Friday August 29 – 89 km
I am not sure where to start with my reflection on today. Perhaps with our yummy breakfast of fried egg on fried bread with cheese along with berry yogurt and muesli. We knew we were in for a long hard day- so a good breakfast was key.
We left our lovely camp at Guyla, Hungary and headed for the Romanian border just west of Varsand. We were a little nervous for the border crossing as we have read/heard nightmare stories: traffic, long lines, grouchy border patrol, searches of everything, etc. To our pleasant surprise, we were the only “vehicles” crossing the border, other than a few big trucks in a separate lane. The border patrol officer was very friendly and even stamped my passport (I have an EU passport which, apparently didn’t need stamping).
The 79A road from the border was, well, terrifying. OK, it wasn’t that bad but it was bad. No shoulder and lots of big trucks on both sides. The exhaust fumes left a grime on your skin like soot from a fire. The road surface was equally poor with pot holes and patched pot holes making for a very bumpy ride. Stray dogs, sheep, cows, goats and geese were spotted in fields close to the highway (or even crossing the highway). We stayed on the 79A all the way into Chisineu Cris, a rundown, drive through town at best.
In Chisineu Cris we attempted and failed to obtain money from any ATM – we tried three – all of them indicated a sad “card denied”. Luckily, Janet had a few USD we could exchange until we can figure the bank thing out. We ate a quick lunch on a bench and high tailed it out of the depressing little town as soon as possible. Back onto a main road for a few km – fighting with the trucks and fast moving cars. Really, the scariest vehicle was the driver of the black BMW who must of purchased the road with the car. I am not sure how fast he was going – but he definitely was exceeding the speed limit by at least two fold.
Finally we turned off the A road and found a secondary road to take us east. Although there was very little traffic (thankfully) the road surface was very uneven. We likened it to riding off road on a double track made for tractors. It was paved, sort of.
We finally made our way down to the foothills of the Carpathians, and things got a whole lot better. The road surface turned to sweet new pavement, the countryside had some definition with vineyards covering the hills. We gained some elevation and had spectacular views across the plateau.
The best thing for the whole day by far was the warm welcome from our host Lia and her family. We feel welcome and are safely in Cuvin for the next two days. We had a lovely dinner and a tour of their extensive garden. We must head to bed now, we have a busy day tomorrow helping in the garden, harvesting potatoes and beans.