Sleep was a distant wish last night; neither one of us got more than a couple of hours. Since we are facing iffy to no lodging ahead, have no desire to camp out, and are already running behind schedule, we must take a train if we are going to ride the last bit to Mile 0 and make it to Istanbul in time for our flight. We can either bike the 50 miles to Calafat today, then catch an insanely early train for an 11 hour ride with two changes to Constata, or we can take a train at a descent hour directly to Bucharest, catch Rigoletto at the opera house in the evening, then take a train Sunday to Constanta, where we can continue up the coast Monday. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn we opted for the latter. We went to buy our tickets, but the agent said no bikes, but strongly hinted that we could “arrange” things with the conductor. We loaded everything on the train, and when the conductor punched our tickets, we just played dumb Americans and paid him a supplement for the bikes. He did it on the official ticket machine, and I was a little disappointed that I had not actually given my first bribe. Jonn slept while I typed up the backlog of updates. We arrived in Bucharest about 1:30, both in the mood for something familiar, so we cravenly went to the McDonald’s in the station. I used some points and booked us into the JW Marriott, and as we were checking in I decided to splurge and get us a nice room and access to the executive lounge; after the last few days, we needed it. The concierge Monica and the Bell Captain Marcel were very friendly and helpful. We got cleaned up, but we couldn’t nap since there was incessant construction noise and vibration coming from somewhere. I went downstairs and got a haircut…maybe my helmet will fit better now. I grabbed a bite in the lounge while John chatted with Marjorie, then as he worked on getting ahold of his banker (since his ATM card had stopped working again) and then to the casino, I went to see Rigoletto: Monica had gotten me dead center orchestra for 55 lei ($15.55 at today’s exchange rate). It was a good show, but I couldn’t help thinking whom I would have cast from Houston in the roles and how I would have staged it and how come their lighting guy didn’t catch Gilda being in shadow so much…it’s hard to shut that stuff off. I enjoyed it nonetheless, then I wandered around for bit before taking a cab back and going with John across the street to Chicken Staff for a late bite.