(Click the picture to get full size version)

The plan was a three week biking trip to Romania. However reality turned out just a little bit different. From the beginning things didn't go too well. At the airport in Amsterdam, KLM decided to charge us extra for our bikes. Not just a little bit, but a lot. Combined with the bitchiest most unfriendly KLM manager ever didn't help much.

After getting scammed a bit by the taxi driver in Bucharest, things started to look up a bit. We spent a couple days looking around Bucharest and getting our bikes ready. We finally set out to head north towards Targovista.

Our first hotel in Bucharest

Contrasts in Bucharest

Ceausescu's palace


Sandra in town

Taking a break

One of the many gypsy carts
After finally finding our way out of Bucharest, we began biking through the countryside. It was getting a bit too late to make it to Targovista so we decided to try to find something in one of the towns that we were passing through. We talked to woman, Gaby, who spoke German. She said that it would be possible to stay with her mother-in-law who lived on a farm in the town.

The farm

Our room at the Farm

Grandmother and grandchildren

Gaby's daughter led us to her grandmother's farm. The woman did not speak English but with the help of the granddaughter we were able to get by. The woman ran the farm by herself. She made us dinner, all fresh food, with her home-made feta cheese - it was delicious.
Grandmother, Sandra, and granddaughter

Peeling potatoes

Sandra and I with Gaby

The women

Sitting outside the bar

Old church

Sunset tower
After saying goodbye to the family we resumed our journey to Targovista. We looked around a bit and decided to stay in a local hotel. The next morning at breakfast my lower back started hurting. I went to lie down, but it continued to get worse. We called a doctor who prescribed some drugs. By the middle of the night it was very bad again so we went to the hospital. They did some X-rays, blood tests, etc. Armed with some new, different drugs we went back to the hotel for a couple days rest. Since it was obvious that even when I got better I wasn't likely to resume biking so Sandra arranged transport back to Bucharest and a flight back to Holland.

Jim is sick

Bored with CNN

"Can we go home now?"

However the last night before flying out, my back started to hurt again. We went again to the hospital in Bucharest. With the helpful translation of the taxi driver the doctors sent me on another series of tests. The doctors maintained that it was an infection, but the ultrasound technician said it was kidney stones and I think he got it right. The hospital insisted on getting paid before I left (or got my passport back) and they didn't have cash machines, and didn't take credit cards, and didn't think that any bank machines would be working because it was Sunday evening. Our helpful taxi driver drove us around until we found a bank machine that worked, and so I was able to get my passport and fly back to Amsterdam the next day. (not that I had any doubt that I would be on the flight!) So ends our bike trip in Romania - great huh?