Day24: 25 km north of the Romanian border, UA to Radauti, Romania: Back injury leads to short day

I had a good night in the woods and an OK start to the day. When I got out of the woods - not an easy thing to do and, perhaps, the source of my later problem - and headed on up the hill, I discovered that I had, as I hoped, climbed most of the way to the top of the third ridge. Moreover, there was a service station at the top and they had good coffee and a restroom with paper towels so I could wash up a bit. Nice!

After the service station, there was only minor, compared to the earlier big climbs, climbing and a good bit of long downhills, I stopped several times after that and at the stop where there was good minimarket, I got Nutella - my Polish jar is nearly gone - kefir (yogurt drink), bread, and bananas. I snacked in front of the store and when I got up, my back was hurting. It got worse as I rode and spread from the left side to both sides.

Village in Ukraine, near Romaina

Road after climbing over ridges

When I got to the border - easiest Ukraine border crossing yet - It was painful to stand over my bike or walk. The Romainian roads, some of which have been in my worst roads ever category - were a big improvement over Ukraine roads and that made it easier to ride with the sore back.

Truck waiting at Ukraine border in Romania

I stopped in the first town over the border and tried to use a bankomat to get some Romanian money. It couldn't connect. I looked around town - steep streets - for money changers, but found none other than the banks. It was Saturday and all the banks were closed. So, painfully, I headed out of town down E85 - D2 in Romania. It wasn't down at all for the first km or so. It was a steep climb on a concrete slab roadway ;-{. Still, by Ukraine standards, it was a good road! Fortunately, after that climb, the road reverted to normal pavement and the riding wasn't bad.

Mountains west of D2

D2 heading south

I had though it was about 30 km to the next city on D2 but when I looked for places to eat and places to stay using my GPS, I found it was 37 km more to anything on D2. There were a bunch of places to eat and stay about 12 km away in Radauti, so I headed over there on a smaller road at the top of the next big climb. There were three advantages to going to Radauti. First, it was one third the distance. Second, it, initially turned a side/head wind into a side/tail wind. Finally, it was towards the mountains and it looked pretty over that way.

Road to to Radauti

It was a prettier ride and, when I actually got into the centrum of Radauti it was, as I expected, quite nice. The fact that a small town had all those services, including two big **** hotels, implied that it was a tourist town. That meant pretty.

By the time I got here, my back made it impossible to walk or stand without grimacing. I tried two more bankomats and got the same error message, so, with lots of grimaces, I hunted for money exchange places. I found one and converted $200 to just over 700 ROM. I worried that the grunts and grimaces I was making while standing, waiting to get my money converted would scare/worry the women doing the conversion. Apparently not :-}

Then I went looking for a place to eat. It took a longer time, and more grimaces, than I expected, but I found a nice restaurant which would let me bring my bike in and where the waitress had enough English to be able to help me construct a good meal. While I was drinking my first beer and waiting for my food, I noticed they had wifi. Just as I, with many grimaces, had gotten my computer off the bike and cranked it up back at the table, my waitress arrived with my food and the password for the wireless. I ordered a second beer, had a very good meal for about $10, answered an important email, and uploaded the web page stuff I created in my tent last night.

When I first sat down at the restaurant, my back spasmed a bit - ouch! - but I eventually was able to get comfortable. I used google maps and my GPS to look for places to stay and, after finished my work and my meal and getting sober, I started checking those places out on my bike. It took several tries - I wasn't going for a **** hotel - to find the Blumen, a nice pension with bar and restaurant, where I am staying tonight. Depending on my back, I may be here more than one day. At 25 E without breakfast, it is about the same cost as the places I stayed in Ukraine. The ROM, at 3.5 to the dollar, is a little weaker than the Zloty, but close enough to make it easy for me to deal with.

After I got my room and cleaned up, I tried the bed. It is a good bed but I can't stretch out on my back because it is too painful. I usually sleep on my side and that was better, so, with the help of some painkiller, I hope to get a good nights sleep. I can, comfortably, sit up in bed against a pillow, which is how, and why, I'm typing this now.

I've been listening to chanting from a monastery near - <100 M away - - my pension and they have been chanting for several hours. So I did a little research and found out that Radauti has a lot of history and that that monastery in the oldest Romanian Orthodox monastery. I also found out that a building I saw part of when walking around the monastery was a Jewish Temple. I may need a rest day tomorrow for my back, but know I know I can use it for some bike work, and for some Radauti tourism.