The Forest to the Sea

Highlights and Lowlights

Our hours in Constanta rocketed by about as fast as Toody (or Wom) on Tarantino with hurricanesque tailwinds. As soon as we snapped celebratory shots of us above the Black Sea, we were looking for celebratory drinks and then more celebratory drinks. We partied as tourists party in Maieia, the strip of land between the Black Sea and a long lagoon in the Romanian resort town. It seemed like a really crummy version of Cancun which notes how bad it really was.

Within seven hours of going to sleep (yeah going not awakening), Tom and Woody had booked flights back to Vienna and Berlin (including a spot for Tarantino) and we had our bikes loaded underneath a bus destined to Bucharest or The Capital of Faff. After a dismal 24 hours in the city which included a night in a hotel where sleaze doesn’t even begin to describe the occurrences on the street, Tom and Woody had rode Tarantino to the airport where I met them after a bus ride. Our last actions together were to wrap the tandem in bubble wrap and share one last drink together. Woody left first and I was next on the bus back to the very cool and friendly Funky Chicken hostel. The staff helped me find a store with a box for my bike and the last of the puzzle pieces to make this trip an absolute success seems to have fallen into place.

As I chill out in Bucharest, I ponder the best and worst times of Black to Black. Top three lists are called for:

Best Riding Days:

3) Regensberg, Germany to Passau, Germany (150 km): despite losing my wallet and having to climb a mountain to a castle where we slept this ride proved I could do the long days

2) Belgrade, Serbia to Srebrno Jezero, Serbia (130 km): wild dogs, fast riding and singing with other voyagers by the Danube

1) Srebrno Jezero, Serbia to Drobeta – Turnu Severin, Romania (130 km): Iron Gates River Gorge! nuff said

Worst Riding Days:

3) Silistra, Bulgaria to Constanta, Romania (120 km): steep cobble hills, hot and humid weather, high head winds and numskull drivers

2) Ulm, Germany to Ingolstadt, Germany (160 km): first long day with several unexpected hills, got lost and major bonking when I ran out of food

1) Kolocsa, Hungary to Osijek, Croatia (160 km): rode 75 km with my brake pads engaged, head winds, hot weather and never spent my 8,000 forints

Favorite Cities (excluding Budapest cause I already knew it):

3) Svishtov, Bulgaria: great beer garden, friendly people, cool economics university with a stone amphitheater where we watched a meteor shower

2) Ulm, Germany: tallest cathedral in the world, great river front and nice restaurants alongside canals

1) Belgrade, Serbia: Bohemian quarter, great street food (Chinese and pizza), bridges with bicycle elevators, happening nightlife on a Monday and lit basketball courts in the fortress

Least Favorite Cities:

3) Ruse, Bulgaria: broke a spoke on the major highway, lots of shoddy apartment blocks, crappy riding in and out of the city

2) Bechet, Romania: a bit shit

1) Drobeta – Turnu Severin, Romania: real drag after riding through the Iron Gates River Gorge

Favorite Memories:

3) Singing songs with the other travelers in Serbia and the appearance of the mysterious 72 year old Frenchman who was canoeing the Danube

2) Dancing on stage with Ojos de Brujo in Krems, Austria

1) Laughing uncontrollably with Tom and Woody in Gabcíkovo, Slovakia for reasons we don’t even remember

Least favorite memories:

3) Watching my water bottle explode as it fell into the road and under the wheel of a lorry outside of Novi Sad (and the water didn’t even splash me on the hottest day of all!)

2) Tarantino’s back wheel bent to smithereens after it went into a pothole on our third day riding

1) Losing my wallet in Dilligen, Germany on the fifth day riding

That’s about all for now. I won’t classify the people I met but there were loads of great characters on the road: Dani, Claudia, Peter, Werner, Ivan, Veneta, our fellow ferry boat travelers, the crowd in the rakia bar and party animals in Constanta. The best of all has to be Woody though who I didn’t know much before this trip and became close friends with over 3,000 km in 22 days! Going through such a gauntlet brought Tom, Woody and me together in absolutely unexplainable ways.

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5 responses

  1. What a great adventure! well done…

    August 20, 2011 at 19:46

    • Thanks for reading our blog lovethybike. We truly do love our bikes and are thrilled to hear other cyclists have come across Black to Black. Your blog looks sweet too!

      Ezra

      August 20, 2011 at 23:11

  2. Kristen

    EZ this is super inspiring! good job and congrats on making your dream a reality.

    August 24, 2011 at 16:59

    • Thanks Kristen! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading about it. I hope others are inspired to pursue their dreams and strive to be healthy and adventure as much as possible.

      August 24, 2011 at 17:00

  3. Juliet

    We ( family of 5) have a draft plan to start at Istanbul, along the black sea and then follow the Danaube west in March 2014. We have a lot to plan and It s lovely to read about your trip!

    January 20, 2013 at 21:05

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