Monday, 7 May 2012

Expedition Romania: The journey

We set off from Carlisle at about 11am on Tuesday morning, 1st May, a straight-forward mission, to pick up Ashley on Friday lunchtime from Bucharest airport, then head up into the Carpathian Mountains. But ‘straight-forward’ was not what the journey there was destined to be. By the time we reached our destination, four people who got on just great until this time, would end up seriously divided, exhausted and completely pissed off!
It wouldn’t be fair on this blog to go into detail but to be honest, we were all to blame and then again nobody was. Exhaustion from the relentless driving was to blame and our poor planning was to blame for this. The sat nav that I brought with us was great, but the solar charger didn’t do what it said on the tin. On the way down to Dover it rained and rained, so we decided that sleeping in a youth hostel would be a good idea. We phoned around everywhere but no chance. At 11pm we ended up in Canterbury at a McDonald’s and sleeping in the 4x4 in a 24 hour Tesco’s car park. We set our alarm for 2am so that we could travel on the 4am ferry. After 2 hours broken, very uncomfortable sleep in the car park, then another hour on the ship, we set off driving away from Dunkirk at 6am, already completely knackered on day one. Looking back, the seeds of disaster had been sown and the events of the next few days were already pre-written.
Brussels was a nightmare without Sat Nav and when we arrived in Germany to camp on the 2nd night, we were behind schedule, only had 6 hours sleep, then set off at 7am trying to make up the lost time. Another massive mistake! At that point, declaring to arrive at Bucharest a day late would have been the best choice, but we only realise that now. The 3rd night we ended up sleeping in a house-boat on the Danube in Budapest, thanks to Beverley’s research on the internet, calling us to say that she had stayed there before and it was great, and cheap. It was, but it took us 2 hours to find it, 2 hours for a quick drink in Bucharest, then bed again before we left Budapest at 8am. The target this time was to make it to Bucharest by 8pm, which looking at the map seemed achievable. Was it hell, much of the journey was on mountain roads! The journey now was becoming terrible!! We didn’t arrive at the hotel where Ashley had booked into that afternoon, until the early hours of the morning. By that time, with 4 over tired guys in the vehicle, had we all been armed we would have started shooting at each other. 6 hours sleep that night and an uncomfortable breakfast saw us on the road to our final destination, Ojdula.
This is my blog, so I am telling it from my point of view, but I’m also trying to be fair and objective, knowing that events rather than people were the reasons for the personality clashes that occurred. Trying to simply put this all behind us and getting on with the expedition will be very difficult, because words are like stones, once thrown, they can not be retrieved. We have to accept the situation that we have, and now that we have all caught up on sleep, at least we are all becoming civilised to each other. Non of us would do that journey or one like it, ever again!!
That’s the journey described in 600 words, 5,000 would have done it more justice, but it’s something I want to forget. Were there any good bits? I loved the look of Budapest and would like to return there one day with Beverley. I had currywurst in Austria, which was amazing, but then I was starving at the time, and my own leg with the right sauce would have sufficed!
I wanted to blog every day from Romania but that isn’t possible. There is a great guy in the village, Paul White, who I will tell you about later. He runs the Transylvanian Wildlife Project and we had a BBQ at his house last night. He has a connection to the internet, that I will hook up to every few days and update you as much as possible.
Message for Beverley, Chantal, Lucienne, Sasha…
When you see the Blog published, could you put it’s link on my Facebook with a nice relevant photo so that it stands out please?
 I love you all xxxxx

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