“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 6 May 2016

It's mating season!

last session in the hide - a tad chilly
Our last session in the bear hide and since Zoltan was off on a series of birding trips in Hungary for the next 2 months, we let him go home and get packed properly, leaving Keith and I safely positioned in the main hide on our own.
After a fleeting glimpse of a young bear around 6am, we saw absolutely nothing for 3 hours. With the last session disappearing rapidly and our list of bear-activities-yet-to-see still as long as ever, I started to lose a little hope.... not to mention warmth... my fingers were like ice.
Then all of a sudden Keith spotted a stray dog trotting through the forest towards the clearing. The dog was to kick-start a frantic 30 minutes which included almost everything still on the list! I have to say bears mating in the woods has to be THE funniest thing I have ever seen whilst sat in a hide. Soon afterwards, "Goliath" turned up and we thought that a fight might break out, but the younger male simply dashed off into the trees and left Goliath to the two females. Thankfully though he was more interested in food than he was sex... not sure I could have coped with any more; trying to stifle uncontrollable giggles and take pictures at the same time is not easy you know (but I've heard growing up is even harder).
leaving Nagy's for the last time
Zoltan returned around 10am to collect us and we trekked back down to the Desag to do all our packing - what with my Tartan Welly purchase, I had no room left for the unused nappies, so I slid the bag under the bed giggling to myself at what the hotel owner or cleaner might think of this strange English girl who possibly wets the bed.
My weeks bar bill came to €18 which was a pleasant surprise, so we left Zolly a tip and headed off for a last lunch at Nagy's on the way back to Bucharest, Bean goulash again, this time with floating smoked pig rind - euw!
Regional syrup-filled sponge cakes - very nice indeed
Back over the glorious Carpathian mountains and into the crawling traffic of Bucharest. A fairly tired and dilapidated city with poor roads, non-existent road signs and an over-abundance of pharmacies. We eventually found the hotel about 8pm in the commercial sector, and to be honest, it was nothing like we had imagined. What can I say.... they spent all their money on a very good marketeer perhaps?
The poor lad on reception, Mikail, was without a manager and it was his very first day on the job. The roof top terrace bar that I had been dreaming about all week and looked lovely on the website, has not been open for almost 2 years and to top it all.... the hotel DOES NOT SERVE BEER!!!! I was not a happy bunny. My wind-down weekend of blog-writing and image-sorting was in tatters and so we agreed to at least see the rooms first and make a decision as to whether or not we were staying.... well.... the "Suite" that I was in came straight out of MFI and looked to have been thrown together (some years ago) by one of Dominic Littlewood's subjects - broken furniture, ill-fitting windows, blinds that didn't shut.... However, it was late, we were tired, we were hungry and since I planned to sleep most of Saturday anyway, the speed of the wifi persuaded us to stay. Then Mikail innocently asked what time we would like our breakfast delivered,
The stunning Carpathians
"Delivered?!?!?" I asked... "what do you mean delivered?.... you mean you don't serve breakfast either???!!!" We had even paid extra to have breakfast included in our room rate.  Turns out they don't do breakfast at all.... a cleaner nips down to the corner shop in the morning, puts a bunch of ingredients into a plastic box and delivers it to your room at a pre-arranged time. I can't wait... breakfast in a "suite" stinking of open sewers every time you flush the loo - what more could a girl want? You had to laugh. So we did. Plenty.
We decided to pop out for beers and supplies at the corner shop and heat up something edible using our in-room microwaves, but after finding nothing in the local shops, we wandered further afield and found a lovely Moldavian restaurant and stuffed ourselves with beer and food in there instead. Sadly Bucharest has already made a lasting impression, for all the wrong reasons.

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