Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cluj & Bucharest - September - by Polka

After a cold night at the very same campsite we started our trip in Romania we headed off for Bucharest with a stop at Cluj to get some parts for the car. We had been having trouble with our cross bars, mainly due to the fact that we overloaded it. Aaron found a 4x4 company in Cluj that had the cross bars he wanted so we stopped there to get them. The seller, a young man, turned out to be very helpful and also found Aaron a place that would provide him with a new tyre since the one with the puncture was unfixable. Once that was sorted we could finally set off to Bucharest.

Who would have thought that's the type of puncture you could get off road? It looks more like a knife-cut.



Leaving Cluj

Two weeks earlier, when we were starting our tour from that very same point, there was no sign of snow on these mountains!

The road to Bucharest

As it was already pretty late we only got to Sibiu where we spent the night.  We had a whole following day to get to Bucharest which should have been enough. At some point during the drive, Aaron heard some funny noises coming from the car. He decided to check them and in order to do that he asked me to drive. I happily swapped as it is a nice car to drive, though I'm still nervous when I'm behind the steering wheel. I'm simply not used to a big car like ours. I've always driven small vehicles. Anyway, I was happy to drive whilst Aaron 'was checking' the strange noises. A few minutes later I started hearing some strange noises, too! A quick look at Aaron revealed very quickly what they were: Aaron was sound asleep in the passenger's seat!

 Although we got to Bucharest some time past eight, we didn’t find a hotel until after midnight. Looking for a hotel in Bucharest turned out to be a nightmare. At some point, which was already eleven p.m., we thought we'd found one. Unfortunately, it didn't have a car park and we saw a group of people sitting on the opposite side of the street, just on steps of a building watching us quite intensely. There was no way we were going to risk leaving the car anywhere near on a street!

Since we arrived in Bucharest quite late, one would think it should be at least easy to drive around. That's what we thought and we couldn't be more wrong! Driving in Bucharest even that late at night was a nightmare. The only place where I've seen worse, more aggressive drivers was Cairo. We eventually drove out of Bucharest and stayed in a pretty average hotel but who would care at that point? We were tired after a long drive and search for a hotel, and just really wanted to go to bed. 


Having experienced driving in Bucharest the night before we decided to leave the car behind at a car park and take the tube to the town. It turned out to be a good idea. The tube was an easy way to get to the centre and back. We did a walk recommended for Bucharest along apparently the most interesting street from Piata Victoriei to Piata Natunilor Unite. And it was interesting indeed. Just like the other places in Romania, the street turned out to be full of contrasts: Some beautiful buildings next to rusty, dilapidating fences, abandoned, neglected buildings in prime locations with trees growing out of them next door to designers’ shops. 

It's hard to believe that such a beautiful building in a prime location was vacant. That would never happen in London. And just slightly down the road there was Hilton and Dior and other well known and recognised names.

Here's the Palace of the Parliament from where in 1989 the infamouse Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu fled in a helicopter. He got a few hours later and executed (shot) along with his wife.

No comments:

Post a comment

Morocco: Western Sahara: Tan Tan - Alsa

Our next route was taking us from Tan Tan (the end of first route) across the Western Sahara to a town called Alsa which Chris Scotts whose...