Are you mad? You'll die. You'll get robbed. It's dangerous there. The dogs are ferocious. A woman can't cycle solo through that country. Rather you than me. Are you crazy?
It was with a little trepidation having heard these comments that I entered the country of Romania. I could have avoided it by travelling along the Serbian side of the Danube and into Bulgaria yet Romania was an unknown to me, I wanted to judge it for myself and make my own opinion. I am glad I did.
Let me show you the villages of Romania. the ubiquitous horse and cart, laden with laughing faces and bright clothing, villagers collecting their cows from the fields in the evening, forming a trail of communal cow walking. the shady spots under the trees that line each street with the benches where old ladies sat in patterned skirts, thick socks up to just below the knee, headscarves and toothy grins. Old men and women resting with sturdy hoes and scythes, shepherds tending the sheep, goats and cows stopping to rest on their stick and wave as I passed.
Hungry as ever I entered a small village shop to buy some bread yet they only sold large loaves. I asked if any smaller and was promptly given the largest and the gentleman would not accept payment. Drum bun (have a nice trip) he said and gave a tut as I once again tried to pay, holding his hands up, smiling and turning his back on me.
Romania put its arms around me and gave me a big squeeze