Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Off-Target Trip to Timişoara

Shirl at Cozia

Saturday, 21 March: After our night in Sibiu, and after a lazy morning at the Pensiune Hermannstadt spent drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with staff members Mitros, Tibi and Leo (a Jawa rider), we took Klaus south. Forsaking the road to Timişoara, we chose instead to head down E81 to see the Danube River Valley, and that world-famous river that forms the border between Romania and Bulgaria. We did so partly in pursuit of spring, which was just present on the calendar, but not yet evident in the weather up in Transylvania.

Stopping only to view an old German John Deere tractor, and to visit the monastery at Cozia, it took half of the afternoon to reach Ramnicu Valea, at which point we chose Ro 54, a much less- traveled country road that went due southward, avoiding the main roads that diverge there, westward toward Craiova and eastward toward Bucharest.

Now south of the mountains and into Wallachia, Romania's historical southern region, formerly a kingdom in its own right, we found ourselves enjoying bright sunshine and farm fields in cultivation. Traffic had all but evaporated, and the driving was thoroughly pleasant past black fields just burned-over, brown and lumpy fields whose soil had just been turned over by tractor-towed harrows, and bright spring-green fields of newly sprouted crops. It must have made a wonderful patchwork, if viewed from a light plane, and I commened to Shirl that I had brought my pilot's license and logbook with me to Romania, and might arrange an hour or two of dual before coming home to New Hampshire, if time permits. The landscape grew flatter as we continued southward, first reminiscent of central Iowa, then later of western Illinois: alluvial land in the flood plain of a major river.

We stopped for the night in Caracal, finding a pleasant pensiune (the "No Name") with a jovial young manager named Ovidius. We had dinner there, resting well in a modern room. And before leaving the next morning, we exchanged e-mail addresses with Ovidius, and told him that if he ever gets to Boston, he should try its No Name Restaurant. And that recommendation goes to all readers, as well. [You won't see it advertised, but it has been on Boston's Fish Pier since 1914. Take a taxi, and ask for "the No Name." Order the broiled sole. You will thank me. [If you prefer to pay four times as much for less-fresh fish served more elegantly, Jimmy's Harborside and Anthony's Pier 4 are on either side, within 500 meters.]


Dr Zach said...

It's good to hear from you again, Duncan. Are you naturally a spontaneous person? I wonder if one of the lessons from your Romanian exprience might be to become more spontaneous, "to live in the moment". - Larry

Ian said...

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Romania. I used to travel around by train when I lived there. Sibiu was my favourite town.

Duncan McDougall said...


When else is there?