Rich had to go without a shave this morning as we experienced our first Romanian water cut. Fortunately I’d not been able to sleep in and had showered just after 6am, but judging by the appearances of our fellow guests at breakfast was the only one. Still, we had access to the swimming pool, and lots of bottled water from the bar.
We breakfasted like royalty on tomatoes stuffed with aubergine dip, cucumber stars, salami, ham, soft goat’s cheese, bread, butter and home made plum jam. They’ve not tended to have black tea in many of the cafes or restaurants and we’d already gotten rid of our supply of tea bags so I had a rare black coffee, heavily sweetened to disguise the taste, but still provide a much needed caffeine kick.
We were kept company by Nico – the little white dog from last night, and his friend whose name I don’t know, but who’d been run over by a car and had his back legs mangled. He seemed happy enough shuffling around on his bottom, and didn’t look like he was in any pain, although it’s a shame that there wasn’t enough money to have his legs looked after by a vet after the accident.
We checked out of the pension at 12 noon and headed the few miles to the centre of Snagov. We’d had high hopes as the guide book said that it was very pretty, that you could access the lake, and that Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was buried in the local church. I’m not actually sure that the person who wrote that section ever got out of their car. We found the church but not the grave, despite our best efforts. And there is no public access to the lake unless you want to pay to access the only park, or ask a local resident very nicely if you can wander around their very large, walled, back garden. We didn’t bother doing the latter as it didn’t feel like a particularly welcoming place, what with all the fences and alarms around the large houses, but it’s easy to see why wealthy Romanians who like to publicly display their wealth, aspire to live here in such gated communities, shut away from the less affluent. This is not our idea of a community. And I’m pretty sure there’s not much community spirit within. Not when even the police cars are porsches!
We cut our losses and stopped off at a bar for a soft drink. The owner reluctantly unlocked the door to the ladies loos. I’d thought that maybe he was embarrassed by the smell and the cockroaches, but as Rich pointed out – women tend not to frequent bars in Romania, so I’d probably committed some sort of social faux pas. Hey ho. I’m sure he’ll get over it.
We left Snagov, hoping to find a cute cafe for lunch on the outskirts, but our luck had run out, so we had to go to McDonald’s. After a few weeks of trying to get by on basic Romanian my language skills well and truly failed me in Maccy D’s. The serving staff didn’t speak any English, pointing and miming didn’t work (I told you already, I have no pride), so I skulked away and stood by a pillar looking bewildered. So much so that two very nice Romanian men came to our rescue. They spoke several languages, explained to the staff that we were knackered tourists who’d lost the ability to communicate effectively, and submitted our order. Would something similar have happened in the UK? I doubt it. The tourists would likely be ignored, so shame on us.
After inhaling our burgers we drove the last few miles to Lulu’s drop off point. We’d expected a reprimand and possibly a hefty bill as we’d pushed her to her limit, and accidentally smeared mud over the front seats, but they immediately declared her fit and well and shoved us in the shuttle bus back to the airport. We spent the next few hours in a very warm terminal swatting away flies, drinking earl grey tea, and eating chocolate.
After boarding, we found ourselves sat next to a fellow Welsh man who does a lot of consulting work in Romania, and behind an adorable Romanian toddler who mortified her parents by spending most of the flight playing peek-a-boo with us, and throwing things in our general direction. For a two year old she was as strong as an ox, cute as hell, and more than happy to engage in lengthy conversations for several hours, before finally falling asleep twenty minutes before we landed. The Welsh man seemed to be trying desperately to sleep, but what with me and the toddler he didn’t have much choice but to talk. I can’t have been that annoying though as he ended up asking if I’d work for him! Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, and I’ve not heard from him since he cancelled a meeting, but it was nice to be asked.
Despite the flight delay our female pilot made up the time, and our taxi driver back in England drove like a Romanian, so we were home by midnight for a late supper of tea and biscuits. A fitting end to a proper Romanian adventure.