My Trips

Want to Pilot a Plane in Sfantu Gheorghe?

Never thought I would get to pilot a plane in the middle of nowhere, in Sfantu gheorghe, but that’s what eventually happened 😀 Boy, I’m going to buy my own plane someday!

We arrived in Sfantu Gheorghe last Wednesday and chance had it that I got a little drunk on the boat, so I had to sleep a couple of hours to get back in shape. Naturally, most people were watching the movies, so I got a few beers, found some girls who were playing the guitar and partied till late in the morning.

Me in a plane in Sfantu Gheorghe
Me in a plane in Sfantu Gheorghe

The next day, going to the beach, I saw a couple of motorized hang gliders and three small planes on the field next to the beach. I thought their owners were just out there, enjoying their time, but my passion for flying kicked in and when I left the beach, I went there to get more info. I was interested in the hang gliders. Somebody told e the price and I said I will think about it and maybe come back sometime in the evening.

Of course, later that day, I borrowed 50 lei from somebody and went to the ‘air field’ to get flying. Unfortunately, all the hand gliders were in the air. I asked somebody about it and he immediately said I should better get a ride with the plane. I said that I already spoke about the hang gliders, but Mr. Mami told me I will like the plane more.

The Takeoff

So I got in, put my seatbelt on and everything. Mr. Mami gets in and tells me: “Ok, you’re going to fly the plane now”. I promptly said I don’t know how, that I’ll probably crash the plane, but he just said “just follow me”.

[adsense]He started the engine, got into speed over that rugged field, took a turn and immediately took off, flying about three meter above the heads of those coming back from the beach. He explained what’s with the pedals and everything and gave me full control of the plane. I’ve got to say, it felt awesome. The view was perfect! We crossed the Danube to the south and now I could actually see the geomethry of the place, with the canals and everything.

I continued south for a while, then I took a turn left and I followed the coastline back north. I lowered the plane to about 30 meters and the view and speed sensation were awesome. There were a few pelican colonies out there and a bunch of other birds I can’t name.

The Landing

I flew over the beach which was full of people at that hour, then Mr. Mami took control, took a wide turn and landed the plane.  The landing itself was probably the most exciting phase of the the whole thing. Seeing the ground getting close at that speed was energizing, so to say.

It definitely was worth the money. I’ll do it again when I get a chance. I will buy a plane like that someday. Mr. Mami told me that a new one costs about 60.000 euros.

Events My Trips

On the way to Sfantu Gheorghe and the Anonimul Film festival

Yes, finally… it’s been two years since I’ve last been to Sfantu Gheorghe, but now, the wait is over. In less than an hour I’ll be on the ship on the way to my dreams, having a cold beer and enjoying the wild scenery.

[adsense]Sfantu Gheorghe has always been one of my favorite places in the Danube Delta. It is so quiet and wild and you can just relax and let everything go away for a few days. In the last few years it witnessed quite a few developments, and it’s become better known in the country and abroad. The great thing is that it still attracts only a certain type of people with whom you can have a great conversation and also have plenty of fun.

The main attraction these days is the Anonimul Film Festival, which actually started two days ago… Yes, I know I’m late, but I’m getting there.

The festival lasts a whole week and the main highlights are the projections of various low budget, independent films from producers from all over Europe. There are two locations: one is the Delfinul camping, where the movies are projected on a huge screen out in the open and everybody in welcomed to enjoy them for free, and then there are private or paid cinemas, just across the streets.

To be honest, I only got to see a few movies the third year I went there. I was too busy on the beach or anywhere else. Some of them were ok, others sucked.. but it was all great.

This year I don’t plan on seeing any film, but we’ll see how things work out. I’ll probably spend most of the time at the beach or fighting the mosquitoes… those aren’t normal mosquitoes, they are dragons! And unfortunately I couldn’t find any mosquito repellant crème at the pharmacy next door. If I don’t sort this out, tonight I’m toast!

But we’ll see how everyting turns out. I’ll post a follow-up when I’m back.

My Trips

Two Fantastic Days In Sulina

I was planning to write this article about five days ago, but … I was still a little drunk from the whole experience. Last time I was in Sulina was four years ago and I was dying to get there again.

[adsense]With all the great things that I heard from people over the years, I was expecting to see monumental changes, fields of villas and restaurants that rotate around the sun.. you know, that kind of stuff.

So me and four other friends got together and decided to see what up. We arrived a little late and couldn’t get tickets for the classic ship, so we had to settle for the catamaran. Sure, it was modern, faster and more comfortable, but it’s usually our last resort when we want to get to some place and have a good time. Thank god we had plenty of beer. We got there after about three hours and I was relieved to see that really, not much has changed. The place is still wild and the atmosphere is great.

The first thing I noticed was that there are way too many cars… In the old days you could have walked relaxed to the beach, absolutely no concern. Nowadays, that’s no longer possible because you have to keep an eye open and make way for the taxis that connect the beach and the city. That’s unacceptable!

While the changes that I saw didn’t live up to my expectations, I must admit that the few things that did change were simply spectacular. The promenade, for instance, is simply beautiful. It’s exactly what you would expect to see in a small, laid back town, in the middle of the Danube Delta. With the numerous restaurants and traditional terraces and the neatly trimmed willow trees, it feels like paradise.

And on the beach, the two new decks that go like 30 meters into the Black Sea are exactly what was this place was lacking. At night, that’s where you’ll meet some really beautiful and friendly girls. That’s where you’ll also meet some of the awesome guitar players of Sulina. I found them practicing complicated notes and stuff, not exactly our stuff. So me and Andrei went and stole some wood, set up a fire and got everybody together to drink and play the good stuff. Sweet. Some really talented people there. I’ve got to mention Delia, Lala, Alex and Andrei. Keep it up! It’s awesome to hear a cover after a song sung by a talented girl 😀

Karaoke in Sulina
Karaoke in Sulina

The next day was even better. At the beach, plenty of people and beautiful girls all over the place. In the evening, besides the billions of mosquitoes, there was another show were they played some folk and love songs. After that, there was a karaoke contest and Delia told me I should get in. I signed up with AD-DC’s “You shook me all night long”.

[adsense]Knowing I can’t really sing the damn thing, I put all my hopes in building an atmosphere and it actually worked. If you’ve seen Slipknot, you can get an idea of my show. I got myself quite a fan club actually and I was sure I would win, until the three French guys came up at the end with the Bee Gees and were just hilarious. Well, as it turned out, they actually gave the prize to someone who really deserved it. I can’t remember her name now, but she sung Laura Stoica’s “Un actor grabit”. Bravo! And she was such a good sport that she shared the bottle of JB that she won with the rest of us 😀

After the show, we all got together: winners, losers and everybody else, set up a fire and spent the rest of the night playing great music and drinking beer and everything else. I’m just sorry we had to leave after only two days. I love those people in Sulina. I’m going back as soon as I get a chance. If you get to Sulina, make sure you meet them. They’re great!