Friday, July 4, 2008

An Eastern Block Two Star Hotel

Day 32 Timiosara to Resita

After a delicious buffet breakfast in the hotel we set of out of Timiosara in a very well organized group ride. Duncan had about five riders in safety vests, who rode ahead and stopped traffic at some of the major intersections and at some of the round abouts. At the out skirts of town we were cut loose and off we went down an impossibly busy highway which had no shoulders. To say that it was nerve wracking is a total under statement. About 30 k down the road we came to the “It’s A Wonderful Life” café, but it was closed. I was ready for a break so I at my buffet apple. I don’t know what was worse the passing traffic or the on coming traffic. The on coming traffic doesn’t think twice about passing even when you are there. At one point a car passing a tractor came over so far that Bernard and Monique were forced off the road.

About 35 km down the road we turned off the main road and headed across country. There was no traffic but the pavement was so busted up that all the pot holes made my shoulders ache and my butt sore. The small towns were really dirt poor. The farms looked like subsistence farming. However I think that the people here have a good heart as they all wave and cheer as we ride past. As an example three of us were riding though the town of Vermes, which is just a small cluster of houses, and the man who operated the local gas station comes out and hands us each a bottle of ice cold mineral water. The temperature was 30+ C so this was a fabulous treat. We thanked him profusely and headed off down the road refreshed.

The country side alternated between deep hard wood forests and open farm land. Lunch was in one of these forests. It was a beautiful setting for lunch. After lunch I set off with Judy-Clare, Curt, and Jim in the lead. After about 5 km we hit the main road into Resita. However it wasn’t as busy as the road out of Timiosara. I was glad to see an end to the broken up pavement and be back on a good road. The road was along side this river which was very pretty and the shade from the over hanging canopy felt good.

Resita was a big steel center during the soviet era but now most of it is shut down. The town is recovering but progress is slow. There are lots of abandon buildings, factories, and soviet housing. The town square is the center piece of the town and a lot of money has been spent building it. It has a new shopping mall, an unbelievable fountain, which has several rotating spray heads, and the hotel Semenic where we are staying. The hotel Semenic is an old soviet hotel circa 1950. On the front door its two star rating is proudly displayed. The rooms are exactly as they were in 1950. The rotary style telephone, the army blanket on the bed, no hot water, no shower curtain, floor to ceiling folding wooden door to the 4 square foot balcony which didn’t close, all made this place a total time warp. I can just imagine it as being right out of a John La Carre spy novel. The hidden microphones, the passport check at the front desk, which we still had to do. It was an unbelievable experience. Supper in the hotel was a plate of tepid over cooked spaghetti with about a table spoonful of sauce, served with a salad of sliced onions in oil and vinegar. One word – Terrible. However they did have a band playing and the guy playing the trumpet was fabulous. Judy-Clare and Curt got up and danced, and everyone cheered.

Bad roads and bad traffic but great people made it a great 96 km day in the sun. Oh – I forgot to mention that the 2 hour afternoon nap didn’t hurt either.

So thank for visiting my blog and thanks forgot letting me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Happy trails



Roadkill a.k.a. Don said...

Bathroom looks better than some of the places we camped at in France.
It has a toilet seat!!! First class place to me.

Anonymous said...

Some would call a 1950's vintage hotel room "quaint". I expect 10 or 15 years ago, a trip through this part of Europe would have been quite a bit less comfortable.

Ken C.