6th and 7th June
The stay here in Drobeta was planned to give time for the wheel to arrive and get it sorted out. Given it arrived before us, we were able to go to the bike shop first thing on Monday, it was in an out of the way place and we were beginning to wonder if we were looking in the right area when we noticed a bike on a post by a gateway.
The shop La Pedale Drobeta was set back off the road, but clearly it was well known as there was a steady flow of customers as we sat and waited for our tandem to be ready. We had the new wheel, but a new strong tyre needed to be ordered. It also had the chain and gears cleaned very thoroughly.
In the evening we met up with two of the cyclists we had talked to on the road the previous day. We sat at a bar in the town centre next to a park. As we chatted the fragrance of the Linden trees lining the road filled the warm evening air.
We then took a look at the fountains all lit up with colour changing lights.
Another feature in the town is an ornate water tower, also lit up at night.
It was whilst we were talking with our new Romanian friends that we were aware that in moving from Serbia to Romania we had crossed a time zone! Romania is Central European time, 2 hours ahead of BST.
Our cycling friends suggested visiting a monastery some 20k away at Schitu Topolnitei, so we took a ride there on the Tuesday.
At first the road to the monastery was on a busy road, but after about 8k we turned onto a pleasant country road that led gradually up a valley. Away from the main road it was very rural and attractive. Plenty of wild flowers on each side of the road; people working in fields, some with scythes; horse and carts being used.
Eventually, 12k along this road we found the monastery, nestled at the top of the valley.
There were 2 small churches, one constructed of wood, the other stone. The latter was painted on the outside.
Whilst we were sat admiring the painting and wondering which biblical stories were being depicted, a monk came out of the nearby home and unlocked the door for us. Inside, every wall was adorned in some way with colourful representations of biblical stories, saints, apostles and disciples. Really quite fantastic.
The wooden church, unfortunately, was locked.
We sat and ate our lunch and admired the view, with the sound of cow bells gently tinkling amongst the forested slopes in the distance.
Whilst we were there the people from the bike shop phoned and told us our new strong tyres had arrived; so on the way back we called in to La Pedale Drobetu to have them fitted.
We now have 1 new wheel and 2 new tyres, as well as a mini service being done. So hopefully we are now all set for the last part of the journey to Istanbul.
After we left the bike shop we contacted our new found Romanian friend, Dorian, to see if he knew anyone who might be able to get our solar charger powerpack working again. He came round later to our hotel with a friend and, over a shared coffee, found that the solar panels worked fine but the connecting lead had a poor connection. So off we went to this shop/electronics workshop and a new lead was constructed out of spares whilst we waited, so that our solar charger is now working. We offered to pay for the work but they wouldn’t accept anything for this.
Such kindness and generosity – the bike shop people, Dorian and his friends, the electronics shop… a lovely welcome from friends in Romania.
All set now to head for Bulgaria which might take 3 days on the road.