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J153 - Thursday, March 18: Bucharest - Crangurile

76.13km – 9H31’
Altitude : 208m
11,000km 152 days 6 hours and 11 minutes
Serban is at the rendezvous at Free Press Square to accompany Serge out of town before going back to the office. It was a delight for Serge and the team to meet him. We hope our paths will cross again.
It’s hard for Serge to get up this morning, which leads me to believe that it will not be a good day, and yet Serge runs like a rabbit, with a good stride, which lasts for the entire stage. A good average, a happy runner.
All morning we are accompanied by Chantal and Michel Piroux and their friends, Lydie and Olivier Dumas. Michel Piroux is a French entrepreneur from the region of Boug-en-Bresse. He is the CEO of Piroux Industries, which has 600 employees in different manufacturing sites in France, one in Romania, near Pitesti, and a sales office in Singapore. The group has been in Romania since 2000 and supplies parts to Renault Dacia. René worked for the group (he and his wife, Michelle, lived in Pitesti for 2 years). It was they who contacted Chantal and Michel, who naturally decided to take care of us when we came through the country. This morning they are following the caravan and Michel will be in charge of refueling for Serge, who is all smiles. We know that there will be more surprises for us during the stage tomorrow.
We will be on the N 7 road until we leave Gaesti. There is a succession of villages and activity consists of farmers spreading manure on their fields, workmen repairing the road, people selling potatoes and apples and the villagers in their gardens. Thanks to the sunshine the temperature is very pleasant. Rural life seems to be more active here than in Bulgaria.
I spoke very little about dogs on our way through Bulgaria because most of them were tied up or kept in gardens. We had no problem, compared to northern Greece, where shepherds have hordes of dogs. In Romania it’s different; it’s not a question of stray dogs in the country, they are everywhere and left to fend for themselves. It’s a huge national problem and Brigitte Bardot became involved when the government decided to eliminate these dogs by any means whatsoever. Serge used his tear gas when he was attacked by 2 rather aggressive “doggies”.
School’s out so Marius and his pal run a few hundred meters with Serge. The Romanians are naturally pleasant and happy to see foreigners in their country. As we tend to confuse Bucharest and Budapest, so it is with Romanians and Roms, which represent an ethnic minority in the country, the same as the Hungarians, for example. In France, we have a tendency to group them together. I will have the opportunity to give you some explanation concerning the history of the population.

Town : Crangurile

GPS : N 44.45433° E 025.15431°