[‘Friends of the road (Vrienden van de weg)’ bestaat enkel in het Engels, excuses hiervoor]
I’d like to dedicate a page to all people who help me on my way to Taiwan.
People who offer me a night stay in their garden, stable, garage or flat. People who offer me a shower, breakfast, some food for the road, home made tidbits, water or a nice chat. People who put effort in showing me the right direction.
People who mean a lot to me.
People I instant like and love.
People who make my journey memorable.
People who deserve a special thank you, bedankt, merci, danke schön, děkuji, dzięki, спасибі, mulțumesc, благодаря, teşekkürler, …
People I call friends.
Thanks a million!
It was already quite late when I crossed the border and arrived at Sighetu Marmaţiei. This nice guy helped me to find a nice and cheap place to stay #Romania
I heard already so much about the hospitality of the Romanian people. I was cycling only 19 kilometer in this country and this group (family, neighbours) started talking to me. First the little child was begging for money, later when a guy who spoke English, explained that I was actually the one who was begging for money (for WWF and UNICEF), they also had to laugh. They offered me a night stay, because the mom was the opinion that you can’t camp in such bad weather. I had to continue my journey because WWF Baia Mare was waiting for me #Romania
Calin and Stefan from the WWF office in Baia Mare didn’t only overwhelmed me with tons of information about their projects but also with a yummy pizza #WWF #Romania
I entered a very small village, next to a river. There was music everywhere, people were in the street and kids were playing. A lovely atmosphere all around. A woman spoke Italian, I spoke Spanish, we could communicate like that. Not only the sun was shining… #Romania
I didn’t only receive tap water but also a plastic bag full of yummy, fresh strawberries from their garden #Romania
I wanted to take a picture from the horse with carriage. The man saw it and came instantly posing for the camera. His modelling career began #Romania
With my few Polish vocabulary I started communicating with the man. He wasn’t really reacting. Strange! I didn’t realise he was already a bit deaf #Romania
Wow, finally I reached the pass and checked this place for a nice camping spot. Suddenly I heard a lot of sheeps (1000 to be precise) and saw a few sheppards. This man wanted to help me to go to the next village (he even draw the directions, a house and river on a paper), he didn’t realise that actually I wanted to camp there #Romania
It was nice to talk English in a small village like Doda Pilii. Thanks Tibi and Stefan for the chat! #Romania
Another pass was almost reached. The man in front asked my age and where I sleep. He had a good idea. I didn’t have to sleep alone in my tent. I could stay in his house and sleep there with two men. Yeah right 😉 #Romania
I met these four very kind German friends in a pension in Garda de Sus. I asked them some information about hiking to a cave. They invited me to have a seat and a beer. Cosy evening #Romania
I asked the neighbours of family Màgurean (picture) if I could camp in their garden. When I saw the surface it wasn’t the ideal spot (cobblestones and mud all around). So the man asked this family if I could camp here. It was possible 🙂 We communicated a whole evening via Google translate and they spoiled me with lovely pancakes and a barbecue. Thank you so much Dana, Sorin, Alin, Andrei and Bogdan for this unforgettable night #Romania
I saw the colorful bee truck along the way and took a picture. The man started talking to me. Apparently he also spoke Spanish, because he lived their a couple of years. It was very sad to hear his story. Normally he could sell the honey to a company in the Netherlands but now, they don’t wanna buy it anymore. There was also too much rain so he didn’t have enough honey to sell. A nice guy with bad luck. I really hope the weather changed fast for him #Romania
I passed by this shop to buy some food. These guys were customers too. It was friday evening, the weekend started… with a beer for them and a coke for me. They really insisted to have a drink at their expense. Very kind and funny guys. The one on the left worked once in Dublin, so the communication went well in English #Romania
Oooh, I will never forget this family. I asked for some water, so I could wash myself later in the evening. They came over with a big tub full of water, soap, a towel, home baked cake, fresh lemon juice… they were also proud to show their pigs and chickens. We couldn’t talk because of language barrier but the man was so good in body language that we constantly had to laugh with the things he wanted to explain. He also adviced me to go to the nearby beautiful nature reserve Cheile Turului #Romania
This is his friend, having their beer in the carriage #Romania
I was sitting in front of a shop to have my picknick. This man started talking to me. Or actually feeding me. He gave me two yoghurts and a can of coke, just like that. When he saw I was finished, he offered me a new one. So did his friend (see the next picture). Two funny men who also liked a beer, or two, three 😉 #Romania
I was already at the foot of Transalpina. This time I wanted to SEE the mountains and passes I was cycling through/over, so I decided to wait a day in a hotel till the rain left this stunning region. The lady of the house offered me a really good price and a very kind welcome #Romania
I couldn’t find a flat place to camp in this region. This woman came spontaniously to me and told me that I could camp in the garden of a summer house from a woman she knew. Later on, the lady of the house passed by, she offered me the key of the house so I could use the kitchen and shower too. An hour later, I got a visit from the first woman again, together with her eleven year old daughter who made this nice drawing for me #Romania
I cycled along a school and these curious kids we’re yelling at me to stop, they wanted me to take a picture from them 🙂 #Romania
That same day, 20 kilometers further, I was looking for a shop to buy food, to recharge again. The woman in the middle, is the bar owner, she told me where I could go to and offered me a coke, just like that #hospitality #Romania
On top of Transfăgărășan there was mist and a cold wind. My clothes were soaked. This very kind mountain rescue ranger invited me for a hot tea inside. I also could change some clothes before descending the 2134m pass. Lovely! #Romania
Before descending Transfăgărășan I had to lift my bicycle and luggage over this fence. Luckily this kind couple was around to help me. Thanks a lot Jay and girlfriend #Romania
You can’t believe this… After 3 days of cycling from Transalpina to Transfăgărășan I met wonderful Alexandra in the streets of Cârțișoara, a small village on the foot of Transfăgărășan. She saw me checking my map and gps, came to me and asked if she could help me. I just said that I needed money from an ATM because I had to stay in a hotel while my tent was soaked. Instantly she invited me to stay at their home, they had a campfire with friends and I was very welcome to join them. So much love and warmth after a cold and tough day of cycling is a feeling I’ll never forget. The next morning she spoiled with a lovely healthy breakfast. Alexandra, Stefan, Iana, Teea and Vlad, you’re always in my heart and I really hope to welcome you one day in Belgium too. Unfortunately Iana is not on the picture, she went already to school #Romania
My legs needed some rest and I made already a lot of detours in Romania. So I decided to hitchhike to the beautiful Transsylvanian city Sighișoara. Aurel, a retired electrical engineer was my first ‘catch’. Thanks for the cosy first 10 kilometers #Romania
These friendly shepherds (man, wife and two guys in the back) didn’t only give me a ride a bit further, but the man in front also offered me a night stay at his house in Bran. I already had a place to stay but it was very kind though. Oh, I also heard some noice in the trunk of the car, five little dogs were going to guide thousand sheeps they were riding to #Romania
This Orthodox priest was on his way to visit a friend in Sighișoara. Yeah, my lucky shot, after 3 hours I arrived on my destination #Romania
On my way back from touristy Sighișoara to Făgăraș, Adrian, who has a printing office, was the second car who gave me a ride. After I walked already 30 minutes and started to become afraid that I had to walk the 60 kilometers back to the hotel. Thank you so much Adrian, also for the nice chat and company #Romania
Teoooo… How sweet, lovely and sportive can you be! Not only she, but her whole family were sooo welcoming to me. They spoiled me way too much. Normally, as a warmshowers guest, you cook for the host, but right now, I really couldn’t. After almost 3 months on the road, it felt really good to sit once again at a table with a whole family enjoying dinner together. To be honest: her mum is the best cook of Romania, for sure. Teo also gave me tons of good advices and places to see in Romania. It’s so nice to see that she also enjoys her country as much as I do. Thanks a billion Teo! I hope I can once welcome you once in Belgium too #Romania
Via Teo (my warmshowers host in Bran) I learned to know another host a bit futher in Brașov. Great 🙂 Radu is a very experienced world tourer who cycled through a lot of countries I will cycle through. He overloaded me (in the positive way) with tons of interesting information of cycling east, with a yummy lentils dish, an evening walk to a hill with great overview on ‘Brașov by night’ and ‘power eggs’ in the morning. Hope to welcome you and your wife once in Belgium, and sorry, we don’t have mountains 😉 #Romania
It’s always nice to get off the main roads. You start cycling through villages, on dirt road, people are a bit curious and start talking more easily. Like these two men. I like those unexpected encounters. They always give me new energy and things to think about #Romania
Ioana, crazy Ioana, how I like that girl 🙂 Although she didn’t speak English, she started a conversation with me. We were both cycling. She didn’t understand how I could cycle uphill, while she was walking next to her bike, pushing him and suffering from the heat. We stopped together at a well to drink some water and continued cycling. When the road was downhill she was stretching one arm above her head and, because her brake didn’t work, held one foot on her rear tire, but didn’t use it that much. Small detail, it was dirt road 🙂 Actually she past her village already but wanted to continue cycling with me. Her friend joined us. Before saying goodbye, we picked, like naughty children, cherries from the tree on the picture. Ioana, although you don’t like cycling, I really hope you once become a professional downhill rider. You would be a champ, for sure! #Romania
I love it when people just come over to start chatting with me. Like here, I was having a picknick near this lake. The cute farmer came over to have a chat and invited me to camp at his farm. Unfortunately, I had to continue my trip #Romania
Can you imagine a camp site where you don’t have to pay? Well, it exists in Greci, in the east of Romania. An old very sweet couple runs a small campsite there. You don’t have to pay, there’s a box on the table and you can put money in it if you want to #Romania
I was cycling in the Danube Delta. The Delta was just for myself, nobody on the road, except (in the other direction) this most friendly man Calin from #SulinaFabuloasă (check facebook, he organises kayak tours through the delta). I had to cross a river two times, the first time he helped me by carrying my luggage because it was too deep to cross it with my front rollers #Romania
It was a Sunday in June, I arrived in Sfântu Gheorghe, a fishing village in east Romania. I wanted to buy some food but checked first the beautiful, colourful garden of this sweet lady Agafia. She started talking to me (in Romanian) and explained that the shops were closed. I had to wait for a minute, she said. She came back with home made bread, 10 eggs and a huge piece of goat cheese, all from the house. It was just unbelievable. People in the Danube Delta earn € 200/month and food costs a bit less than in Belgium. This woman was so, so sweet. We said goodbye with a really big hug #Romania
It was around 4 p.m., I was sitting in a bar in Jurilovca, waiting for the rain to stop. Unfortunately it didn’t. This woman with her three kids entered the bar and sat next to me. She started talking and immediately offered me a night stay. Her man was working abroad, so she said five woman in the house would be very cosy. An unforgettable evening with some beers and nice talks #Romania
Due to a lack of time, I had to hitchhike from Constanța to Bucharest, 220 kilometer to the west. Alexander, a wonderful guy, gave me a first ride. He partially lives in Romania, partially in France. He wants to become an officer on a boat. I really hope he succeeds. Lots of luck Alexander and thank you so much for the nice chat and ride #Romania
These two men were my second ride towards Bucharest. Again, very nice people. The one in the left spoke English, the one in the right, French. Great company, nice chats. Thank you guys! #Romania
Meet lovely Ioana. She was very enthousiastic and welcoming when she heard about the trientrapt project. She worked for WWF Romania and arranged my stay in the WWF office of Baia Mare. When I arrived in Bucharest, she overwhelmed me with very interesting information about WWF projects in her country. She also bought me a yummy lunch and we had really nice conversations about how it is to live in the post Ceausescu era and what WWF Belgium can do, how it can evolve. Now she’s working in Brussels for WWF Belgium. A new job, a new challenge. I wish you all the luck you deserve. You will succeed, for sure #WWF #Romania
Matei was my warmshowers host in Bucharest. He is a really nice guy, easy going and funny. In between all his work he took the time to host me. Incredible! I really loved my stay in his great appartment. Thank you so much Matei. (Here together with his cute and a bit shy son Costa who is passionate about boats) #Romania
I felt really sad leaving Romania, that beautiful country with its people I really love. I had to take a ferry to cross the border. As a nice goodbye I met this sympathetic couple. I had a great chat and they offered me water and a Mars for the road #Romania