Tales from the road

The dangers of little old ladies.


Romania. It feels like you have arrived in the year 1200 AD. Most people are poor. Most people are dirty. Most people are friendly.


 Being still a travel-virgin, I was a little bit afraid to leave the main road. Passing small villages, I would catch a glimpse of unpaved streets, open sewers and bad looking men with dark burning eyes and unshaved cheeks. There was the real world. After half a day of this ‘peeking inside’, I decided to ‘shape up’. How could I explore the world if I was scared to even enter a village?


So when I reached the next village, I turned of the main road and entered the cage of the lion. Small groups of men, hanging around, leaning on walls and fences, looked at me with their dark burning eyes. Now, five years later, I know they looked at the bike, like any other man in any other country would do. Like I had done myself so many times. But to me it was intimidating. In my mind they were talking about hanging that stranger that dared to enter their world of gipsy kings and magical curses, upside down by his toes in the big oak tree for a day or two. And then do some really bad things to him.

But five minutes (that seemed to last five hours) later I was alive and well on the main road again. Now, that was not so bad, was it?

Getting braver I decided to have my lunch in the next village where I stopped at a water-fountain. A nice place to eat my sandwich.

I placed my bottle of cola in the fountain to cool down and enjoyed my sandwich and my bravery.


Suddenly a little old lady with a cane walked in my direction. She stepped straight towards me. My brain went into overdrive. What had I done? Was the fountain sacred and had I desecrated it with my cola-bottle. Would she make a scene and call for the men with the unshaved cheeks and burning eyes? Should I run for it?