Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dogs, mountains and deep heat

Please keep in mind when reading this blog, that on more than one occassion we witnessed small packs of dogs hunting moving cars. Often unsuccessfully attempting to bring the vehicle down by snaping at its tyres. The dogs have some fight in Romania.

Almost every day in Romania we were on the look out for dogs, unlike other countries with wild/stray dogs we noticed instantly the Romainian dogs were big, mostly healthy and ready to attack.  They would hide in the grass until we were just riding past before lunging out.  They would work in packs, with one dog circling from behind and his mate waiting ahead behind a tree.  Or just standing in the middle of the road putting on a show as soon as we were spotted.  Or the play dead trick managed to trick us! We tried to cross a road and get into a pension one afternoon and we had at least 8 dogs in full attack coming down the street towards us.

We found ourselves exhausted, flopping into the tent or dirty pension bed every day from the extra adreniline they would purge from us.  Early on we realised we had to have a counter-attack plan so we could make it through Romania rabies-free. 

What began as a conversation with tears in our eyes and belly laughter ended up being our saver every day several times over....

Curtis: ok you should ride in front
Cara: yep and I will look out for the dogs and Ill yell out to you - one dog/nine o'clock ect?
Curtis: ok and then we just stop the bikes if they come to attack and we get on one side of the bike and then just walk past them and Ill get the stick out and wave it around.  
Cara: ok, but if we're on a downhill we ride fast.  I might have some rocks handy too.
Curtis: ah these old salty sea dogs won't stop us.
Cara: we should call them old salty sea dogs.
Curtis: no we should call them salty barnicles.
Cara: yeah and we should call out if we think they are nasty or not?
Curtis: Salty barnicals if they are nasty? and then just barnicles if they look ok?
Cara: what if its an old dog?
Curtis: hmm Ol' Salts?
Cara: no we should call the old ones Ol' Silver Salties?

*at this stage we were in histerics and weren't sure what the hell we were calling anything!

Skip ahead to our first wild romanian dog experience;

Curtis: what happened to our plan?

We got the hang of it though and soon enough as we winded through the rugged countryside, between valleys and mountain roads lined with pine trees I would shout out to Curtis - we got two barnicles and an ol silver salty up ahead approx 200mts on the left!

Apart from the dogs, these early days in Romainia were outrageous as we were greeted by people with warmth and kindness.  Offering's of food or just a big toothless grin made us feel welcomed and reminded us how little we need to live.  Meanwhile the sun gave us a good bashing.

In Brisbane the extent of our riding was to work and back if the sun was shining, and when Curtis suggested cycling across Europe I rolled (literally) around with laughter.  We were unfit, unhealthy and doing pretty good impression's of the mitchelin man.  But here we were, the mountains approaching and thanks to our good mate bluey our mantra for tough days was being thrown all over the place with either of us shouting out "chase the pain" or another favourite from Cara (insert terrible american accent) "we've been training all summer for this boy!". 

having a bite to eat and still being harrassed by dogs - this dog actually climbed into the resturant after this shot

delish half liter soda waters with fresh lemon - approx $1.50

stopping for a top up on water - this is maybe my favourite shot of my bike

you can't see the dogs ahead but these guys meant business so we jumped off the bikes early to call their bluff - they lunged a few times but our own bark and stick waving put them off.

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