Thursday, June 25, 2015

A visit to the Black Sea

The Black Sea is Romania's only non-land border. It is also a popular place in summer with tourists looking for a dip in the sea. The Black sea, as you can see in the photos is not black. Where it got its name from is not 100% certain. There are a couple of theories though. One claims it's called black because of the black sludge which covers much of the sea floor at depths of 150 mtr or more due to high concentration of hydrogen sulfide. Another states it's because the sea turnes black in severe storms... Whatever caused to give it its name, when we visited it the Black Sea was crystal clear and greenish. 

The first time ever I had to ride with a pink backpack
strapped to my bike!
Andrei went to celebrate his son's birthday, Roxy came as pillion and we took Roxy's luggage and followed them both. From Bucharest we took a short stint along the highway, just to get us out of the city quickly, before taking the scenic route along the Bulgarian border. The ride took us to a rather strange ferry, made up from a tug boat strapped sideways to a barge. Strange way of running a ferry... but it works.

The old fart being very happy with
 his Rukka kidney-belt!
As soon as we left the ferry, Andrei warned us that the ride was going to be a bit bumpy(!) Nothing too bad though and the scenery made more than up for it. Kids were waving at us as we rode through their towns. Romania is in that respect a bit like Italy: very enthusiastic and a country full of smiles. We had taken the tent with us but Dan, Andrei's brother, gave us his holiday accommodation to stay in! In the evening we all went out for dinner along the seashore, enjoying the somewhat colourful characters which make up evening life along the beach.

Girls will be girls...
The town we stayed at is right at the most southern point of the Romanian seashore. Very close to the Bulgarian border. Vama Veche is known for a relaxed almost hippy-style atmosphere. The past has learned us this can be good or bad, but in this case it's good. Nice place to stay for a couple of days at least we thought. Andrei's brother, Dan, obviously felt differently as he is building a house there. He obviously liked it more than just for a couple of days! We had a Romanian style BBQ at his place too. The BBQ was a simple bricks and grate affair, operated by an older gentlemen who obviously knows how to BBQ and didn't need a fancy BBQ to do it!

The barge is pushed sideways by a tug boat, which is strapped to the barge by cables. Combine the two and you have a ferry!
Unfortunately Roxy found a tuna salad which gave her food poisoning. We always thought tuna in a can is pretty safe and we usually carry a tin or two in our panniers as 'emergency food', not knowing it is a well known cause of a trip to the 'emergency ward' according to the hospital staff. We have to re-think our emergency food plan I guess...

On the way back we each went our own way. Andrei had left earlier as he had to be back at work. Roxy went in the car with Dan as she still wasn't feeling that well, and we found our own way home to Bucharest. We took virtually the same route back, bar a dirt road that had me standing on the pegs again :-) We 'lunched' at a small supermarket, surrounded by people with horse and carts. On the ferry we met a motorcyclist from the Ukraine who's English was unfortunately not much better than our Ukrainian. It made me realise that we hadn't seen a motorcyclist from the Ukraine before, ever.
Back in Bucharest we learned the Azerbaijan visa still wasn't ready, and by now well overdue. We asked our passports back to start the visa procedure for China in the meantime, which was a simple affair and ready for us in just 3 days...! This meant the end of our visit to Romania, a country we had enjoyed very much and love to visit again one day!