www.wgdfmcc.org.uk

West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 64 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2017

Bill's Bike Tours - Round Romania (Or 11 countries in 14 days)

Words and Photos By Bill Brown and Liz Avery-Brown

The Stats
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  • Bike 03 R1100S with 27K miles
  • Overall mileage 3505 50.8mpg
  • Rider:- Bill Brown
  • Navigator :- Liz “Tom Tom” Avery-Brown
  • Guided by Lonely Planet Guide book well worth it for Hotels etc
  • Hungarian Motorway tolls by Vignette bought at petrol stations for about £4 .00 for 4 days no sticker all works by camera detection. Austrian similar but show sticker, for 10 day period
  • Euro tunnel £20.00 pre-booked 110 Euros one way on the spot way back
  • Ferry £30.00 Norfolk line (The best)
  • Hotels to suit pocket
  • Fuel cost about as much as here
  • Autozug 364 Euros
The Tour

Day 1

Departed Chepstow at 4pm Tuesday drove to the Chunnel in just over three hours in the wet! Despite having to divert off the motorway to get fuel off the M25. Planning eh! Chunnel delayed as train engine broke down so loads of time, arrived France and drove to an Etap in Grand Synthe arrived to late to get food so had to make do with sarnies. Odd entrée procedure as no night staff. 220mls. 1st sign of trouble ahead the bike engine refused to turn over until I switched off and on again worried but decided to ignore!

Day 2

Departed to Dusseldorf next morning and had very slow ride through eternally long villages in Belgium eventually reaching dual carriageways and motorway :- was chastised by wife for buying petrol in Holland as much cheaper in Belgium, as if I could go back! Also encountered a prepay service station which was a bloody nuisance. Arrived at Autozug railway station Dusseldorf on time and as it was fairly well signed with few arguments. 270mls. The staff were a little officious but well organised with professional tying down crew, unlike the ferries they had a very good and safe system. Unfortunately the train was 1 hour late so we bought some beer and relaxed. We were lucky we had a cabin to ourselves but we could have had to share with anybody which I believe is not a pleasant experience with some of our rather louder European neighbours so pot luck there. Sleeping was nigh on impossible though and something akin to being in a cement mixer without the cement although we did arrive on time and the restaurant car was very good. Junker 52 flying overhead added interest.

Day 3

Unloaded in Villach after good breakfast on train

Slovenia was unexpectedly pretty and fairly rich looking. Lots of new houses and all brightly painted yellows and oranges, chocolate box scenery in some parts. Crossed over into Hungary via Croatia which was only notable by the border guards looking a bit fearsome. Getting hotter about 30deg.romania_bb_08_07x250 Arrived Ptuj very hot and bothered found Tourist information and then B&B. Welcomed by a very friendly lady who gave us a free litre of very acceptable home made wine. Evening meal was a pizza typical of Croatia being on a thick greasy type of bread a bit forgettable but Ptuj was pretty and worth the walk around. 125mls

Day 4

31deg today ran out of room to hang unwanted clothes on bike but the bungee net proved to be invaluable it’s a must have along with the airhawk inflatable seat I bought by then my rear end was hurting but nowhere near as much as it would have been. A must have! Rural Hungary was fascinating, Stork nests on telegraph poles in towns, 50 year old agricultural techniques and tiny farms. The scenery was boring being flat and agricultural so miles of maize and sunflowers but the people and farming made up for it. Arrived Szeged very very hot, “Tom Tom” flustered, but local biker stopped and assisted with directions. Put us in our place, turns out he had just arrived from Watford to Szeged in two days on a Fireblade! Mind you he said that was enough he was selling the bike and flying back! Szeged, beautiful art deco buildings abound and pretty town centre with Olympics on big screen for the town to share Hungarian glory. Applied anti mossy patches but a day too late! 330mls + 10000 villages.

Day 5 and 6

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Disaster, starting problems much more evident blamed cheap Hungarian fuel but alas became evident that the battery or starter were dying. Went to v helpful KTM dealer who helped take out battery and tested it, no charge. This proved the starter was the problem but it was by then 11:30 on a Saturday morning made it to local BMW as they were closing abandoned entering Romania till this was sorted. Drove to Budapest and found hotel near local BMW garage. Naff hotel and expensive but served our purpose. Budapest very big and easy to navigate went site seeing local Communist museum park, a road trip alongside the Danube and nearly came a cropper when the car in front stopped unexpectedly. Huge stoppy luggage and passenger included! Wow! 130mls Food in Budapest excellent and Metro OK

Day 7 and 8

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Arrived BMW Mon morn and ordered part fleeced for 48000Huff’s and went south to lake Balaton largest fresh water lake in Europe took 2 hours to exit Budapest in scorching heat melted engine paint and nearly us as well so many lorries and so little road! Eventually arrived Balaton Fured and stayed in ex communist hotel complete with furniture! Went cycling swimming drinking and eating great etc. Bikers all very friendly scooters HD’s and real bikers no barriers! 75mls

Day 9

Back to BMW and they fitted starter fleeced another 56000 Huff’s then off to Romania arrived Oradea collapsed in Italianesque café “Hungary and Romania are full of them” for non-alcoholic aperitif as zero tolerance all around. Was concerned over trip to Romania as max speed for bikes is 50kph but discovered that is only when going the wrong way down a one way street or similar certainly wasn’t in evidence on the road very few bikers though and hundreds of very smelly and aggressive lorries. Still 35deg or so. 300mls had to pay cash at hotel probably ran by local mafia!

Day 10

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Set off to do a reduced tour only two days left so drove north abandoning the black sea. And drove to Baia Mare found decent hotel in centre courtesy of guide book. Not a very scenic town as mostly communist buildings but interesting to be there. Romania is 2 hours in front of GB in time and about 60 years behind in terms of development along with the Mediterranean type of feel and possible a little of Morroco due to the Arab influence of past history. General country was still flat but agricultural practices and increasing numbers of horse drawn transport made it very interesting. The local transport was either a ancient Dacia car or a 20ft four lorry wheel horse drawn cart mixed up with very expensive modern cars. Mind you, you had to watch the roads as heat and lorries combine to move the road in waves to such an extent that some of the waves were 200 to 300mm high! People were very friendly. 150mls

Day 11

romania_bb_08_11x250Set off for the Maramures and 22kms of the bends over the Gutai Pass, great after a diet of straight bumpy roads for days, heading for Sata Mare. Wonderful carved gateways and houses and Alpine scenery. Local pastime was sitting on benches outside their houses watching traffic go by and chatting , must be good as everybody was doing it, cant imagine it on the A48 though. Traditional costume much in vogue. Visited an ex Communist concentration camp where the local land owners and educated were incarcerated. Very sobering especially as it was so recent. New respect for Romanians as they did fight back. Visited Deseti to see the Happy Cemetery as depicted in Michael Palin's tour of the area on telly, amazing to see the wooden crosses showing either how the people lived or died on them. Hay, horses and scenery great. 150mls

Day 12

Back into Hungary and cold. Accidentally found another 55kms of incredibly bendy roads that nearly exhausted me great! However whilst the first 30 km were good the next 20 were so rough that we could not really play at was enough to stay on the bike. Apart from this the scenery got flatter again and not as interesting as southern Hungary ended in Eger for interesting cultural tour of buildings not to mention the pedestrian-ised one way town centre making navigation interesting. Interesting town. 180mls

Day 13

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Drove to Vienna to stay with friends, flat boring sort of journey there, nice to meet friend though unaccountably don’t remember the evening, hic! 250mls

Day 14

On the way home, motorway madness then, set off in wonderful weather only to run into storm clouds and rain of continental epic proportions, nice to be getting nearer home. Stopped off in Ulm for the night in interesting historic hotel (planned) 370mls Austrian motorways were poor with lots of wind screens so reduced scenery and bumpy surfaces.

Day 15

Tom Tom in overdrive today using ancient maps to navigate Germany and France her chip went into overload and nearly exploded. However we made it avoiding as much motorway as possible into Saar Area to Gourmet hotel Wet trip and area very much like FOD. Fantastic food here but expensive, still we were planning this as a revival after “hard tack” in Hungary and Romania how wrong we were about that. 300mls

Day 16

Home very windy trip and very fast as tried and failed to meet ferry missed by about 45 minutes due to Murphy and Sod combining to add an hour to our planned trip. So took Chunnel back 450mls

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