I begin my day with a monologue.
It was something about the uselessness of cars in cities and the importance of cycling, and how this works together with out respect and love for Pachamama.
Funny thing is I didn’t even realize I was gifting the grassy fields around me with this loud speech, all in Spanish, and with some flailing of one hand or the other to further illustrate my ideas while continuously cycling along…
Am I going a little loopy (or I should say loopier) from spending so much time alone?
Or maybe I just have a lot of thoughts to share and at 9:00 am on the empty road to Vršac the riding is effortless (the wind has finally died down!) and my voice is liberated.
I think some of the storks heard me.
Cycle, cycle, cycle. I share about 30 minute of the ride with an Austrian of Serbian origin who is back in his homeland on holiday. He loves cycling around the flat plains. Does he have a map? No, he exclaims, divulging what I didn’t know was his big secret, shame in life – he doesn’t know how to read a map.
What?? We’ve already established that he is multilingual, so it’s next to impossible that he is actually illiterate. No, no, he explains, simply his sense of direction is so horrendous that he can’t tell south from north, up from down or right from left.
Now if that’s not real cycling courage – to set out on a bicycle in full knowledge of your inability to independantly find your way home – then I don’t know what is!
I’m in Vršac pretty early, around 18:00, coming upon the hills that mark the beginning of the Karpaty mountains in Romania. I have never been so happy to see an interesting and hilly horizon after so many days of cycling in the plains!
My host Sanja, my first host to ever be younger than me (she is 22), meets me at the main square to show me to her home. There, it’s the Serbian paradigm all over again: anything I want, I can have it. Shower, food, internet, even a rare phone call to my parents in Calgary! “Guest” = “Royalty“, in Serbia, and I send my hosts into a frenzy when I am fool enough to admit that I would like some lettuce. They run around all over trying to procure me that darn lettuce…that wasn’t at all my intention!
In the evening we go out to see some of the city and to meet with Sanja’s friend Vlad. As he himself puts it he’s a “cleaner on cruise ships with a bachelor’s degree in economics”. It is all too often the story of the youth here who, after graduation, can’t find work in their actual field of study. He doesn’t sound too hard done by however as he tells us of the gorgeous coast of British Columbia and Alaska, as seen from the cruise ship and during the brief hours of shore leave that employees are granted. The ship is “the world in miniature” with just about every nationality present – just like in Canada, he exclaims. He has already learned from his Canadian colleagues of the multiculturalism that we are so proud of. For me too, it’s always been one of my main reasons for loving Canada.
A late night, yet again (I’m getting the feeling that I write that a lot!) and a hoped for early start tomorrow which, realistically, is not going to happen
Kasia – your loopy cyclist
- beautiful stork
- Sanja and her cat and guinea pig
- Sanja and I