Romanian Roadtrip

ever get the feeling someone is watching you?

Part 1 – Join me on the road in Transylvania…

I’m sure we’ll laugh about it …eventually.

An ambitious plan – some may say foolhardy…. Flew from Corfu 9.30 am to Budapest. Why, you say? It was the only way we could connect into Sibiu, Transylvania (mwahhhh).

There was a narrow window of time (1.5 hours) in order to connect with the bus from Budapest, which is always somewhat stressful. I am not sure what happened but we had priority boarding, which gives you the privilege of standing on the tarmac in the sun for the longest time, waiting for a bus to ferry you to the plane. We watched the busses come and go, and stood there in the blazing sunshine like Cinderella. We missed our takeoff timeslot. The window edged closer to shut.

Unlike Ryanair, we did eventually get underway, arrived in Budapest with 5 minutes to go. We then caught a break – Budapest is one hour behind Greece. This left us extra time to run around Budapest airport trying to find the FlixBus stop. These are the answers I got when asking the tourist information desk, the bus transfer desk, a security guy, some randoms having a gasper, where the bus stop was.

(1) Upper level, outside departures
(2) No idea
(3) Downstairs, front of arrivals
(4) Downstairs, between the two terminals.

One would imagine a bus stop, large company, MAY have some signage, but you would be sadly mistaken. We settled on answer No. 3, which was of course incorrect. By this stage I was distrustful to say the least of all of the answers given because bottom line, no one really cares about you and your problems. I crossed the road to check whether there were any depots in the car park area.

Prior and during this fun process, we noted that there was a supermarket at the airport, and thought, as the bus trip was 11 hours, we may need to get some supplies, especially as we did not have any Romanian Leke (nor Hungarian Florints for that matter – but an airport will usually take euros). I was dispatched on this mission.

I have found it to be a curious phenomenon that signs showing you the direction to something will conveniently disappear, leaving me wandering around in ever decreasing circles looking for a damn supermarket, I mean, how do you hide a supermarket? You hide it by putting it in another terminal. Around half way there I realized there would not be enough time, and purchased some horrifically expensive baguettes from a chronically disinterested woman in a café, who worked at one speed and it wasn’t the speedy one. She ended up giving me the wrong ones just as a sidenote. But now I was running the length of the airport concourse clutching two baguettes and a bottle of water when I spied the big green bus entering ON THE TOP LEVEL. Screaming at Steve across the busy taxi/bus lane, we grabbed the bags and tried to run up the stairs toting the suitcase and backpacks along with mayonnaise-leaking baguettes, handbags, water bottles and the like.

After a short “discussion” about the lack of signage, we boarded the bus to Sibiu, an epic 11 hour jaunt. Our passports were taken by the officialdom at the border between Hungary and Romania which is always a worry, but we have them back. We stopped at one bus stop where a lady was churning out some delicious looking sausage things in roti bread but didn’t have the local currency, so spent a bucket of euros on dry biscuits.
On we went through Romania, through some very pretty countryside, pretty towns and some dismal cities. It will be an interesting time.


Sibiu Streetscapes….

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

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