Gordon: It turns out that we and the housekeeper were not the only residents of the Swiss style chalet a couple of nights ago. We were once again sharing our bed with a few bedbugs. It takes a day or two for the bites to swell and become itchy, so unless you actually see the bugs it is often not immediately apparent that you have been bitten. We also go through several stages of denial before we will acknowledge that the bites are caused by bedbugs: “It’s a mosquito bite”, “It’s a spider bite”, “It’s an allergic reaction to unicorn saliva.” Finally we acknowledge the clear reality and turn our minds to how we can avoid carrying the disgusting beasties to another hotel or our own house. We have actually been quite pleased to go for so long without encountering bedbugs; our median number of travel days before being bitten is about 50, and on this trip we made it to almost 70 days.
We had another first today: after cycling over 3,800 kms we had our first flat tire of the trip. A shoutout to Marathon tires, well-known to long distance cyclists for reducing the chance of having a flat.
We are spending the night in Curtes de Arges, which was the capital of Wallachia prior to Bucharest. Little remains of the former princely palace, but there are two fine churches that can be visited.
The interior of the 13th century St. Nicholas church is almost completely covered with frescos, many dating to the 14th century. They include a rare depiction of a pregnant Virgin Mary, as well as a passion sequence that shows Christ as one of three cross bearing convicts.
We also visited the 16th century church at the Curtea de Arges Monastery. To say it shows Moorish influence is an understatement: it appears to be a mosque built in the form of a church. There are extensive frescos in the interior, as well as so much gold leaf that the dimly lit space glows. A most unusual and beautiful church.