This happened today (pops, with sound). Regular readers know this song has been inescapable during my years of travel. Day 3 of my return finds Rivers Cuomo and the boys opening a new chapter of blessed rains and pretensions references to Kilimanjaro, along with which I never fail to sing.


Brasov, Romania


Beer, Elevator that I was assured, unsolicited, is safe, it really is, it’s safe, and then the early morning view from this apartment.




More mixed and matches images from a couple of Romanian castles.


Price of a beer in a bar: US$1.60 got me 500ml of domestic strong dark ale, bottled

Song currently stuck in my head: Your Gold Teeth II (Steely Dan)

The matron of the house here in Brasov in which I’ve rented a room for a few days poured exactly the right amount of homemade ‘Romanian whiskey’ (rajika) to level me up into an ideal neurological range, euphoric enough to Bliss out in headphones and ignore how aggressively asinine Gavin Rossdale’s lyrics are; to fall back into the nostalgia of being too inexperienced to know whether I got burned on that ball of hash my friends and I bought at X-fest in ’93. Even live he was immediately unlikable. Distilled apple/pear/fig, perhaps some barrel aging, stored in and poured from a plastic water bottle along with a story of higher education, mechanical engineering and revolution induced joblessness, then an offer of some soup.

The psuedoephedrine doesn’t hurt. I’ve never had the psuedo stuff before; more nostalgia of the 90s when ephedrine wasn’t just available over the counter, it was tacitly recommended by its impulse placement, next to the roadies and needlessly ornate bics. I’m not one to wax poetic about glory days, but I feel like I’m on thick ice when I suggest that OTC trucker speed was better in the 90s.

My bag has slimmed down considerably, but I am carrying some low lying Bulgarian infection or Bulgaria derived condition and the psuedo is 1/4 of a stack of sprays, drips and pills the private hospital internist recommended. He said I might be straightened out in a few days, might hit Asian ground firing on all cylinders. Given what’s waiting for me, it might be healthier to arrive unhealthy; allow the malady induced humility, the heightened salience of mortality, to establish a pattern of restraint early on.

Oh well. ‘Buy the ticket’ and all.

I visited Peles Castle earlier today, a ‘must-see’ that’s been on my radar since well before we booked flights to this continent. It surpassed all expectation; so much so that I won’t bother to try to convey it.

I met a European Train Guy on the ride to Bucharest; these travelers are their own breed. This guy had a job as a railway traffic controller in Western Europe and a lot of opinions about each countries current investment (or lack thereof) in their rail lines, particularly the ongoing disappearance of night trains. It’s an interesting way to travel, though; he targeted train stations the way other tourists target towns; the routes were his attractions, his equivalent of ‘the local sites’, and he would just arrive at a station, consult his printed train guides and choose a route he wanted to see from among the practical options left at that station that day. It’s a spectator endeavor, to be sure, but those rides show you a huge amount of countryside and they’re far more interesting than the routes the highways take. I get it. He had particular routes he wanted to see and a lot of leeway in how to cover the miles and fill the time in between.

3 days until my flight to Asia.

Edit: Subsequent posts wrapped back in time and started being posted on Tuesdays beginning here.



These shots are mixed and matched from a couple of different castles.



Train from Sofia, Bulgaria to Russe, Bulgarian border town before crossing the Danube into Romania. Also, all of my possessions and a Romanian train station.

Price of a beer in a bar: I don’t know. I’ve been drinking rum.

Song currently stuck in my head: Destroyer (The Kinks), which is a mainstay for me in any country with cultural references to the cold war.

This wraps up the Tuesday posts for this round of travel. There’s one more Monday post from Romania (from back in early March) scheduled to go up and a few more weekday picture posts, but at this point in real time things have basically reached their conclusion. Plans at this point are unclear. If I end up anywhere interesting, you’ll be the first to know.