The Importance of Elsewhere (Demo)

By Douglas Williams, Publisher

So that was the summer that was. We’re slowly trying to return to our routines and it ain’t easy. I really like the way Romania is basically “inchis” over the summer but it sure is tough reverting to normal life afterwards. And anticipating teacher’s questions/assignments, here’s a brief rundown of my summer, spent mostly with girlfriend and daughters…

We drove to Greece, yes Halkidiki of course, but via Sofia, Bulgaria’s charming capital. And what a difference a proper parking system makes to a city. In Sofia it’s essentially an app, a small army of parking monitors combined with the threat of clampings. Other simple, inexpensive things like a pedestrian system make a massive difference too. Sofia’s central street is cobbled and pedestrianised and it’s packed with bars and restaurants, lots of people, eating, drinking and being merry. We saw a team going round sorting out the cobbles – three guys, a bag of sand and a couple of lump hammers. How Centrul Veche would benefit from a bit of that. Da dah! Just saying…

Greece was great, of course, delicious, fresh food, served with some panache, smiling servers happy in their job, keen to help… fancy that!… And the sea was lovely. Then back up through Bulgaria and a night in the country’s second city, Plovdiv – more perfectly kept, cobbled pedestrian areas with a labyrinthine and busy bar area resplendent in proper graffiti/street art, entire gable ends covered in slick, clever murals that positively add to the environment.

Sunny Beach on the Bulgarian Black Sea was all flumes, pools and all you can eat buffets and I gained at least 5kgs, great! Those kiddy entertainers are something else, bless ‘em, they certainly earn their lev. Then back here in Buc for a bit before heading over to poor ol’ Blighty for a whistlestop tour to catch up with family and friends and a very different style of driving, blimey! Three-lane motorways! I’d almost forgotten about them! And cameras everywhere along the route, look out and be careful… so I was… and so was everyone else… And we were there while the new PM was anointed – strange, difficult times over there. You have to watch what you’re saying in restaurants and pubs for fear of potential trouble. Fractious. 

Back here we managed a couple of days mountain biking with a guide around Predeal, glorious and waow and so easy to organise. Less easy climbing those hills! And there was further evidence (as if any were needed) that the DN1, the main northbound thoroughfare from the capital, is hopelessly unfit for purpose with our 90 min journey taking 4 hours. What’s more, there’s zero evidence of anything being done to remedy this dismal situation. Sad face. We also had a couple of days horse riding and got there via the 7 road up (another spoke off the Centura) and beyond Targoviste, very fit for purpose and this road accesses another, quieter but equally beautiful part of this drop dead gorgeous country – Runcu.      

Lots of people caught up with, lots done but also lots of people not caught up with and lots of things not done. There’s the spare room which is still acting basically as one big, messy storage cupboard; the garden… and there are those people now miffed because we didn’t manage to squeeze them in. I’m guessing this is how it feels as the end draws near. Thankful for many things, hopefully; regretful about others, hopefully not so many; sorry for some. What to do? There’s only one thing to do – keep on keeping on.  

O zi buna     

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