Cows and roads in Romania

A typical sight you might encounter as you drive through the Romanian countryside is cows returning home from pasture in the evening, or, if you’re an early morning traveler, going to pasture.

It’s interesting the first few times, particularly if you’ve never seen that sort of thing before. It’s “touristy”, cute, etc. But it gets old really fast, for multiple reasons:

  • Herds on the roads worked back when the pace of travel was as fast as a horse and buggy could take you. Nowadays cars go somewhat faster than that. Having to slam on your brakes and go in 1st gear or stand still for up to 30 minutes isn’t something the weary traveler looks forward to doing when trying to get home or find some lodging.
  • You won’t find it cute after an angry ox sticks his horns into your hood or tries to mount your car, frustrated because he couldn’t mount his favorite cow that day…
  • Your neck veins will possibly burst as you experience the indolence of the cow herders, who will drag themselves along at a snail’s pace, blissfully unaware of the cars that are waiting for them to move the animals off the road. Most won’t give a cow’s behind about you even if you ask them nicely or yell at them.
  • You’ll not think it such a quaint sight after you run through a few steaming cow pies and have to hose them off your car later.
  • If you have to brake suddenly, then begin to slide dangerously on the mud laid on the road by the cows, you’ll begin to appreciate the usefulness of clean asphalt, unsullied by manure or thick mud.

In this day and age, I’m surprised village mayors still allow the cows to use the main roads, instead of directing the animal traffic to use the side roads and the back roads. Sure, the cows have gotten used to using the same route every day, but they can be re-trained. It seems to me the will just isn’t there, and that’s a shame.