Day 7 – The Adventure Begins
May 27, 2012
Day 7 = May 26 and this is where the trip really starts. After 2,500 km on very nice freeways from London to Budapest and on to the HU/RO border, the road into Romania becomes single-track each way, passing smack through the middle of the towns, there are farmers with horses & carts, and old tractors with bizarre dangerous agricultural implements pull out in front of you. The lorries, confined to the slow lane on the freeways, now overtake one another, using the single lane in the opposite direction to do so. Driving is of lower quality, and some drivers are markedly aggresive. The villages have 50kph speed limits, and even on the fast stretches of road I will never again get the bike up into its 6th gear.
Holdups of 15 minutes frequently occur on the single-track road, one today was caused by a new bridge girder being temporarily placed across the road before adopting its usual “on the bridge” position.
Here’s four of the riders: Hugh, Millsy, Michelle and Bernard, holding up the traffic while they try to work out how they got there with only 3 bikes
But this is the holiday we set out to have – obscure roads, remote communities, different ways of life, driving not so easy – and most of the remaining 98 days will be like this. We are trying to work out how to stop and TAKE PHOTOS of things, because if you stop the other bikes will keep going on so how do we manage this? And there will be no more tanking along at a sustained 130 kph, just as well as I have cooked my drive chain, in the picture below note its rusty colour, oil-free texture, and on the sprocket the teeth have become annealed with the heat. Tomorrow I’ll have to beg some oil and lubricate it. Yes I do have a spare with me, but I have covered only 10% of the distance!
So today we are in Timisoara, a large industrial city. Many Romanian towns have magnificent central squares and civic theatres and the like. Here’s an ornate building in our city centre – look at it full size and note the bullet holes, at the top of the front facade, either side of the central thingy; there were evidently snipers up here in the revolution of 1989.
Here’s Timisoara main church and the memorial to the town’s Heroic Martyrs of the 1989 revolution, with fresh wreaths.
Inside the church the priest was intoning wonderfully, a few people stood transfixed to the spot and the interior, chandeliers and altarpiece are covered in gold. This is an Orthodox chiurch and only the priest gets to be near the altar, you can’t go near and a screen separates the altar from the main space. Look at this, just imagine the atmosphere. I was impressed, even though I’m not religious.
Tomorrow on to Sighisoara for two nights, a well-preserved medieval town (so it may not have internet)