Although in Romania, I constantly had to be on high alert for packs of wild dogs and dangerous drivers, the people more than made up for this.
Throughout Romania, especially in the smaller towns and villages, I found people to be the most open and inquisitive of all the countries I’d run through so far. They showed a genuine interest in why I was running, rather than just silently staring at me.
Romania was also the first country where I’ve been welcomed by a whole village. It felt like I was back on Dartmoor, it was a real farmers welcome! Coming on the tail of a non-existent Christmas and New Year’s Eve spent alone in a hostel, this was especially appreciated.
I turned up at the village just before dark and inquired about a meal in the local bar, they didn’t serve food and the nearest restaurant was 50km away!
However, even with serious language barriers they went out of their way to help. Next door to the restaurant was a shop, the landlord took me there, grabbed a whole loaf of bread, various different salad, salamis and cheese and asked the owner to prepare what turned out to be, the world’s largest toasted sandwich. This was perfect after camping and running in the Romanian winter all day! When I went to pay the lady explained the landlord owned both the pub and the shop and it was on the house!
I was relieved when one local, Daniel, turned up as he spoke near perfect English and he helped translate.
I rarely drink while on this run, but this night I indulged in a couple of beers with the friendly locals.
The landlord had said I could camp in the back yard, as when I showed them on the map where I was planning on camping that night, they all protested that it was far too dangerous with the wild dogs in that area!
Daniel invited me to stay with his family for the night, “We’ve been generous to you for the night and now we let you sleep in the cold in the tent? No, we must finish how we start, so tonight you are comfortable”, he said.
I slept very well that night and left with a spring in my step the next morning. Experiences like this really help to make things easier. My other option would have been lying awake all night in a tent, with a rumbling stomach and fighting off packs of wild dogs. Running 30 miles after no sleep and on an empty stomach is plain torture!