Jeremiah Watt Cycling around God's Creation

long distance bicycle touring

Blog 7-Life behind Bars part 7

Our galavanting traveler has been running with his wife for the last 7 days, and he is elated that she came to join him……..but that is ending all too soon. Our solo cyclist will be SOLO once again as of Thursday morning.




From the top of the cupola at Saint Stephans Cathedral in Budapest, Hungary.

So what all happened while you were not here to watch? Quite a bit if you want to know. We enjoyed such luxuries as $24.00 a night DELUX accomodations. FOLKS – I wrote the book on spoiling women while we travel, ever need advise on such matters just drop me an email. We took in 12,794 religious sites, cathedrals, convents, seminaries, a gas station and a funeral home.




During 7 days of travel, we hit 4 different countries, spent a total of 6 hours plus passing  various border crossings, with the longest and slowest being that crossing from Ukraine into Slovakia……that was a real cat herding scenario that we survived. Fell in love with Romania all over again, I was worried that I would not like it as much the second time around but that was not the case. Mom loved it too which made it all the more fun. Rural Romania requires a visit, much more interesting than city life for me.



The weeping willow represents the Jewish people lost from just the Budapest Ghetto. 650,000 plus leaves here have the name of those known to have died in camps during WW2.



We got to watch the CHANGING OF THE GUARD, at the Royal Palace in Budapest.

Ukraine, have to say that I feel sorry for the country. It was not long ago that a lengthy discussion broke out about poverty and how poor Poland was. Let me just say that Poland is approx. 3 times as wealthy in GDP per capita. I always thought Bulgaria was the poorest, but it is actually 2.35 times as wealthy as Ukraine which comes in at the very bottom of pooerest countries west of Russia. An amazing 2015 statistic of $2,145.00 euros per person per year. And as SOON as you cross that border you know you have just driven off the end of poverty street into the empty lot known as destitution. The crossing from Romania into Ukraine, then the crossing out of Ukraine into Slovakia was susch a dicotomy of poverty/wealth that it left you agast at the differences. It raises questions to no end, for instance the opportunity to attain democracy happened fo4 all these countries with the fall of the wall… can there journey towards democracy look so different at this stage.



Is the Ukraine under such poor political leadership, was the educational standards of Ukraine that vastly different before the wall fell? Understand that Ukraine is a huge country as european countries go, with a fairly sparse population per sq/km as averaged. It is like driving off Hawaii onto the surface of the moon different though, which is hard to fathom. I wont bother with a lengthy diatribe on how bad tjjis and that were, suffice it to say that if you take a rental car…….BUY THE EXTRA DAILY INSURANCE RIGHT THERE WHEN YOU RENT THE CAR AND NOT ONLINE. And take every piece of paperwork with you that pertains to the car, make sure you have it ALL.


The weeping willow represents the Jewish people lost from just the Budapest Ghetto. 650,000 plus leaves here have the name of those known to have died in camps during WW2.

twice now, I have had the chance to sit and dine with Monks as I traveled. Once with my son Pine on a mountaintop Monestary called Rarauliuli. I never actually thought that would happen again……..maybe because I didn’t include God in my doubts? Mom and I were walking the Budestci Monestary, nobody else was up there since it is quite literraly at the end of a rough and lonesome road. All the structures are wood, with a huge new building jsut being built at this time, by a crew of just 2 men for the whole structure. Further down the mountain we met the man who is hand making all the bajillion cedar shingles to be used.

This also is quite a common site. Tightly woven willow fence around the house yard, topped of with a shingled sort of roof so the fence lasts longer.

A lone voice calls out in Romanian, so I walk over and introduce myself to Priest Clavanic. He spoke quite good english I found after I introduced myself and Colleen. His first question was about my faith, was I of any faith? My reply was I am Christian which seemed to please him but he still wantrd to know more. We talked for maybe half an hour out on the front porch of the expansive a monestary where he has studied for half his life now. You must have lunch with me he said, and led us indoors to a very simple kitchen room. We had cabbage soup, and fried golden bream fish, along with many questions, and much time with a dictionary translator not google translator. Please ask me questions was his most common statement to us.

3 Hungarian fellows we met, they haul hay and straw to folks in small towns out on the edge of the Hortobagy. Hortobagy is the RANCHING COUNTRY of eastern Hungary.

The more questions you ask, the more I know about both you and your understanding of the faith we proclaim. His english was very good which caught me off guard?. So I asked him, how did you learn english so well sitting up here on a mountainside for so many years……………… MOVIES……was his reply. Say what.(high squeaky voice required here).

Just one of many all wooden churches that abound in the Maremures region of Transylvania. This particular Church was built 1624 and still has services every Saturday, and is located in Budestci Romania.

This is the weeks CHEESE in the making right here, hanging in the door draining. Pretty much each farmer makes his own cheese for the week.

Yup, movies. His favorite movie is…….wait for it……wait……War Room. What a fantastic movie he proclaims, he recommends this movie all the time when he speaks to groups of any denomination. Next is Perfect Stranger. We were told the history of the Orthodox Church, the ramifications of change and politics within the church hierarchy. The afternoon flew by, almost 3 hours later we knew we had to get going but hated to leave.

Rolled out of there and bumped our way down the road into the local town and a huge wooden church built in 1634 and still standing strong today with regular services every Saturday. Along came a cycling group from Poland so we stopped to visit with them for an hour……we had no idea how badly the roads of Ukraine would slow us down next.


This is the new construction going on at the Budestci Monestary, all timber, all joined and wooden pegged. And all of it being done by just 2 men.

We passed thru Ukraine just praying the caar would not be swallowed in any one of the potholes that could as easily have been the excavation for a swimming pool. Holly cow folks, the roads are amazing………….LY BAD. We had a big plate full of perogies, with sour cream and suarkraut. Think of folded dough and inside is a bland of potatoes and bacon or finely chopped ham and onions. Its good stuff if you are raised eating them at farm fall suppers such as we had in Manitoba, Canada.


Local fellow, wearing the little straw hat so prevalent in the Maremures region of Romania.

Headed for Slovakia next morning and the Tatra’s Mountains that are shared with Poland to the north. Drop dead gorgeous scenery, roads that make you embarresed to say your from California. Such a noticeable change in economy, it look much more like Germany or Switzerland when it comes to houses, farm yards etc. Really liked Slovakia when we got off on the small back roads, really liked the character of the region.


Dropped into Hungary once again due north of Budapest. We made several efforts to stop and visit a saddle maker from Krupina Slovakia, our friend Radovan Krkos. But no such luck, coukd not find him anywhere on FB or around the town of Krupina. Sorry Rado, maybe next time. We celebrated our 35th anniversary while in Satu Mare, Romania. Went out for a nice supper at Kios Restaurant. I had a fanastic steak, and mom ordered fish. Great meal, great couple that own the restaurant.





7 Responses to “Blog 7-Life behind Bars part 7”

  1. Ellamae Holes and Jerry

    As always enjoyed the comments and pictures. Jerry

  2. Jeremiah Watt-saddlemaker

    Hello to you both, hope summer skies are bright and blue and you folks are getting out to enjoy them. Be well, thanks for sharing on the journey.

  3. Jeremiah Watt-saddlemaker

    Hello Hindrick, yes Voronetz is where it began for us. Thanful you are following along with me, Mom and I got into northern Romania for only a few blessed days. I love Romania. I will be in Romania again soon, but way to the south of you. Sorry, I pray our paths cross again.

  4. Pastor Mike

    So Mr jeremiah. I see your eating fish without me. So envious. Love you .stay true and God bless

  5. Hindrik VanDijken

    Hello Jeremiah,
    Great getting your road reports and beautiful pictures.
    I am glad you had a great time together , and be course starting tomorrow your by your self again I wanted to wish you a very very special time for the rest of your journey.
    This Monday we are leaving for Romania with a team from our church and are visiting several village churches to hold meetings there. After that we are going back close to Voronetz where we all met just a few years ago.
    Blessings dear brother on your journey.
    Hindrik van Dijken

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Ellamae Holes and Jerry

    Thanks for the great commentary and pictures. Hope and sounds like both of you are having a great time. Enjoy while you can. Jerry

It would be great to hear from you!