The Romanian Globetrotters: Dan, Pârvu, Negreanu and Pascu
In 1908, a French contest for walking around the world was announced and a prize of 100,000 francs were to be offered. Dumitru Dan, Paul Pârvu, George Negreanu and Alexandru Pascu were all students in Paris at that time, and they decided to participate at this contest, using their own money and resources.
The 4 men came to Romania and started to learn several foreign languages, to better study the geography and to walk 45km/day, no matter the season and weather conditions. Also, they learned folkloric songs and dances so that they gain money performing the Romanian folklore while walking around the world.
Wearing only traditional garb and walking in Romanian sandals (Romanian term: opinci), the group started their trip in 1910 with a dog, Harap. In 1911, they arrived in India where they were invited to Rajah’s palace. One of them, Alexandru Pascu died on 17th of July as a result of opium poisoning.
Unfortunately, other 2 died during the magnificent trip: Geroge Negreanu fell into precipice when the group was crossing a narrow mountain pass in China (Nanling Mountains) and Paul Pârvu was forced to stop traveling as a result of cangrene. Traveling China, Siberia and Alaska wounded his legs and Paul remained in Florida with Harap. In 1915, he also died.
When World War I started, Dumitru Dan interrupted his voyage, but he managed to complete it in 1923 when he received a prize substantially diminished (after inflation and World War I). During this trip, he crossed 76 countries all over the world, over 1,500 cities and wore out 497 pairs of shoes. He fulfilled his Romanian fellows’ dream, completing the fascinating trip, being praised in many countries he visited and making known the Romanian traditions.
The Romanian hero died in 1979 in Buzău and was buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery. After 6 years, his record was written in Guinness Book and was not equaled by anybody to this day.
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