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Romanian Odyssey – With Volkswagen Golf to the Romanian Coast of the Black Sea

At first we were planning to get to Satu Mare on motorbikes and to visit the region of Maramureș. However, our plans were soon verified by reality; our acquaintances withdrew from the project at the very last moment. As we did not really feel like spending our holiday at home, we took advantage of our mechanical ‘oldi’ and hit the road in direction of the Dracula land.

We left Upper Silesia in the evening. Soon we crossed the Czech Republic, and driving through Slovakia turned out to be a real nightmare. Not without reason they say that there are more uniform services in Slovakia than inhabitants. Every now and then we came across the traffic police equipped with radar or a border patrol. Finally we were also stopped. The end of that adventure was that our documents were only checked and we were told that our car was ‘just ideal’ for the Romanian roads. After 9 hours driving without any break we landed in the middle of some Hungarian field not far away from Debrecen and fell asleep in the car very soon.

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ATTENTION! Everyone who visited Romania or is planning to go there soon is kindly invited to contribute to this guide. Any inquires regarding this matter should be referred to the editor's address redakcja@libertas.pl.

Finally we are approaching the border. A uniformed guard was not deeply interested in our travel documents. A few meters behind the check point we bought a weekly electronic vignette for 5 Euro. In Oradea we had our ‘baptism of fire’. The driving habits of Romanian drivers leave much to be desired. Everyone drives on his own way; overtaking the other vehicles and cutting off is in this country as natural as allowing the pedestrians to go on zebra crossings in Poland.

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After having passed every next kilometer we come to the conclusion that Romanian roads are in better condition than Polish highways. The ideal asphalt, wide driving track allow us to cover the next kilometers quickly. We are exchanging cash in some restaurant. Driving on the main roads is a pure pleasure. With bated breath we are admiring the views, the changing mountain landscape. On the way we are passing by people selling grapes, big mushrooms, apples and even a man offering kitchen accessories made of metal. We are coming across a lot of motorcycles and making the promise to come back here again on our two-wheeled vehicle just to negotiate so many sharp bends.

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A more difficult road starts a few kilometers before Sighișoara. The entire road section is under repair, the diversion runs along a byway which is not in the best condition. After three hours of a monotonous, slow ride we are finally reaching our destination. Instead of sleeping in the car we choose this time a hotel called Transylvania. After being accommodated we are going to the city. The entire urban complex is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We are meeting a lot of tourists. Mid-September seems to be the season’s end in Transylvania. Life is going here slowly forwards.

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On the next day we are visiting the Old Town without hurry. We are taking a lot of pictures; without a map we got lost for a few times, but we feel safe. Nobody cares for us especially; everyone is about their own business. In a local shop we are buying a delicious, white dessert wine. We are making the decision to have our dinner in the hotel restaurant where we are being served a chicken stew, the beer Ursus and baked bananas.

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Sunday means for us an interesting daylong trip along the Romanian coast. On the way we are visiting Brașov that we call a “Romanian Hollywood” since the name of the city is situated high on a mount as its American prototype. We are entering the mountain pass Paraul Rece. There we are taking a commemorative picture and regret again not having a motorcycle with us. The sharp curves in here are just excellent for endless motorbike rides. The landscape is gradually changing. The alpine one is turning into a lowland one.

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After having left the highway, crossed the Danube River which cost us circa 11 RON we are reaching Eforie Nord and our hotel. This tourist resort is situated 13 kilometers south from Constance. We are getting a room on the 5th floor with a view at the Black Sea. Its is here much warmer than on Transylvanian hill-sides. We feel some blindsided seeing quite large amounts of waste on the beaches and a lot of homeless animals that we can often see in Romania. As an animal lover I often give them additional food and finally, full of tears, I am making the decision to take some of them to Poland. In the end we are coming back without the dog and the little cat since we are afraid of the border control.

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On the next days we are walking on the beaches, collecting shells, taking sunbath and swimming in the sea. In one word, we are taking rest. We are visiting Constance and are impressed by the harbour and the great enterprising spirit in using the EU funds. The park is being repaired, new layers of asphalt - laid and monuments - renovated. New hotels and restaurants are emerging.

Resuming one can say that this country has been constantly renovating, repairing and building something. On the pier in Mamai we are meeting a couple of retirees and in Magnalia we are greeting some motorcyclists from Kielce. The weather is pretty kind to us. Whilst Poland is struggling against the September chill we are enjoying the sunny weather.

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On the way back to Poland we are only driving through Bukovina and Maramures. Those mountains seem to be a carbon copy of the Polish Beskid Mountains. We are truly fascinated by Romania and already thinking of coming back there again, this time on our motorcycles.

Sylwia Krakówka
Translated by Jacek Konopka.
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