Thursday, September 11, 2008


Though it wasn't our last day it felt much like it. We needed to organise to get ourselves and bike back to Bucharest. It hit home just how difficult this could be.

The evening before the husband of our host had called the station in Suceava to ask about bikes on trains and was told that it wasn't possible as no trains had baggage wagons anymore. We didn't entirely believe this as it didn't correlate with what I'd heard from the central train agency in Bucharest when I phoned them. So we decided to go directly to the station of departure and find out ourselves.

We rode down the hill into to Moldova river valley, leaving the foot hills of the Carpathians behind into the busy city of Suceava. The impression wasn't so nice there with lots of traffic, here I tried not to think of Bucharest which would surely be worse. Suceava had been an early capital of the nascent Romania and the glorious painted Buchovine monasteries that we'd visited had been commissioned from here. We arrived at the main station to find interest in our trip by staff but no sympathy with our situation and certainly no answer to question about transporting the bike than that it wasn't possible. Trying not to be disheartened we went to the other train station in town, from which the train we wanted to take would leave. There we managed to talk with the 'chef de train' of another train to Bucharest. This was a good move, up to now we'd been talking to people who knew rules and had no power, now we'd found the 'king' of the domain in which we needed mercy. When we explained that we could reduce the size of the tandem by taking off the wheels, rack etc he proclaimed that so long as it was shorter than 2.10m and we paid for excess baggage (I'm sure he meant bribe but I didn't care) we'd be we purchased 1st class tickets on the sleeper train for the following night and then left town to Dragomirna monastery, luckily for us the road for which left from by the station.

On arrival it looked great. The monastery built in the 17C was surrounded by a 13 metre high stone wall with strong looking corner and gate towers. We'd hoped that we'd be able to stay in it but when asked were shown an unattractive guesthouse outside the walls. We did manage to get a meal in the monastery which allowed us to take a peak at the inside. When we'd come out from dinner it was raining. I spite of this we decided to camp and with the permission of one of the nuns we put up our tent by the walls of the monastery.

Distance 90 km
Time 5 hours & 12 minutes
GPS position N 47°45.721" E 26°13.775"

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