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Not actually mine, mind you – it is a story a friend told me about spending a week in one of Romania’s beach resorts (the youth-oriented Costinesti) during full season. And it’s not a recent story, as it happened about a decade ago. But it was captivating enough to determine me to turn it into a blog post about how great it can be to just leave town for a week with no strings attached, nothing but a debit card and a smartphone in your pocket, so you can pay for food and play royal vegas casino games on the beach. So, without further ado, here’s the story.

It all started on a hot summer day spent at a local bar downing cold drinks on a starry night. A friend of mine was joking: if I pass my final exams, I want to go hitchhiking to the seaside. Me, as tipsy as I was, joined in on the joke, saying that if he passes I will join him on the trip. I finished my beer, went home and forgot about it all until the day after the next – my friend called me at 11PM to announce that he passed his final exam, finished college, so we are leaving the next morning at 8. At first I was shocked, but then I was “why not?” – I packed my bag, slept about five hours (the most sleep I had in the next week or so) and upon waking up I was on the way before I knew.

While waiting for the first car to pick us up we decided to turn this vacation into a beer trip and taste the local brew wherever we went. Our trip had about six stops, with local brews coming our way wherever we stopped – not even pasteurized, so not available in any other parts of the country. Our journey of about 800 miles took two days to complete. We were lucky – others had much less luck with rides.

One thing I learned during the journey was that truckers are not the best choice for rides. They are always looking out for a few extra bucks on the road, so if you tell them you are a poor student with no money in your pocket, heading for your last big adventure before starting real life, they will most likely leave you waiting on the roadside.

The first day of our trip ended at a festival in the mountains. The two of us, equipped for the summer on the beach, had the worse night of our lives in a mountain resort, with 10 degrees C (50 degrees F), which is not the perfect one for sleeping. After about two hours of sleep we searched for a hot tea and a ride to the next town – where we continued our beer trip. After a few more stops we finally reached the beach resort, our destination. We had no plans and no place to sleep – we first searched for the train station in the village, where we could deposit our bags for cheap, and the cheapest food around.

The next week or so we spent at the seaside, with beer replacing the morning coffee and endless parties at the White Horse – the only rock pub around – is long enough to make up for another article.

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