Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary

By Mark

We left early from Greece for our next country, Bulgaria. Knowing very little about this country we decided that our direction through the country would be a straight forward one and try to incorporate a few scenic routes where possible. First things first however we needed to get into the country and purchase our much needed insurance. As we entered the border I asked the local authorities where the local insurance office was and he just told me basically not to bother but did mention that there was one close by. The border crossing should have been quicker but Sanne kept on insisting that they should give her back her passport, in fact soon as they saw that it was a European passport they handed it straight back which she was not use to and had forgot all about it. For me with an Aussie passport things take a little longer, maybe a minute. Love these quick border crossings.

Bulgaria in general was not so interesting, the border between Greece was the most beautiful part but apart from that there seems to be nothing but corn and sunflower fields and not to forget Rossers (police), they are everywhere on the roads but luckily we had no trouble with them. It is not the prettiest of places and the architecture is nothing to be inspired by either and and having only 2 days here we didn't really get into contact with any of the locals but they all seemed friendly enough with plenty of smiles and waves from them as we passed by.

Leaving Bulgaria for Romania took some time as there is no bridge to cross the Donau river still (only 2 years behind schedule) so the only way to cross is by ferry which takes some time. While we waited we got chatting to a bunch of other bikers who were also waiting. When we finally disembarked the ferry we headed straight for passport control, thinking it would be straight forward like the others I was not organised with my paper work. Everybody with an EU passport has no worries but with my Australian and much used passport the fellow checking it was either interested in me or just didn't like the look of me, especially my Iranian visa photo with my beard was not going to win me any new friends. It didn't help that I walked into his office which lead to him very sternly telling me to get out! Finally after checking all my paperwork for the bike, making some phone calls and copying everything he finally let me in and I was free to go. Again with Romania we had little knowledge of the place but did know about Transylvania. This territory is placed in the middle of the country in amongst the Carpathian mountains. So after leaving the ferry and bidding our farewells to the other bikers we made our way in that direction. The following day we arrived into the mountains in Transylvania which was a nice change to the never ending corn and sunflower fields. We found one of the most spectacular camp spots we have had in a while in amongst the mountains with a very cold river that ran right by our camp. It had now been about 4 or 5 nights since we had left Thessaloniki and that meant we had not washed or showed in that time. After Sanne had felt the temperature of the water she decided she could go a few more days. For me it was a different story, I tend to get on the nose a little quicker and needed a wash. I have to say it was one of the quickest washes of my life cause it had to have been the coldest water I have been in a very long time. Luckily we had ourselves a camp fire that evening and was able to warm up pretty quickly. The riding here was great, the roads are not perfect but in far better condition to other places we have ridden. My bike has been running well now and is much more enjoyable with  more power again and no more burning oil! The only real down side here is that we have really bad timing and always tend to end up in these type of places on weekends when everybody else wants a drive out and about on the roads. Still beats Indian traffic any day!

Our next country was to be Hungary, and yes another country we knew very little about, one thing we did find out is that there are no shortage of hookers by the roadside, we took the scenic route and sadly this was all there was to see and it wasn't even worth that! Shouldn't joke really, the girls looked really young and is no place for them in this type of environment. Again we saw little here and found ourselves camping out under a bridge on our first night.

All in all we enjoyed our trip through these 3 countries,  which were easy to navigate, had little traffic, cheap food and free Internet at all the servos along the way. Our next stop, Austria and after reading Bill Brysons account on this country, things could get interesting or not by his tales.

One of many casinos in Bulgaria, this one was right on the border

Stopping for a bite to eat by the river

The line up of bikes waiting for the ferry

Only a short distance but it was a slow journey

The much needed bridge

Having my very cold bath

One of the best campsites we have had

This is taken up above from our campsite in Transylvania

 The Carpathian mountains in Transylvania

Styling it up Romanian style

Riding Heaven

Our last campsite in Romania

A small village in Romania

Sleeping under the bridge, following in Cobain's footsteps

Trying to cook up a feed in the rain was not easy

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