Trip Start Jul 2008
Trip End Dec 2008

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Flag of Romania  , Transylvania,
Friday, September 19, 2008


We have tried everything. Larger highways hoping for wider shoulders, smaller highways hoping for less truck traffic, unnamed country roads that will loosen your fillings (but may save your life). But we can't seem to get a break (or a BRAKE) from the truck traffic here.

Actually, traffic in general is MUCH worse in Romania than just about anywhere else we have been. Even the small cities are clogged with fumy traffic jams. Not only is the truck volume staggering, but the number of personal vehicles is surprising. Interestingly, the latter seem somewhat even split between ancients beaters and luxury cars.

Even personal vehicles are pretty aggro, a notch above the usual European maniac. One guy we met put it this way: "We only know how to go. Slowing down is just not an option."

What really bums me out (besides waiting to die each time a truck passes within inches) is that we have been on two different highways that are being repaved (with EU support)....but without any sort of shoulder, meaning that all other users must share the 10 foot space with heavy traffic, only the improved surface allows traffic to barrel along at even higher speeds.

Now, I recognize that I chose to come here and ride a bicycle. So if I get run into the ditch by a large red dump truck, I guess I sorta chose that too. And I am genuinely glad we chose to come here. Romanians are WONDERFUL people: open, engaing, warm, waving, smiling, helpful, curious, accommodating. But many Romania people have few choices....Romania is still a struggling economy, rural villages are far apart, bus service is poor, and gas costs about twice what it does in the US. Yet the transportation dollars are spent on commerce and the driving elite.

It's an unfortunate disservice to settle for pavement improvements when what this country needs is transportation improvements.

Hmmmmmm, that sounds like a refrain from a previous life......
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