Operation Steppenwolf: Part Six


It was around 11AM when I was back in the city center of Galati and ready to head North. For the first time in my trip I did not have a clear goal set in mind where I would like to be in the evening - I could be here, I could be there, the main thing was to enter Moldova and pass the city of Cahul. To do that I just had to cycle, nothing more, nothing less.

There weren&39;t any real events happening on this day - just a few pleasant conversations with Romanians who stopped me on my track. I can&39;t say that I understood much of what they said as it seems the only foreign language they tend to speak is Italian - and I don&39;t understand it much better than Romanian. But I like friendly people, even if they speak a different language. From one conversation I was able to understand that the old man was telling me to rest enough and to drink much water to which I replied with the universal language of signs. And at the end of the conversation he shook my hand for a long time, trying to remember how to say "Good luck!" in English. And it was clearly noticeable that Romanians are very open people who like talking to travelers (much more than I had witnessed it in Ukraine), probably because they don&39;t see that many of those around the parts which I visited.

At some point in the day I came to the idea that I should try to push as hard as I can and make it to Tiraspol in two days instead of planned three. I wasn&39;t sure that my planned host in Transnistria would be able to host me a day early, but I was also willing to spend a night in the tent in such a case. But this intention of cycling more had a tendency to become more intensive when I was cycling downhill and significantly less important when facing long uphill stretches, along some of which I had to push the bicycle, as it was too difficult to cycle.

The day went by just like any previous day - with some cycling, with some long periods of rests on the side of the road, and with each next stop I was realizing more and more that it didn&39;t really matter how far I would travel, because the most significant part of the travel was going on in my head and not under my feet. I don&39;t really like sounding like this but this was the day when I felt most clearly how my troubles, my insecurity about the world and my stored anger were starting to slip away, I was letting go, and I felt great about it. I had switched into the mood of "I feel free" and I didn&39;t want to change the mode ever again.

In the last village before the Romanian-Moldovian border I had lunch or something similar to it, spending some of the Romanian cash with which I had happened to equip myself extensively. It also happened to rain while I was eating (something that repeated again and again during my trip), thus I was in no particular hurry to move on. Finally I had to leave this country which left on me a much better impression than it usually is advertised.

Although my map printout said that I should visit the city of Cahul, I was not really interested to see it (not that there&39;s much to see there anyway), so I preferred to cycle around the city instead of entering it. This may have not been a very wise decision, as only in cities it is possible to find an ATM and you can&39;t pay with a card in countryside shops in this region, but I just didn&39;t feel like going to the city, so I did not.

Initially I had planned to spend this night in Cahul, as I had found a couchsurfing host there, but this host hadn&39;t given me any contact information and had stopped replying to my letters, and I didn&39;t want to bother looking for a different host, thus I was ready to camp wherever I found find it fit. I wanted to cycle a bit further than Cahul in any case, to make the next few days less intensive, but it was not that much neccessary anyway. At one point in the afternoon I decided that it was a stupid idea to try and cover a three day distance over two days and that I should stop cycling for now. It was still very early - just around 6 PM, but I felt tired and I didn&39;t want to cycle any more, thus I stopped and made camp. And why shouldn&39;t I? This trip was not supposed to be a race against time, it was meant for me to free my mind, and with such goals going to bed a seven worked pretty well. So I did, and therefore it was no problem to get up at five the next morning.