On day 5 I was supposed to ride to Chisinau in Moldavia where I was supposed to meet a friend from Ukraine. Somehow we thought we might meet in Chisinau, have some chats and a nice dinner………but it ended completely different:
First of all I started my trip on the highway towards the Romanian/Moldavian boarder, after having a nice sleep. The night before was fun with Maria, Andrei, Irina and the team of Maria. I am sure, every single person would have tell an immense sort of different interesting, funny, scaring stories abut their trips. Sometimes it is just sad, that the time in common is rushing through. I hope to meet you guys in a sooner future again. I will have to ride anyway some more places since my this times ride has a completely different and “rushing-through” character. Well, at least it was planned like that…..
Back ot the trip of day 5:
In the morning I made a short but nice ride through Bukarest. In the early mornings the traffic in the bigger cities is not that bad. So I could make some nice pictures of my Indian motorcycle with some building in the background! *lol*
……….But this “some building” is the huge palace of parliament in Bukarest. It is really impressive! But I am happy that I do not own it: imagine for example the cleaning-staff you would need just to keep the house in a clean shape! Mission impossible! Especially in Bukarest. At least the hotels I was staying in, were not really clean – but maybe it’s because they were cleaning the palace? 😉
I left the city of Bukarest, took the highway for a while, until I had to leave it for heading towards the Moldovian boarder. While I was enjoying riding, I noticed a long line of cars & trucks waiting for a crossing train. In my homecountry those crossing-areas are normally very well organized and you do not really have to wait for a long time (but we locals think that we are waiting all the time for too long! ), since the trains are on time. But here, you just wait & wait & wait.
I decided to overtake the line and to ride directly to the barrier of the railroad crossing. But there was already another bike, and bikes you do not see very often in Romania, except on the touristy places like Transalpina & Transfaragasan. Anyway: since we all had to wait here, I decided to ask the biker in front of me, if he speaks English. Yes, he did. I met Alin and his wife, heading to their new bike-club in Slobozia. After having a short chat he invited me for a coffee in their new club. I couldn’t resist and agreed.
After arriving there he made some calls, offered me a coffee and showed me the club they finished just the day before and suddenly there was a whole group of bikers in the club who wanted to say hello to the Swiss biker. Wow! I didn’t expect that here.
Thank you Alin and friends for your hospitality!
Now it was time to leave towards Galati and the Moldovian boarder.
I arrived in a city called Galati. Here they have the most pumpy roads I have ever seen. Riding here can become quite a challenge. Even with my Indian Roadmaster I prefer to ride gravelroads than to ride on this catastrophic sort of pavement & tar.
Finally I arrived at the Romanian boarder where I started to talk to the young Austrian guys Jakob & Josef, who were on there bycicles. Respect. We had to wait, and wait, and wait. We did not really know what was going on but the fact, that one of those guys knew to speak Russian we got finally the information, that we may have to wait and wait.
But after waiting for quite a while and while they were checking our passports and idendity-cards again for a while and after studying my Indian Roadmaster separatly we were allowed to pass……to the next gate.
On this gate, where we had no idea, why it was closed and what exactly we are doing here, we made some pictures of us that we could use for my blog and our facebook-accounts but suddenly a moldovian boarder-official was standing next to me and told me to delete those pictures. I was not allowed to take any pictures. I had to delete them. No idea really why.
Suddenly we were allowed to pass. As I was used to I read where I would have to ride through, watched out for other boarder-officials, didn’t see any, so was riding up the hill and waiting for Jakob & Josef, since we wanted to make a picture of us. We really had some great pictures. Had. Another boarder-official came to us and told me to go back and to finish the paper-work…..and I had to delete the pictures again. It was really a strange feeling for me since as a Swiss I am not used to any restrictions like that but for sure I accepted without any comments.
Jakob & Josef could pass without this paper-work and I had to….guess what….wait again. Finally I got a friendly Moldovian boarder-official. Good to know that there are friendly people too! 😉
Now I had to realize that I made a mistake! I did not really check my insurance-policy. I know my motorcycles insurance is valid internationally, but the official showed me on the green insurance card, that my mike does not have an insurance for Moldovia. I called my insurance company in Switzerland. They were overwhelmed too with my questions but finally called me back – after giving me first a wrong information – that my insurance is valid for the whole world, except 9 countries worldwide. One of those countries is Moldovia. The boarder-official offered me an insurance there for about €uro 5 but now I was too unsure and I felt that the risk to ride this country with an insurance I am not really sure what’s covered and what’s not is too high. So I turned back towards the pumpy roads of Galati.
Now I needed to inform my Ukranian friend that I wont make it to Chisinau. The moldovian communication system seems not to work very well. My mobile did not work there an my Ukranian friend did not get any Internet-access in Chisinau so we had troubles to reach eachother. After a while my friend called me, I explained the situation and we decided that my friend will take the taxi to the boarder, since the prices there are cheap for a ride of this distance.
My friend wanted to quickly pass the boarder and had to wait, and wait, and wait……But finally we met. Both completely tired. But we were starving too. So we went to a restaurant, ate some salad and almost fell asleep while our discussion. We both had a long day behind us.
The next day, we had to check, how my friend could go back to Ukraine. Searching a solution i discovered a helpful app called “rome2rio”. It showed us the busses and trains that were heading towards Ukraine. It would have taken about 15 hours for that journey back. To cross Moldovia is still a challenge!
We decided to ride to Bukarest with my Indian motorcycle and to get a flight for my friend. But we needed a helmet! I started to ask in my facebook- and whatsapp-groups.
Alin from the motorbike-club Vlah Spirit, where I was invited yesterday, tried to help me and started a search in their network. My friend discovered another bike club in Galati. It was a club of a local MC but unfortunately nobody was there, so I asked local people there, where I could buy a helmet on a sunday. They either couldn’t help or sent me to shops where there was nothing to find. After given up I saw another biker passing by and I made him understand to stop. I met Edi from Galati and his well-painted bike, imported from the US.
After a short chat, Edi was willing to help me and guided me through the town to a place I would never have been able to find and we finally got a helmet. Thank you very much Edi for your help!
To be a biker is really something special! You just get help like you would have been friends for your whole live already. I was deeply impressed and I am very greatful!
Rushing back to the hotel, pack the bike, rush as legal as posssible towards Bukarest, go the ticketing office and get the information:” Sorry! You cannot buy a ticket for that plane. You are 2 minutes too late!”. There was absolutely no way to please them to help us.
My friend had to cancel meetings for the next day and to stay one more night in Bukarest.
Let’s find a hotel. This meeting in Chisinau that ended in the bumpy streets of Galati was a real adventure. It’s enough for today!……….well, that was what we were hoping! 😉
I am a club-member of Accor-hotels. So I checked their site, got an address of a Pullman-Hotel, went there and almost got a room. Almost.
I am using debit cards here since I do want to have control over my expenses but now I did not have this extra-hotel-night in my budget and there was no more money on my card. I explained the situation but we did not get a room. You either can make a guarantee or pay or you do not get a room!
Ok. We decided to go to another hotel and have chosed an Ibis. They at least understood the situation and let us check-in and were understanding that I could not upload my card on a sunday.
Flying to the moon is possible for human beeings. Crossing the boarder, booking a flight or getting a hotelroom is much more challenging! 😉
What will I get on day 7?