Through dreamy hills. Polovragi – Ramnicu Valcea – Pitesti: 150 km (total: 4.270 km)

Through dreamy hills. Polovragi – Ramnicu Valcea – Pitesti: 150 km (total: 4.270 km)

Chapter 30 on this walk so far continues The World Photo Tour story where I left off. And that is the hilly area bordering the mountains to the South. All along the way from Polovragi to Râmnicu Vâlcea and then Pitești, I had so many ‘one final glimpse at the mountains’, so many ‘one more goodbye’, for a while, that was.

The day Cezar left after his three days walk adventure, I found myself alone with my road again. The goal was to reach Horezu, Romania’s centre of traditional pottery. I wonțt go into all the details of the locals craftsmanship, you can find all about the local motifs in the link. Until then, the Romanian word of the day was ‘Stejar’. Literally translated means ‘oak’. But it’s actually, without doubt, the best beer in the world. For there is no ‘probably’ in there. Just pure sheer awesomeness of taste, one only a strong cold beer could provide. Nice story: it goes that the first time I was in Polovragi, at the age of 10 months, my parents were left with no water nor milk for me hiking the hills around. The only liquid thing they had left was beer. So they put the baby feeder lid thing usually used for milk on top of the beer bottle. Cheers for that I say, 26 years later! Time for a remake! :)

The following day I walked my way from Horezu to Râmnicu Vâlcea, where I met with another fellow friend that accompanied me the following two days, all the way to Pitești. It was all fun and joy then in the expectancy of that, even as three gypsies people ‘walked’ with me for about 4 km at one point, suspiciously curious about my camera and the content of my backpack. Starting to tell them about everything I carry and where do I carry it from ensured for a safe road though. :)

So, the night before I met with Ciprian Livadariu. And with Roxana Stanca and another friend of hers, friends of Cezar. :) So the story goes that as Ciprian was entering Râmnicu Vâlcea he was all prepared for the following walk, backpack and everything. And without knowing him, but seeing him by chance and expecting me, Roxana approached him and asked if he is Mihai. So the gang got together even before I was there. All good for me, as I don’t always follow the most polite ways of introducing people. With that out of the way, we sort ourselves for a fine dinner at one of the local restaurants. Me? After about 50 km of walking that day, I had the most outrageous outlaw plateau, a tray filled to the top with meats of all sorts, most of them fried. Went down like anything else. The waitress was rather shocked, I must say, as she warned me it’s a plate for two. I just warned her I am hungry. But the dessert I could not cope with in the end. So with our bellies filled we washed it down with beer and chats and later a well deserved sleep.

In the morning we got up pretty late, but we still wondered around a bit, taking some photos. It was after noon that we finally left the city for some rural more close to the roots landscape. And just out of the blue, about 15 km East of Râmnicu Vâlcea, as we crawled our way from well to spring on this beautiful but torrid September day, a car pulls beside us, braking to a stop in a cloud of dust. Now, when stuff like this happens, I don’t necessarily pay attention most of the times and just go along with my walk, admittedly bored by whatever happens on the road involving cars. But this time, as Ciprian stopped behind and I looked back, I was surprised to come to realize they stopped for us: Paul Canini and Vlad Apotroșoaiei. Both Geology students, brought out from Bucharest by some field work they had to do in the area; both friends of Cezar from whom they knew we just left Râmnicu Vâlcea; but both as surprised by actually seeing us on the road, on this dust bowl forgotten country-side road, in the middle of this little nowhere. I haven’t met them before but they knew about me and recognised the backpack from pictures on the website. :) Now isn’t that nice? A nice, warm, friendly hello, a nice chat and the promise of seeing each other again once in Bucharest. Plus a precious gift: Paul actually gave me his Victorinox rescue tool and a bottle of palinka. Hard to accept, hard to refuse. The bottle we shared later that night beside the tent, while the rescue tool gift I paid forward to Ciprian, as I already had one of my own.

The last day in the company of Ciprian we found our way to Pitești. Another hot day. No wonder towards the end we were both kind of wasted. There we met with Florin Cozma, and old friend from primary school. It’s actually there where I should resume and continue my walk from. For there we departed. Ciprian – to his home. Me – To Bucharest.

Now an exercise – suppose you are going to sleep and you are dreaming. And in that dream you have a regular normal day life, whatever your life might be full of – school or work or friends or travelling. And in that day in your dream you are then going to sleep and you are dreaming again about something else – may it be travelling or partying with friends or being with the one you love. Now suppose one of these two instances of you wakes up (may it be you or the dreaming you – whoever you’d prefer waking up). Isn’t it so that one of you is actually still dreaming then, for you only woke up once? May it be you or the dreaming you? And which one you’d rather be? I am close to coming full circle into something. And it’s not a dream. It’s my life and it’s real.

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