Our first set back of the day occurred as we navigated our way out of Szeged when we discovered that the ferry we were relying on to take us across the river no longer runs. As a matter of fact, it’s no longer even in existence!
Not feeling like tapping our inner Bear Grylls, we passed up on the idea of hacking down surrounding trees with our pen knives to build a raft and we opted instead to take a detour on what Peter describes as “some roads less travelled” ………..and indeed they were – with the exception of a few fast moving tractors with large, sharp implements which meant keeping our wits about us as we approached the bends in the road. Although these roads were tar, I’ve ridden some dirt tracks and unsealed roads that are in better condition, which forced us to adopt the “stand up on the pegs” enduro style of riding for a good few miles through the rolling countryside which in stark contrast to the day before now consisted of vast fields of vibrant yellow sunflowers, warm glowing wheat and verdant green maize stretching from horizon to horizon.
The detour was soon over and we were back on track, through the Romanian border and passport control and out into another world altogether. We should have had an inkling of what was to come when we passed mile after mile of huge trucks simply parked up waiting to cross the border as the queue inched slowly forwards. Well – the next hundred odd miles had us in the thick of it – with only a single lane of traffic in each direction for most of the route, the game of “make progress” began. We quickly found out that the manic Romanian drivers are a little more obsessive than we are about playing this game as they risked life and limb (including OURS on occasion) to fly past clusters of four or five heavy haulers in one go – oblivious to road markings, blind corners or road conditions. They were relentless and on numerous occasions we were forced to take a few deep breaths as uncaring drivers forced us out of position and bullied us into submission.
We finally made it to Sibiu a bit behind schedule as we had discovered when we stopped for a lunch break that we had crossed a time zone and had jumped another hour ahead. We did however discover a delightful town centre and are quite pleased that we have opted to stay an extra night here in anticipation of riding the road we came here for – the Transfagarresson – if the weather holds, today will be the day – time to confer over breakfast.