After eventually reaching Szeged and picking up some handy advice from a local biker – Doug’s plans took him across the Romanian border to reach Saliste, at the edge of the Cindrel Mountains.
Here’s what he got up to:
“Today is all about getting the head down, pounding out the miles and getting myself in position for the next couple of days.
I take a quick spin around the centre of Szeged before heading along the motorway towards the Romanian border. Every few km’s I see a sign reminding me that I need to have purchased a vignette (road pricing imposed on vehicles) to use this particular stretch of road. To be fair, I had also seen these signs for much of the road from Budapest to Szeged yesterday, but I believe all the overhead cameras were front facing. As I near the border a voice begins to niggle me, perhaps I’ll have to show the vignette on leaving Hungary? So, listening to that little voice in my head I stop at a service station in sight of the border control and spend the €8 for a ticket.
I shouldn’t have bothered. I roll up to the control booth on the Hungarian side, hand over my documents and was waved through in a matter of seconds. I pass through the Romanian side in similarly quick time and I’m on my way towards Arad, the first major town in Romania.
I stop to refuel, find a bank and get my bearings. I appear to have crossed a time zone and it’s an hour later than I had thought, better crack on as I have another 200 miles to cover today. ‘George’ the satnav has other ideas and for nearly an hour I go around the centre of the town multiple times.
Luckily I manage to find the main road east out of town. It doesn’t look like much and its heavy with lorries, but eventually the traffic thins and the road takes on some character. I start to follow the river Mures as it meanders its way through the countryside. Not a great road, especially with the traffic but it’s enough to keep you entertained. I stop a couple of times, once at a war monument, and once to refuel, but for what must be a good 150km this road just twists its way alongside the river.
Somewhere around Orastie it begins to rain, light at first, but soon enough it becomes heavier and I am forced to pull over to get the waterproofs out. I’ve been lucky, this is the first heavy rain I’ve encountered since leaving The Netherlands. This is a serious downpour and with my confidence having taken at hit on day 1, I am forced to slow my pace to a crawl.
I soon come to the decision that there is no way I can reach my target of Sibiu in this, so taking cover under the awning of a petrol station I get the phones out and search for a camp spot closer. I find one 35km short of Sibiu, that will have to do and off I set. Wouldn’t you know it, the sky clears but I’ve had enough for today and stick with the closer option. A few km’s from home for the night I spot a sign, and my spirits lift.”
Check out Doug’s trip so far on the map below. Click on the markers to view his photos.