Ruth: Our days of cycling in Romania have been full of contrasts. Perhaps the most striking is the gulf between urban and rural areas. Yesterday and today Gord and I abandoned the big highways and their semi-trailer traffic for the hilly backroads. Here the infrequent cars were old rusty Dacias and utility vans. Rush hour was the flock of sheep that filled the street in one town. Horse drawn buggies are also becoming a more frequent sight. Today we played tag with one family as their buggie caught up to us and passed us a few times when we were pulled over to look at the map and have a snack.
There have been so many moments that I have resisted the urge to take photos of people, but this family slowed down for me to take the shot after our race was over. Travel is voyeuristic by nature, but there needs to be at least a mutual humanizing connection for it to feel ok. Besides, their daughter snapped a picture of us with her cell phone.
After our ride through the country we arrived in Cluj Napoca, the second largest city in Romania and, as the Lonely Planet warned, the party capital. Our room was perfectly situated right between the two main squares in the old city. We were also only a block from the stage for the evening's concert celebrating the city's anniversary. When in Rome... you try to forget how many kilometres you have ridden and head out to dance to an excellent Romanian band playing hits from the '80s.
It's Labour Day in Canada and even a teacher on leave for a term is very aware that students and their teachers are heading back to school. Last night I had a teacher nightmare to commemorate the event. I was racing to my foods class realizing it was almost the end of term and we still hadn't cooked anything. I was very happy to wake up and find myself in Romania.