DAY TEN… 55 miles (88 km)

So we learn from the pension where we are camping about the special wind that blows against us from the South. This wind, once established can last for days. It may go tomorrow, they say, encouragingly, but, then again, it may not. We battled against this wind all day. It was coming straight at us as we cycled along the fabulous gorge of the Danube. Probably the most beautiful stretch so far.

Early morning ride

We stopped to pick up provisions in the last shop for what looked like a very long stretch, maybe 100km. Tim was quite unnerved as he waited, with the bikes, for me to shop, by a man begging…. staring intensively at him. He had obviously been self harming too as his arms were a series of scars. We had to cycle for miles to get away from him, till Tim felt reassured enough to stop.

This stop was for breakfast as we had not been able to really ask at our camp spot for milk or showers. Using their loo and water seemed plenty for them and they were tied up with preparations for a wedding. They did kindly offer us, last night, a glass of plum brandy (slivovitz), proudly distilled by the smiling grandmother matriarch of the household. This stuff rots your brain & can strip paint. It’s 50% alcohol and tastes absolutely disgusting.

Once breakfast was over it was back to heat and wind. It was such hard work. I didn’t feel like eating really but forced down some bread and fish at lunch time. I was just contemplating another swim in the Danube to cool off when, as I paddled in, I saw a huge snake. It was coming straight for me. So that put an end to the swim idea.  Tim and I can’t decide if all the snakes we see dead in the road are adders… but we think so.

Soon after lunch, about 4pm, we began to look for a place to stay for the night. We tried a few places, there were not many anyway. One place was dingy, the owners unenthusiastic and very noisy, so we decided against, even though our Danish cyclist friend (we had met a few times on the road) was there. … so, we cycled on. Unfortunately, this turned into an epic voyage as there was nothing else for miles and miles, but eventually we came to Cetatea Tri Kule and found the place a man had told us about.

Afternoon rest, with the crucially needed table & chairs

By this time, it was very late (7.15pm). Quite honestly, by now I couldn’t care how much it cost or what it was like. I just needed to stop and rest. It turned out to be a lovely little chalet, poised above the Danube with lovely views. There was a little balcony and across the field a separate area where you could cook. Perfect!  However, discovered one major flaw, which is that the much needed shower was totally cold. We need to do a lot of washing today and wash our hair but this is not so good with cold, freezing water.