Usually I dont know where I will end up by the end of the day. I come without travel books and only little information about the places. If I have internet, I check out if there are hostels or campsits. But even if there is information to find, it comes different. Constant surprises add to the sensation to be lost and find the way and myself again, which appears several times during each ride. Many bikers use GPS. Often I wish to have one, just to know where I am, whether I am on the right track. But since the good ones are expensive and the maps I need for them are to be purchased in addition, plus sometimes they indicate the wrong way, I dont have the little unit which tells me where I have to go or not. I love maps and can spend hours to study them, seeing everything in coherence on big scale. Besides, it is much more nurishing to ask for the way or the hotel.
The village I spotted with camping sites at the delta is cute, has a supermarket where you get EVERYTHING you possibly need for life and people are hanging out on the streets. So I am spotted when I make my rounds and ride into a cule de sac where I assumed the camp site. A driver honks the horn behind me, I probably block the way, but he wants to show me a campsite, HIS campsite, which I first think it might be in his private garden. The name of the one I search he refuses to understand and insists in showing me some others. If I wouldnt like them he shows me his own. Well ok, I follow him out of town to a huge expensive holiday complex which of cause I dont like. His own campsite turns out to be not that inviting, more expensive then the usual and I didnt like his dirty little trick anyway. I havnt seen the one I looked for, return to the supermarket and eat iceream while drinking a litre of water. Just waiting for what comes. Of cause another biker comes shopping, German, and shows me other campsites which includes the one. Empty, green grass, cheap, clean, my spot for the night.
Many rules appear immediatly, gate closes at 23.00, then silence, no visitors allowed, bath closed for cleaning between 14.00 and 15.00, tent exactly in the quarter of the patch which is for four catravans, etcetera. But internet. It all didnt alert me jet.
The tent is up for the first time of this trip, my little home.
In the evening a VW camper rolls in, and it turns out that the new guests are not so boring as it often happens on these campsites, a Swiss couple with two hitchikers from Poland. We eat together and have fun until the lady of the campsite barks at us that we should be quiet from 23.00 on, otherwise we have to party outside, or we get kicked out and dont get the money back. Everybody is shocked. Very calmly I reply, sure mam, no problem, we understand, everything is ok. She is obviously stressed out and not in a state to argue with.
The Swiss guy, Chris looks at his precise watch: it is exactly 5 to 11! What a downer.
Anyway we are ready with our meal and spend another hour in the back of the site, enjoying the stars and trying to relieve our shock with jokes about the lady and the roules, but some impression stays of the tough lady. Since one of the Polish woman is unable to speak silently, I see the owner coming any minute again.
Next day we all make a boat trip through the delta with the male side of the owners. He seems to be the calmer part of them, but not less correct.
He grew up in the delta and knows each square meter of it with all its lakes, waterways, birds in Romanian, German and French language and I wionder if he knows some of them even by their personal name. He doesnt enjoy the trip less then we do, navigating his boat artistcally through tight passages of the jungle. I realize that many techniques are similar to motorcycling, when to reduce speed, when to acelerate to get around tight corners. A boat cannot stop on the spot, like a motorcycle, you have to consider all the time what can happen in fronnt of you and work with the weight and time.
It is high water, two meters more then usual, so that much land is flooded with trees sticking out halfways. The silence is beautiful when he turns off the machine pointing at a bird which we all dont see first. Slowly I progress in spotting all the animals in the air, bush or in the water, like water snakes.
The constant lack of making presents for someone in a short time, I resolve in filming the trip, and burning a dvd for the couple since she articulated some kind of interest the night before.
Here are some excerpts of the delta trip, made for Iris and Chris.
(Chris, for the case you read this, the tranfer of your photos didnt work, please send just some by email!)
The owner told Chris and me already before the tour that they dont like the Polish sleeping without tent or car outside, what we passed on to them, still they are ordered now to leave. It might be also a particularity in the Romanian language to be very straight, but this was Western Stile, like the sherriff telling the villain: you have one hour to leave town! In our case it was 15 minutes!
While the female side of the owners is cleaning outside, I dare to get in the bath to take a shower. Instinctivly I take off my dirty boots very slowly at the doorstep.
- You dont have to take them off. - Oh well, my mother was a cleaner for years and I respect that work of cleaning a lot. - This is just my second job here, otherwise I am a teacher.
A conversation develops about schools, the country, economy, possibilities, the value of work, the value of doing ones own business, the value of life.
She and her husband are working very hard all their life to make a little bit of standard for them and the children. Not having made one vaccation in 20 years, not even in their own country.
Of cause she was talking more then me, but I thought, well, lets make this present to give her an ear and warm replies. She seemed to need it urgently, since her husband gets just orders from her, unimaginable that he has the nerve to take care more of her.
Her speach explained everything of her misbehavior.
The more interesting part was her analysis why the village and the country is still suffering, tourists are only there for some months, though everything is there which is needed to have a healthy economy and outcome for all, but the administration is unable to put up another standing leg. Only god knows where the European subsidy goes. At least in her region the ones who makle quick money dont know what to do with it, change interest, spend it for bullshit and dont return anything in sustainable projects. Their workers are payed still bad while the business makes lots of profit, so that even the ones who work all day cant activly be part of the economy. Why should one work then at all, many seem to think.
Ok, she gets a call, is still a little stressed but could open her heart a bit, and I can take my shower.
So if you dont mind rules, look correct, then stay at the campsite. And if you want a very nice trip through the Danube Delta, all correct, official price, no rip off, see all animals and the jungle contact Camping Lac Murighiol: http://en.camping.info/campsites . He knows the delta the best.