed back in Sosnivka that between the oblasts of Ivano-Frankivsk and Zaparkattia I should take a way that doesn’t exist in GoogleMaps. Well I was curious but a hell of a road since it was neither bituminised nor a dirt road just a rocky hiking trail. It was the first time that I had to push my bicycle and even downhill I couldn’t sit on my saddle because most of the time it was just too rocky. And when I had the chance to roll down I wasn’t much more faster that by normally walking. In addition the highest point (1260m) of this part to Berghia lay on this way. At this place there was a least a nice spot to put the tent.
But the “road” should not remain the only obstacle/challenge. At night it started raining and it continued until late morning. So I couldn’t start as usual at 9am/10am but at 12pm. A nice side effect of the rain was that the “road” now offered many huge mud and water holes. At some point – obviously – it only went downhill but started raining again. Turned out my rainproof jacket was not rainproof any more and the “road” was passing under an mostly ankle-deep creek. Latest at that point I didn’t care about anything anymore. Just a flat tire or another broken part would have been the dot of the i.
Wet from hair to my toes I finally arrived the village where a normal street came off. Half an hour before it also stopped raining so I could change my clothes and sped along this astonishingly well road. Unfortunately its good condition was not for a long time and I was able to manoeuver around potholes again. During my search for a place to camp I left the road and drove over a wooden rope bridge that was obviously quite slippery due to the rain. On the way back I wanted to film how I’d crossed it – but it went wrong (see video below). Finally I found a nice place near a big lake.
On Tuesday (16.8) I left Ukraine with many unanswered questions but not without breaking my personal speed record on these streets – 63,6km/h. How should I communicate in Romania? In Ukraine I could pretty easily talk with the people right now, explaining what I want and even better understanding what they want from me. But the Romanian language is close to Spanish and Italian which I both don’t speak. Still not a reason the step on unknown territory. The bordercrossing was no problem and on the Romanian side I was asked if I wasn’t afraid. “Of what?” – “Bad people.” I laughed and wanted to know which mobile carrier was the best. It was Vodafone.
So I was in EU again, but instead of happiness I was shocked seeing so many signs for LIDL, Kaufland and dm (German supermarket and drug store brands). But maybe I have just been to long on the countryside between villages.
I spent the night on the property of Gitsko who, after I misunderstood that I could sleep there and just drove on, drove after me with his scooter and guided me back. But before I have been driving through many villages that had typical big wooden portals as entrance. There grandmothers processed wool, made clothes or just talked and I could hit myself for not having taken a single picture of it.
I kind of expected roads in Romanian to be better than in Ukraine. But what I experienced until that day proved me wrong. There were not so many potholes but also not so many bituminised road in general. But at least the dirt roads were of quite good quality so that I was able to drive with 20km/h. I continued, cycling steep roads and one downhill ride I had to fix suspension fork cause it dangled dangerously. I sleept on a field with a nice view over the hilly land that caused so much pain in my legs (only figuratively though).
On Thursday (18.8) I planned to reach a small village before Targu Mures because I had a Couchsurfing host there. But the day started really bad. I began at 9am but the path to the village was that muddy that the mud stuck to my wheels and made it impossible to ride. The distance was 5km and it took me two hours. I haven’t cursed so loud since I started in Berlin.
Having arrived in the village I stopped by the first house where I saw people outside. They helped me cleaning my bicycle and in the end even gave me a late breakfast and 2l of fresh milk. Unfortunately also this part of the route and some steep parts.
One time when I wanted to refill my water a man saw me and persisted in giving me some of his home-made wine. He wanted to give me one litre but in the end I could bargain him down to half a litre.
Though until I arrived in Berghia, it was already dark, I was completely exhausted after having driven more than 130km the bottle was nearly empty. And of course just before the village there was a last ascent.
“Domashniy moloko” (english for “home-made milk”) is in Romanian “lapte de casa”.