No, really! I like the taste of my toenails!
Thanks to the estimable Brian Buchanan of the First Amendment Center for pointing out that Romania does, in fact, have a coastline on the Black Sea. Although the Dunarii Delta looks a little swampy, according to the Times World Atlas that lay conveniently within reach as I typed yesterday's ignorant entry, the 39-kilometer stretch from Eforie Sud to Mangalia, according to my AA 2001 Road Atlas of Europe, which was on a shelf across the room, is well worth seeing, even the four oddly-named towns Neptun, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. Trajan's Wall is nearby.
My ignorant remark was based on the fact that at the travel agency on Frankfurter Allee, the friend who had come across to East Berlin with me burst into laughter: "Beaches! In Romania? Ho ho ho ho." He'd just come back from there, so I thought he knew what he was talking about. Of course, I subsequently read his book on his Iron Curtain travels and saw that that was the least of what he missed.
And I'm embarrassed to say that I checked, after hearing from Brian, not with either of these superb reference works, but with a beach ball printed with a globe map, which a friend had inflated over the weekend. It had come in the mail as a promo for American Airlines, and I was keeping it around for the day when I just had an overwhelming urge to blow up the world, but she beat me to it. Even the beach ball had it right, although Austin's in a kind of weird location.
The road through the planets does, I note, lead to Bulgaria, and I have friends who've stayed at the beach there, in either Varna or Burgas. I actually spent several days in Bulgaria some years ago, and I ought to find the postcard I wrote from there to e-mail to friends and post it one day when I'm really feeling lazy. Of course, I was clear on the other side of the country, in Blagoevgrad, nestled in the Rila Mountains, with a view of war-torn Macedonia from the top of Communist Party headquarters, now housing the American University in Bulgaria, a division of the University of Maine.
But that bit of surrealism is for later. I'll just observe that you learn something every day. Yesterday most of you learned there were two Frankfurts in Germany. Today I learned about the Romanian seacoast.