Eforie Nord to Constanta and Mamaia, Saturday 23rd June. 30km

The plan was to meet Norman at the Ibis by the old town of Constanta, do the photos by the sea and then take lunch before moving on ahead up the coast to Mamaia where my next bit of accommodation was waiting for me. Getting to the old town was another matter entirely. Although it was only 15km away, the wind was blowing very strongly from the north, right in my face again. I had to get over the Danube to Black sea canal and then through the old harbour. The canal was built to link the Black Sea port of Constanta with the Danube so that shipping could avoid navigating the shallow and sinuos mouths of the river at its Delta. Construction started in the early 1950s and served a secondary purpose of the repression of people considered hostile to the communist regime through forced labour. Most of the work was done simply with shovels and pickaxes. Thousand and thousands of people died in the dire conditions of the labour camps. Anne Applebaum in her book “Gulag” claimed that 200,000 people died during the construction of the canal through malnutrition and disease. The works were suspended in the mid 1950s and only restarted and completed in the 1970s under the monster known as Ceaucescu.

At the entrance to the port there was a sign which clearly meant no entry to unauthorised persons. The bored looking group 4 security guy simply waved his magnetic card to raise the barrier and waved me through. The port is huge and rather empty apart from the occasional truck. It felt rather wierd to be there as a cyclist – it was not designed with tiny cyclists in mind. The roads were pockmarked with huge potholes so I advanced rather gingerly through it. It was my last official day on the road and of course there would have to be some sort of excitement. Romania’s version of Cujo came running at me from a gate barking madly. He was easy to pass as I put the speed on. I thought I was home clear  and free. His barking had alerted every feral mutt in the area and soon I was being chased by the Romanian Cerberus his cohort of Romanian Baskervilles. Squirting water did not get them fall back and I started to look desperately for a stick along the way. They were gaining on me with no stick in sight and I was beginning to think how ironic it would be to fail to make it to the end of the trip on the last day because a pack of rabid dogs. All of a sudden I seemed to have crossed some magic line and they slowed down and stopped chasing me. Perhaps I had exited their territory. Relieved I was very.

Very soon I had met up with Norman and some nice people on the beach took our photos:

A day at the beach with bicycles and Norman.
4400km to perfect the homeless chic look.
Imagine meeting you here!

Job done.



A short lunch was followed by another short stretch up the coast to Mamaia. Along the beach there is a sort of boardwalk but I was not aware of it at the time and had to run the gauntlet of the 6 lane dual carriageway north out of town. This was along an isthmus of land flanked on each side by gaudy hotels and gaudier apartment blocks. It must have been beautiful once but the endemic corruption in the country has ended up destroying here. Everything is of course very cheap and if you are the type who likes beach holidays in Spain, you would get much better value here. In Mamaia I was billeted in a very new guesthouse double room with en suite bathroom with top notch finishing to all of the facilities for a very reasonable price.

That evening I had to get back into the old town to join the Young Team, Luca, Jozef and Norman for a dinner. We first tried a place in the main square but the staff did not seem at all interested to taking our order and it was rather noisy so we decamped to a more traditional place just off the square and were not dissappointed.  Excellent food, service and ambience. The in house musicians even played “Bella Ciao” for the Italian crew, and indeed the rest of us.




That is almost the end of the story but not quite. I have one last thing to take care of on this trip. Tune into the last episode of this blog shortly.

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