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    Archive for May, 2006

    Day 52 – Day 52 – Down the Bulgarian hill with 75 km/h…

    Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

    Tone of the day: Apocalypse Please – Muse (fantastic biking music in my ears when the sun is shining and the wheels purr).

    Reach a top speed at 75 km/h which is the fastest a bike underneath me has ever moved. Moreover I cycled the fastest 100 km in 4 hours, 5 minutes and 24 seconds. 125 km in exactly 5 hours. A lot – probably for most – meaningless numbers, but when you almost daily are in the saddle and look at the little bike computer and read its different numbers, then you (read: I) easily make small games and put up different goals (e.g. reach a certain city before a certain time, hit the first 50 km before noon, reach a certain average of the day etc.). They are, in addition to the more obvious motivations about a bike travel (like nature, the freedom, the unknown), helping keeping the motivation right where it’s supposed to be.

    We are biking fast in the kind of boring landscape today. The game of the day is therefore to get the average of the day elevate and during the day I see the possibility of reaching an average at 25 km/h, which I have never been near before. The music from Muse, Coldplay and Travis keeps the mood up in the red area and when I in the evening reach the place where Stefan and I pitch our camps the VDO bike computer says 25,02 km/h. However I have no intentions trying to repeat this for the present – the dear German was left behind continually ;-)

    The donkey here in Bulgaria has moved a place forward on the list of preferred draught animal compared to Rumania, where the horse without competition has got the first place.

    We have now pitched our camps right outside Novi Pazar next to an earthy driveway, which leads to some houses up the road. Totally perfect and short time ago we got permission from a fat man in his Dacia 1320 car.

    It is really nice that Stefan is so unhampered and cool when we are going to find a place for wild camping. He won’t let him knock out by the reason that the ground we are camping at is private! The rain starts falling as soon as we have put up our tents. Enjoy the dinner in each of our tents. Nice with some privacy and Kashmir accompany the delicious sandwiches.

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    Media page updated again!

    Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

    The media page is updated again with new articles. Check it out! :-)

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    Day 51 – Bucarest -> Ruse (wild camping)

    Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

    Tone of the day: Ophelia – Kashmir (were send back to Nørrebro today when I heard this lovely song from the always good Kashmir-boys… Ouch!)

    Hilke had again served up the big breakfast table for us, and Stefan cel Mare act the mocha master in the kitchen. Leaving the lovely family and just past midday we departure from Strada Sofia 6 and Bucharest. The weather is again perfect and we are heading against the Bulgarian border. The Danube river make up the natural boundary between Rumania and Bulgaria and across the river is a 4 km long so called “friendship bridge” even though the name sounds more like pro forma than real friendship. A pretty big moment for me to cross the border across the Danube. Had heard of a Bulgarian “ecological tax” at 10 euro which everybody is supposed to pay, but to us there was only laughter, smile, thumps-up, and a pair of gaping looks from the frontier guards when they heard about our long biking trip. They let us pass with a “gute Reise!” Yeehaa…

    Get the sun lotion and the dirt from the roads washed off my face and arms at a filling station which supply me with pure water in the drinking cans too.

    Stefan and I find a suitable place for wild camping on an earth road near the main road. Soon a farmer is driving at this (totally deserted we thought) road. I stop him and ask whether camping is okay. He shakes his head and says “Da-da” which means “Yes-yes”. One of the small fascinations by crossing the border to Bulgaria… A nod with the head means no and shaking the head means yes. Elevated spirits and we are pleased by the recognition of our shelter for the night – and by already having become acquainted with the Bulgarian reverse yes/no-gesture.

    Slowly I feel the confidence in my self in accordance with this outdoor life with camping etc is growing week by week – a very pleasant feeling.

    Stefan and I enjoy the first Bulgarian beer and name us self The Rockets of Varna (explanation is left out this time…)

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    Photos added to album!!

    Monday, May 29th, 2006

    Fianlly we have pictures in the photo-album now!
    Right now only the pictures from Poland are available, but soon the rest of the pictures will be added aswell.

    The pictures in the album are sorted so that the first picture is the newest and the last picture (on the last page) is the oldest.

    Enjoy! :-)

    Click here for Fotoalbum

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    Day 50 – Bucarest

    Monday, May 29th, 2006

    A relaxing day by myself today in one of the largest parks in the northern Bucharest. Sun and music – my eternal sources of energy are filling me up. Spending time “home” at Strada Sofia 6. Writing article for Metro in another park among eccentric pigeons and village fools. Internet visit and evening beer with Stefan whose stomach is okay again.

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    Day 49 – Bucarest

    Sunday, May 28th, 2006

    Crows in the trees and the paranoid dogs on the other side of the wall did all they could to wake me up early in the morning. Stefan has a bad stomach today and lies fallow most of the day.

    Hilke arranges a sumptuous breakfast to us including her husband Harald and the son Jonas. My cornflakes – long expected – is a hit even though the warm milk about room temperature made me recall the udder milk the other day in Fagaras. Pleasant time at the breakfast table. Jonas shows me with a clear pride his whole collection of Petzi-books (the German edition of Rasmus Klump).

    I am wild about getting out and experience Bucharest and spend most of the day nosing about with the Canon camera and the antennas out. See among others the House of Parliament which is the second biggest building in the world only surpassed by Pentagon. It is a crazy product of the former president Nicolae Ceauşescus’ megalomaniac thoughts. Monstrosity rules supreme. Generally Bucharest is a really nice city, but hard to characterize in these short paragraphs. Buildings become dilapidated everywhere, but the city is alive and behind this dilapidation you sense a sprouting spark, and the whim of fashion has found its niches in the city too. Gigantic boulevards, parks, and places dominate the expression of the city. See shot holes from the violent riots in 1989 which resulted in the fall of the Communism (i.e. Nicolae & Elena Ceauşescus). See the place where Ceauşescus in a last desperate try to pour oil on troubled waters filled the rabble with childish lies and false hopes of the future which even the children wouldn’t believe. Afterwards he and the wife ran away from the city in helicopter, but were soon caught and liquidated after a trial which many today finds hasty and unfair in spite of the palpable hate for the president and all his misdeeds. Bla-bla – the history is catching and it hits me that it is only 16-17 years ago since the history’s dark birds flew over the city… In the meantime I just ran around in Middelfart as a happy 13-year old teenager and played soccer and tennis…

    Going to Atheneum, the beautiful concert hall and cultured pearl of the city in the evening and listen to a concert in the genre “contemporary music” by the percussionist Robyn Schulkowski and the trumpet player Reinhold Fridrich. Really nice concert hall. Robyn was crazy and jumped around while she strikes. Now and then they seemed hopeless untalented. I don’t have knowledge of that genre, but had a lovely time in the soft seats. Swallow a pound of strawberry after the concert. Chat with Hilke at the terrace in the evening.

    Tone of the day: I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp

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    Day 48 – Snagov -> Bucarest

    Saturday, May 27th, 2006

    The toilets at Astoria’s camping area have become dilapidated and look like something which hasn’t been used for years… Spider’s web, used toilet paper in unhealthy colors, no electricity and without water… Hmm.

    Bikes today the last 45 km to Bucharest – in spite of yesterdays marathon distance the legs are fine. Am a little anxious to know how the security in the city is (you do hear a lot J) and do not feel like cruising too much around and show all the nice equipment. In the city Stefan has a contact address which we find and are welcomed by the Berlin-couple Hilke and Harald and their 7-year old son Jonas who is crazy about Rasmus Klump! They are both school teachers at the Goethe Institute in Bucharest. They have been here for 3 years and return to Berlin this summer. They live in the fashionable embassy district in the northern part of the city. We are offered accommodation in their apartment, but decide to put up the tents at the cement in front of the house, so we don’t interrupt their privacy too much. Super. Hilke offers cappuccino in the patio in the sun.

    Stefan and I go to the bike dealer Bebe to get Stefan’s rear wheel fixed. This Saturday there is busyness in the shop and I’m waiting more than 5 hours before everything is fixed and Stefan has got a new rear wheel, new spokes, a new chain and a wider smile! According to Bebe my creaking at the pedal arm is just due to “bad montage” as he said and tightened the bolt. Midnight sun at Piata Drobantilor.

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    Day 47 – Brasov -> Snagov

    Friday, May 26th, 2006

    Stefan couldn’t find his key for the big chain lock to his bike this morning when we were about to leave, so he got hold of a man in the street, who momentarily conjured up a hacksaw, which in 5 minutes had sawed through the lock. Food for thoughts. To me it meant waiting time with Kundera.

    Nice, nice day through the Prahova-valley. The climb to Predael is long, but not particular hard. Beautiful view to Mount Omul (2505 m) near Busteni. We leave the Transylvania and the Karpater-mountain range in good style. An insane car driver (for once a male one, cf. MetroXpress 26MAY06) is close to making a sandwich on me when he in a inattentive moment due to his cell phone is close to squeezing me between him and the row of parked cars along the side of the road. Sickness! I notice the trap in time and repay with yelling (have forgotten the language) and the dirty finger. Otherwise we are flying ahead today. Stefan Koch is a true rocket and behaves like he has eaten magic mushrooms for lunch. Over about 70 km we keep an average at 27-34 km/h at the flat distance after we have left the mountains behind. It is cool lying behind each others wheel and just go ahead.

    Near Snagov only 30 km outside Bucharest the capital (about 2 million inhabitants) we are turning off the main road to the Snagov Lake. We ask people about possibilities for spending the night/camping in their backyard, front yard, on the lawn between the road and their fence, but everybody wave us deprecating away to Astoria, a group of hotel buildings, where we by all accounts can put up our tents. But Stefan is totally kaputt and can hardly manage the last 8 km. I am totally exhausted too and the trip meter says 168,45 km which is the longest any of us has ever ridden on a bike in one day. Difficult to enjoy in the situation. The pasta and the vegetable sauce, the bread, and the Timisoana-hop are so well-earned tonight. 168 km… I must immediately get the yellow jersey!

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    Day 46 – Bran Castle

    Thursday, May 25th, 2006

    With respect to tourism the myth, the story, and the legend are without doubt the thing which attracts most foreigners and by it account for a invaluable source of income for Romania and the region of Transylvania in particular in which I’ve been during the latest weeks. Bran Castle which is called Dracula Castle in talk of the town lies 30 km south of Brasov. It isn’t at all build by Vlad Tepes who is connected to Dracula himself. The castle was build long before his time in 1382 by the Saxons to defend the mountain pass near Bran against the invading Turks. Well, who care about historically trifles in a time where the yesterday’s milk already is too old. (It is rumoured that Vlad Tepes, the princes of the 15th century in the southern region of the present Romania, maybe spend the night at the castle in his escape from the Turks in 1462).

    Took the bus from Brasov to the village of Bran (60 min., 5 DKK oneway). The castle is impressive and is much better, more beautiful and lest visited than I expected. Drizzle and low-hanging clouds near the top of the hill (60 m) where the castle itself stands might explain the relative few visitors and is simultaneously making the experience a bit spookier. A gigantic castle (probably 56 rooms) with antique furniture, spire, patio, slim passages, and view; everything wrapped in a mysterious pupa. Outside the castle the tourist booths is abound with Dracula-kitsch.

    Gets fantastic, touching words from my nice childhood friend from Middelfart who has been down on his knees in the backyard in Amager… Got so happy and the shivering took long before they disappeared…

    Having comfort in the evening at the hotel while writing dairy, chat with the young people in the kitchen and an early exit Fjumse.

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    Media page updated

    Thursday, May 25th, 2006

    The media page is updated with a scan of a article appearing in a Polish newspaper about the worldtravellers.dk expedition. The article is in Polish so if someone can read it please give us a couple of pointers about the content :-)

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    Seeking fiery soul!

    Thursday, May 25th, 2006

    When we decided to run our site in two languages – Danish and English – we were aware that it would demand an extra effort but maybe not how big an effort..

    That’s why we are trying now – with a smile and without much hope – to ask if there is a fiery soul sitting out there who would think it would be fun to translate exciting travel diary texts from Danish into English once in a while?

    We cannot offer much in exchange except our outmost gratitude and we are sure that our international visitors would be just as grateful!

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    Day 45 – Brasov

    Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

    The hotel is working irreproachable. Rooms with 6 beds and flexible breakfast from 7-12 am. Laundry is done. Morning chat on the kitchen terrace with the nice young couple Matt and Chelsea from Virginia. The sun is aggressive.

    Is cruising around in Brasov’s beautiful, slim, touristly streets. One of the slimmest streets in Europe is in the city and it is only about 111-135 cm wide and 80 m long. Lapping water from the fountain on the central place non-stop today (feels like that). Thoroughly a magnificent city. Writing articles and meets with Stefan afterwards and together we take a cable car to Mount Tampa (960 m) and have a sovereign view of the tile roofs of the city, surrounding range of hills and the flat plain to the north west where we came from. Chat and sun at the mountain top.

    In the evening while Stefan and the American couple are at internet café I get a couple of beers in the street with hundreds of Romanians who have come to the central place to listen to rock music in rumanian on the occasion of the championship to the team handball girls of the city. The music is mediocre and it all ends with a impressive display of fireworks which match haven’t been seen since Frodo and his friend left Hobbit Country in Lord of the Rings.

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    Day 44 – Fagaras -> Brasov

    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

    I feel like I am repeating myself… but this was another beautiful, beautiful morning. The sun lay big and bright on the horizon when I awoke. The night took care of the cloud covering over the Faragas Mountains, exposing the sharp white peaks behind our camp. Pure luxury, but nature calls just before our morning coffee. Stefan is a real breakfast man, so we enjoy a long meal of honey (from the dear bee keeper guy, up in the Marmures), marmalade, cheese, tea, coffee and bread. A fine freshly baked loaf costs between 1,40DKK and 2,50DKK here in Romania. Most nutrition experts might think we are eating too much bread these days…
    We are soon visited upon by a farmer and (I assume) his grandchild. They come riding on horseback, towing behind them 3-4 cows and a wooden wagon. The farmer offers fresh cow’s milk for Stefan’s cup. A look of horror comes across Stefan’s face, as his fear of a bad stomach rises to a head. (The body language of fear is just as univeral as that of love). He grabs theatrically at his stomach and groans an apologetic “No, thank you”. I double over in laughter, and ignore Stefan’s dodging the nice farmer’s offer of milk. “Go for it, Stefan!” Stefan and I bust our sides laughing after the farmer and the boy have massaged the enormous udder and offered us the cup with the very warm, and frothy milk – which the both of us (admittedly!) fear a little. It has been a top priority of mine, my whole life, that the milk on my morning cornflakes be refridgerator cold -COLD- and now, here I am in the middle of Romania with a cup of (I feel) steamy cowsmilk with a fat percentage on par with that of cream. I supress my gag reflex and find that the milk really isn’t all that bad, aside from the heavy cream taste. A golden experience!

    Fantastic day with the Mountains to the south. Stefan and I raise our fists in triumph and let loose some primal screams à la YEEHAA! out into the empty mountain air. We have a cheese sandwich break at a pass nearly halfway to Brasov. Got way too much sun on my back today, and am a bit stressed, hungry and sweaty on arrival at Brasov.
    In Brasov (pop.308,000) the sun is beaming and the temperature is around 28 degrees. The camping site is 10km southh of the city, so we check in to Kismet Dao Hostel (10EURO per man, per night, including breakfast, free clothes wash, 1 beer and a view from a balcony) a little south of the city center. Many young Brits and Americans at the hostel. Very well organised hostel, reminding me of some of the Australian Hostels my good friend Thomas (http://thomasfrank.dk) and I stayed at in 1996.

    Stefan and I go down to an Irish Pub, where we have a fine night of pints and karaoke ad libitum…

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    Day 43 – Sibiu -> Fagaras

    Monday, May 22nd, 2006

    With the strong sun on our bare backs, it was a fantastic, postive and uplifting day in the saddle alongside Stefan the German.
    We rode along the Olt River most of the day, enjoying pretty views of the Faragas Mountains towards the South. Feel great having met Stefan, a social pedagog (1976) from Cologne/Berlin. Naturally enough, there are many more smiles about now, compared to travelling alone. (It would be crazy if it were otherwise, wouldn’t it?). Our daily rhythmns (wake up calls, lunch break rituals, etc.) are quite similar, so we get on well together.
    We had a late afternoon break near Faragas Castle, and continued East out side the city, and found a nice little spot for setting up camp.
    On the “plus” side, I tally up the flowing river, the billowing green fields, the cold Romanian beer, the hot pasta and the expenses (0,-). On the “minus” side; the night traffic- only 50 meters from our camp, and when we arrived at dusk- the mosquitoes awoke from their day slumber and migrated over to me. Stefan had smeared himself in with Autan mosquito balsam. Bloody irritating German!;)
    Nearly 300g pasta, a half liter coffee, a liter of beer, and a lot of talking in the dark made the night unforgettable. Great to be back on the Wild Camping track again.
    Five mosquitoes, who had optimistically taken residence in the tent around midnight, lost their lives tragically- after my arrival.

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    Day 42 – Sibiu

    Sunday, May 21st, 2006

    Hmm… the students I was out with last night told me that in the area around Brasov, which I thought would be my next destination, there have been many instances of the monsterous H5N1 virus, and the fever about the bird-flu is raging. They didn’t think I could cycle there via Fargaras, as it should be closed for through-traffic. Bummer. I would like to have all this confirmed today, before I start off tomorrow- Monday.
    And- yes, there you go… “Romania’s veterinary chief and his deputy have been dismissed for reported poor handling of a bird flu crisis that is spreading in the country’s eastern regions.” Read more here and here.

    It seems as though I might be able to travel from Sibiu to Brasov via Fagaras, if I let the authorities dump disinfectants all over me. An unexpected turn in the WT-adventure storyline!

    Chilled all Sunday by visiting the local Zoo. One of the more obscure highlights was the masturbating Brown Bear. Quite the dirty guy, standing there on all fours, pleasuring himself by humping all sorts of things -as if he wasn’t in a public space. Respectless!
    Also visited the Romanian equivalent of the Danish Frilandsmuseum, close by to where I made camp. Over a huge green area they have reconstructed buildings, wind – and watermills, wood churches, and farms etc. in the many various architectural styles found in Romania. The reconstructions are “true” copies of the originals, as they have documented with photos on the information signs around the site. Very nice – although I always have a bit of a problem with such reconstruction-hype. Aside from the handsome surroundings, I will probably best remember the waffle-coned ice cream during my visit to Astra Park, south of Sibiu.
    Summer is returning. 22 degrees, and a lot of sun. Lovely.

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    Day 41 – Sibiu

    Saturday, May 20th, 2006

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    Day 40 – Sighisoara -> Sibiu

    Friday, May 19th, 2006

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    Day 39 – Sighisoara

    Thursday, May 18th, 2006

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    Day 38 – Sighisoara

    Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

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    Day 37 – Sighisoara

    Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

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    Day 36 – Herina -> Sighisoara

    Monday, May 15th, 2006

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    Site back up

    Monday, May 15th, 2006

    After some hosting problems the site is back up again – fortunately without any loss of data! Puh!
    We apologize the long weekend without www.worldtravellers.dk :-)

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    Day 35 – Sacel -> Herina (wild camping)

    Sunday, May 14th, 2006

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    Day 34 – Vadu Izei -> Sacel

    Saturday, May 13th, 2006

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    Day 33 – Vadu Izei -> Sighet -> Sapinta -> Vadu

    Friday, May 12th, 2006

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    Day 32 – Firiza -> Vadu Izei

    Thursday, May 11th, 2006

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    Day 31 – Satu Mare -> Firiza (near Baia Mare)

    Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

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    Day 30 – Nyiregyhaza -> Satu Mare (RO)

    Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

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    Day 29 – Nyiregyhaza

    Monday, May 8th, 2006

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    Day 28 – Kosice -> Nyiregyhaza

    Sunday, May 7th, 2006

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    Day 27 – Levoca to Kosice

    Saturday, May 6th, 2006

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    Day 26 – Zakopane to Levoca

    Friday, May 5th, 2006

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    Day 25 – Zakopane and Lake Morskie

    Thursday, May 4th, 2006

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    Day 24 – Cracow -> Zakopane

    Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

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    Day 23 – Auschwitz

    Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

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    Day 22 – Cracow

    Monday, May 1st, 2006

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