Sunday 30 August 2015

First Days in Hungary

Romania and Hungary, 24th – 26th August 2015

After our last night in Romania we set off towards the border, stopping to use up our remaining Romanian currency by filling up on LPG and stocking up on a few bits from Lidl. I hid some bottles of beer away in case we were searched at the border but needn’t have bothered as I think the faded sign said the limit was 17L of alcohol! We crossed the border near Oradea with just a check of our passports.

As we entered Hungary everything suddenly felt more like Western Europe again; buildings were tidier, the appearance of the country roads, roads were in better condition,

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Sighisoara and Northern Romania

Romania, 21st – 23rd August

Our overnighting spot at Sighisoara was pay and display parking from 7am.  In preparation we set a 6:45 alarm, at the sound of which I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.  Thankfully Matt has a more sensible attitude to alarms, so we succeeded in equipping the van with an all day ticket (5 Lei – about 80p/€1.10), and rested up for a couple more hours before going to see the town.

We walked up the nearby hill in pursuit of a fictitious castle that existed only in our imaginations (forgetting that the signs had actually specified Citadel and not castle), and found ourselves in the old town of Sighisoara.  The citadel/old town was made up of lots of cobbled streets and painted houses, and was altogether quite an attractive

Monday 24 August 2015

Vidraru Dam and Transfagarasan Pass

Romania, 18th – 20th August 2015

Seeing the Vidraru dam and driving the Transfagarasan Pass got set back a day due to the weather turning and bringing a lot of rain. We heard it in the night and it continued until lunchtime so we stayed put at our camping spot by the river. When it had faired up in the afternoon we walked around the corner to the nearby Poenari Fortress, another one that’s sometimes referred to as Dracula’s Castle. There’s 1480 concrete steps set into the hillside to get up to it and it’s 5 Lei (81p) to get in when you get to the top, but I managed to get a 2 Lei (32p) ticket with my student ID card. The building didn’t have a lot to see but there were great views from here over the start of the Transfagarasan. Near to it is a hydroelectric power station which will be for the Vidraru dam,

Friday 21 August 2015

Bucharest and Several Transylvanian Castles

Romania, 14th – 17th August 2015


Our trip into Bucharest didn’t start well due to on the bus ride in getting our tickets checked which we didn’t have at this point due to having nowhere to buy some. Bus tickets here are bought from booths on the street then validated by holding them up to a scanner on the bus, but from where we got on near the campsite there wasn’t anywhere to buy tickets so we thought we’d just get on and buy tickets when we could. Watching other people getting on the bus, very few of them validated tickets so we assumed most people hadn’t got any either so we’d be ok. Near the end of the journey though we got our tickets checked so explained we had nowhere to buy tickets where we got on and thought that we’d be able to get them on the bus. The ticket inspector said there was a ticket booth one stop on after ours, however we didn’t see one, (maybe you’re meant to get on a bus, get off to buy a ticket as

Thursday 13 August 2015

The Black Sea to Bucharest: Roaming Romania

Bulgaria and Romania, 11th – 13th August 2015

On our last day in Bulgaria, we went a little wild and allowed ourselves the luxury of a 10am lay in.    At our spot in Rusenski we were sheltered by trees and rocks on both sides, which meant the morning stayed a little cooler and made sleeping in very appealing.  I have never been able to call myself a morning person, and when we started this trip I was a little worried we’d end up spending a lot of mornings lazing about in bed because we didn’t have any schedules to be sticking to; so far

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Walking, Sightseeing and Camping in Bulgaria

Bulgaria, 6th – 10th August 2015

It’s like we’ve been driving on different roads in Bulgaria to everyone else, I can’t get over how good they are after expecting pot holes everywhere from what we’d heard, but barely encountering any. They’ve been in better condition than Greece and even Italy I’d say. Either there must have been a lot of road improvements in the last couple of years or we’ve somehow managed to avoid all the bad roads. The only exception has been some slip roads off the motorway in Sofia that had some nasty potholes. I’ve been keeping a closer eye on the speedo in Bulgaria in the lower speed limits, after Greece where nobody’s bothered, as I’d heard from other blogs that there are a lot of speed traps. A one point we got flashed frantically by an Audi Q7 coming the opposite way so guessed there was Police ahead, which

Thursday 6 August 2015

Monasteries and Mountains: Our Induction into Bulgaria

Greece & Bulgaria, 3rd – 5th August 2015

After a little over two months in Greece, it was time to move on and see some of Eastern Europe.  We entered Bulgaria expecting something of a blind spot; we have no campsite or freecamping books that cover the country, and our only map of the place is a small section in our Europe atlas that is less than A5.  For a country that is one of the poorest in the EU, we were expecting to want to get through the place rather quickly.  So far it has been surprising us, with lots of interesting things to see.  The fact that our sat nav happens to have fairly accurate road maps despite not listing the country in the terms and conditions is certainly an added bonus!

Sunday 2 August 2015

Halkidiki - Our Last Week in Greece

Greece, 25th July – 2nd August 2015

Halkidiki to the east of northern Greece has a central area of land with three peninsulas protruding to the south. Originally we planned to visit each but later heard that the first peninsula was highly developed so has little opportunities for motorhome parking and the third peninsula is owned by the church and covered with monasteries with restricted access only for men so was out of the question too.

Saturday 1 August 2015

The Monasteries of Meteora

Greece, 21st – 25th July 2015

One of the sights of Greece that had been recommended to us as a must-see was the grand monasteries at Meteora.  Far from the coastal routes we were used to taking, Meteora is sited several hours inland in the middle of the Thessaly plains—an area that would otherwise have little to appeal to sightseers.  This is changed by the existence of the rocks with sheer vertical faces that ascend into the skies, with improbably placed monasteries built at their peaks.