I didn’t give a huge amount of thought to booking my return journey, but this was to be my last day’s cycling. It was kind of a daft thing to do, allowing 29 days cycling- why not the round 30? This morning, planning my day, I estimated that I am about 225km from what was to be my journey’s end. I would probably cover 120km or 130km today, coming up short by about 100km. Well that would never do as that would leave unfinished business. The only thing for it was to reschedule my homeward journey, and to head off happily on my penultimate day’s cycling.
Today’s cycle was in two parts. The first 60km was continuing along the interminable kilometres of the Danube Road. I would break for lunch before a ferry trip across the river to the southern shore.
They sky darkened in the morning and I could see lighting in the distance. I kept cycling until the first few raindrops fell, then took shelter. I got to explore the insides of a Romanian bus shelter and all its exotic life forms for an hour or so, until the shower passed. Cycling the rain-soaked roads for the next half an hour was a special treat I hadn’t anticipated.
The Danube Cycleway crosses onto the southern side of the river south of Calarasi, taking you right up to the Bulgarian border. It would be the last of about six ferry crossings I made. It was a floating platform with half a dozen trucks, being pushed by a tug. Off to the right a urban landscape of dilapidated appartment blocks, and off to the left an exposed sand bank, with a fisherman casting his net from a small boat in the shallow water.
As I watched two large white birds flew towards the sandbank; big broad wings and a large body, for all the world like one of the early boatplanes; wings high with a large undercarriage- absolutely fantastic! two pelicans, two immature Dalmation Pelicans just standing there! What an unexpected treat. I thought these were only to be seen in the Danube Delta. There was also about 20 Spoonbills on the sandbank.
Once across the river the landscape changes. This corner of Romania wedged in between the river and the Bulgarian border is wine country. Extensive area of well tended vineyards on the slopes overlooking the river. It only occurred to me when I saw these large vineyards that I had passed areas over the last day or two where vines grew, but they all appeared poorly maintained. Not so here. I also passed the first visitor facility where you could taste and purchase wine.
Once away from the river valley, it was across broad rolling countryside, really quite beautiful with its patchwork quilt of pastel colours; yellows, browns and greens. The rolling hills did, however, take it out of my legs, so it was hard won kilometers for the latter part of the day. But passing the 100km to Constanta milestone did put a spring in my step, figuratively speaking.