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Thread: Greece is the word..

  1. #161
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    Greece is the word..

    I’d missed this but have just spent 2 hours reading from start to finish !!
    Brilliant stuff,but where is our man ?

  2. #162
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    Well he's got the bike out..........

  3. #163
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    Fantastic Rob, loved every minute of the read!

  4. #164
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    Holy crap, I have been derelict in my R/R responsibilities, haven't I?

    Been a busy bee. Will finish!

  5. #165
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    Suitably embarrassed. I haven't finished this at all have I?

    Right.. off I go to finish...!

  6. #166
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    All I want for Christmas.......

  7. #167
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  8. #168
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    No rush��

  9. #169
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  10. #170
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    Come on, Rob, get on with it!

  11. #171
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  12. #172
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    I’m in me Dacia, I’m comin’ at ya.

    Welcome back.
    Current Ramble date: 21st July 2018.
    Current Ramble Location: Craiova, Romania

    Meh.

    I decide I need to visit the pharmacy. My tooth is giving me a bit of pain and I’ve got a mouth full of poxy ulcers. There are miscellaneous red blotches from various encounters from bees, wasps and general flying things.
    Wear and tear to be expected I suppose five and a bit thousand miles in

    So despite the comfy bed, with some disrupted sleep I was up early and had a bit of a currency audit this morning. So I pop out to the pharmacy for tooth and general other stuff, which I find courtesy of a very helpful pharmacist who finds me fairly amusing.

    Centre of town. Lot of concrete. Sort of like Basildon.



    I’ve also gone out chemist hunting equipped with my Bulgarian Lev, Georgian stuff and a twenty pound note I found stuffed in my passport holder I didn’t know I had. I present this to a woman at an exchange place. The Bulgarian Lev and the Pounds are happily exchanged. When I show her the Georgian stuff, she just laughs at it. Ah. That’ll be a no then for that.

    Back to the hotel for a great breakfast. Genuinely so. Actual bacon. Yes, actual bacon, and crispy bacon at that, not that weird stuff. And nice coffee. Very enjoyable. Being spoiled.



    [Edit from the future: A couple of months ago, I was in a café in the Barking Road, and was chatting to the charming Romanian girl behind the counter. It transpired that her sister was a receptionist at that hotel, and as far as I could recall, she did look like the receptionist as I remembered, unless my beer-faddled mind is playing tricks on me. Entirely possible, but small world nevertheless]

    Back to the plot. Our bikes have spent the night wedged in against a wall, on a road by a church, but entirely unmolested in deepest darkest Romania. But isn’t it a den of thieves? Maybe not eh.



    That said, I did see a JCB working with a UK number plate on it during the day which seemed a bit, erm, unusual.

    Anyway I’m rambling.

    We leave the comfortable base of Craiova and hit the road. Quite a nice day now. Stop to adjust tyre pressures where a helpful petrol station chap helps out.



    Out into the country highways so I drift away a little bit and ride along. This is abruptly disrupted when I’m almost totalled when going to do a steady overtake coming towards a town. As I’m getting ready to get on, some crappy Opel Zafira comes hurtling past, barely controlled by a little old man in what is sort of like a pork pie hat, with a car piled full of people. By my reckoning it was doing 80mph comfortably and barely slowed down in the town. Not dead, so you have to sort of laugh. A really important reminder that you need to keep your eyes behind you.
    After we pass through the town, and head into some twisty stuff I breeze past the same Zafira which is now at an entirely different pace. Generally, Romanian drivers don’t seem to have worked out that you can operate the accelerator and use the steering wheel at the same time and thus in a straight line the country is basically a drag race at Santa Pod, but when you come to something vaguely curved at all – there be dragons – and its all emergency stop territory and tootling round like Mr freakin’ Magoo. And to make life a little simpler, it doesn’t seem to matter what sort of car it is, from MOT failure Lada, to modern common or garden Dacia, through to pointy shiny Audi with pretend/bona fide* gansgster (*delete as applicable) at the wheel.
    All a bit comical as it happens, well, as long as you survive to laugh about it anyway.

    The day is basically 250 odd miles of back roads and a mountain pass, punctuated with tractors, odd contraptions and pork pie hat wearing lunatics.

    Coffee stop.



    All important. We almost had to go and rugby tackle the waitress to get it, but it was worth it.



    We decided ride the Transalpina today, originally the plan was to take in again the Transfagarasan and the Transalpina, but we thought that would be a bit too much.

    Searching for a sticker.



    Found a sticker. I think it’s getting to the stage where the stickers are holding the bike together.



    We headed South to North on the Transalpina and I really enjoyed it, probably more than the Transfagarasan back in 2012. However, the weather was kinder on this side.

    But it was really very very enjoyable.

    A great picture of me, up on the Transalpina, with somebody else’s bike.



    A great picture of Brian, up on the Transalpina, leaning on someone else’s bike.



    That’s quality photo bombing there ballistic…

    You know, Romania really has a bizarre assortment of roads from the great to the awful.

    When heading out and past a reservoir, we climb up one of the most pot holed, knackered and nasty pieces of road we’ve come across. The road is truly humped. And, lo and behold, a few kilometres on we come across a group of road workers marking a white line down the middle of it. Incredible!

    But then, thirty kilometres down the road we’re treated to some of the most excellent roads we’ve come across on the trip- awesome tarmac. Just plain bloody weird.

    The evening is spent in Sighisoara. A nice place to stop and interesting place to visit.



    Oh.





    We find a decent dinner and have a wander about before heading back to the hotel for a nightcap.

    Blood bank? Arf arf (I can hear the groans from here..)







    The lows and highs of an interesting day




  13. #173
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    At last!

  14. #174
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    To the borderlands

    A comfortable night sleep and a simple getaway.
    284 miles today and heading North West.
    Roads again variable.

    Pleasant lakelands..



    For some reason I chose to have a stop here. Odd, huh.



    A chap in a battered Renault with Spanish number plates and family onboard pulls up and stops by me. The window lowers and after making things out we see we can both speak English. ‘Is the road like this much further?’ he asks ‘as I don’t think I can carry on too far’. Fortunately for him it’s only half a dozen or so back to a reasonable road, but Brian and I have the 30 or so to do going the other way.

    Ah, and speak of the devil here is Brian, enjoying the local Romanian sport of Pot Holing.
    In this shot the road doesn’t look to bad, but good grief it was bloody awful. The construction process here is odd: Do a bit, leave a bloody great hole, do a bit more, leave a bigger hole. Repeat.



    In true Romanian style, the road does get quite a bit better further on and leads into some decent – and traffic free riding.

    Later at a petrol stop I took a photo of a female police officer filling up a very small police car, a car almost straight from Noddy or Postman Pat. I’m annoyed because I can’t find it.

    A mixed day but some entertaining riding to finish up with. We haul up in the town of Sighetu Marmetai just on the border with Ukraine. After a couple of fails we manage to find a pretty reasonable hotel. The bike sits out the back.



    We have dinner and most importantly, the wine is set to optimal temperature.



    A good day of cheap motoring - Petrol, a day of riding, lodgings and dinner for the princely sum of Ł63. Happily, your money still goes far in Romania

  15. #175
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    Parting of ways, and bound for Magyarság

    Brian wants to tick Ukraine as somewhere he’s been. Me? Well, I went there back in 2012 and the border crossing procedure was awful and quite enough to put me off and as such I have less than no interest. By now, my bike is loaded up and the thought of one of those border guards in a ridiculous stupid big hat* making me unpack my bags in the morning sun isn’t exactly appealing. Now I’m carrying plum sauce, and cha-chi from Georgia in an unmarked bottle. I just don’t fancy the autopsy, nor the mandatory contributions to the local bent constabulary community’s Christmas grog fund.

    * “If you can’t fight, wear a big hat” - Rigsby.

    Brian is going to head over the border. I’ve said I quite fancy spending a night in Hungary as I’ve only ever rode through and never stopped. We agree to meet at in Slovakia, to follow one of Robert’s recommendations.

    I gave Brian some money I had from my last trip that resides in the bank under the pillion seat. It was a 20 note. I couldn’t remember what the value might have been, but later discover courtesy of a shiny new phone currency app that its a 58p note. Well, the thought was there. I think that got him a Snickers (or Ukranian equivalent).

    After breakfast we head away. It’s nice and a pleasant 24 degrees, perfect riding weather. The run along the border is really decent and good riding is had. Things soften up towards Satu Maire, and then I hitch a right to head off towards the Hungarian border.

    A stop to peek at an absolutely beautiful church. I’ve seen nothing quite like it.







    And so to the border.



    No Schengen here, so we’re in a queue. I have a chat with a couple of Romanian bikers, one on a Honda CB500 and the other on a nice Kawasaki Z750 that you could eat your dinner off of. They’re friendly enough and we chat. Both complain that this border can be a pain and they always get pulled on something or other; the guards just don’t seem to like them for some reason.

    We’re in neighbouring lanes and pretty much walk and push the bikes up side by side as the traffic moves through. I get to the front and through the exit and the Hungarian border guy couldn’t be more helpful. He takes all of the various bits and bobs, passport, V5 etc and disappears off into his hutch. A minute or so later he’s back and cheerily beckoning with his exaggerated arm to go forth and be off to Hungary. For some reason I always feel I need to get going at these places, so set off passport in teeth and other stuff sat on the tank bag. I pull over just clear of things to sort out. As I’m putting stuff back into correct places and getting myself organised.. and yes I can see…true to form both of the Romanian biker chaps are both being pulled over.

    After a drink then I’m back to things. The first town hit in Hungary shows stark differences to the Romanian side; cleaner, tidier, nicer houses, nicer cards. Wealthier.
    The churches are duller, though.



    You sense real change in crossing the border. After clearing the town, I move out onto more country roads, fast and straight. I always make it policy to play nicely near the border and that works well- hidden away in the undergrowth is two of Hungary’s finest in a Skoda Octavia VRS. Another marked difference to yesterday’s encounter with Mrs Noddy of Romania Five-O.

    It could have been a coincidence but there were plenty of police around. Not that it’s a problem. I’m tracking a car further in the road moving well and who seems to know the lie of the land here. It works. My other policy I suppose – don’t be the fastest thing on the road, be the second fastest.

    A stop at a level crossing. Another contrast – level crossings in Hungary tend to have train tracks that don’t stop five meters either side of the level crossing, like a lot in Romania do, and they have trains too.



    I didn’t have a fixed destination in mind today so I kind of finish up in Debrecen by default. I find a hotel, an odd sort of spot - a converted windmill, which seems to be alright. I had a brief look around the city on the bike and wasn’t too bothered about things, so hunkered down in the very comfortable restaurant to chill out, be served hearty food and beer - and to pen some more drivel (currently standing of 66 pages of a word document..)

    Just your average windmill, by your aveage petrol station…



    Comfy digs, (mind yer head..)



    Well I declare!



    Not bad at all here.



    Hearty windmill based fayre..



    ‘The best revenge is living well’. I don’t sense the need for revenge, but I kind of like the living well bit.




  16. #176
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    Indeed a beefed thread. Some great photos too posted in here.

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