7th of June, 2018. Spent a short time in the Hungarian capital, then proceeded to north western Romania.
Budapest brought me back to life after that dreadful ride through the storms of the previous day. I spent a short time in the morning, shooting some photos around the Hungarian capital. An architectural delight with direct influences of styles from both the Roman and Ottoman Empire, the more that you look, the more amazed you’ll be at the level of attention given to the many structures that stand today. They make Australia’s century old “historic” structures seem meagre and plain in comparison.
My overnight accommodation was settled at Biker Camp, a sizeable residence-cum-hostel style property with a spacious grassy backyard, located in the heart of Budapest. Amenities were all very close by from this place, so exploring the city was a breeze. Great thing was that there was no need to handle any cash. The majority of shops accept card and, where EFTPOS is not available, the Euro currency is accepted in some places.
The hosts of Biker Camp were very happy to accept my Euros and they tried their best to converse with me with the very little English they could speak, which was very admirable. I wouldn’t hesitate return to Biker Camp again if I had a chance to ride to Budapest in the future; a highly recommended stopover.
One thing that I neglected during my time in Hungary was the compulsory e-vignette. It was totally my own mistake to have ridden across the country without it, particularly as there were many warning signs indicating that it is needed. Clouding up my judgement was the fact that vignettes didn’t apply for motorcycles in the Czech Republic, so I suppose I was wishful and stupidly convinced myself that the same applied for the law in Hungary.
The lack of proper research came at a stark disadvantage for me, and the storms that occurred the previous day didn’t really help much at a time when I just wanted to make it to my destination on time. The result of this lack of due care led to an eventual penalty notice sent to the bike’s registered address.
There was still so much for me to see and experience in Hungary, but I had so much more to see around Europe. My proclivity to cover wide distances, as I’ve done across Australia, was a mindset that I also brought along with me in Europe. At risk of becoming too comfortable in Budapest, I left the city and the country to fulfil other priorities. I had neglected natural landscapes so far in this Europe trip, so there was only one way from here: Romania!
Approaching the Romanian border, this was the first time that I had to present my passport as part of this journey on the R nineT in Europe. Although Romania is a member of the European Union, it is not yet part of the Schengen zone. I am more than happy to get a stamp in my passport, because it makes me feel as though I’ve really travelled to a different country!
The border crossing was not a concern at all for me as I rode on to Romanian tarmac; there was another issue that was infiltrating my thoughts. My aim was to cover as much distance as I could, so any free time had to be minimised. I began to avoid doing too many unnecessary fuel stops in order to cut down on overall travel times, but this strategy almost turned out to be a disaster in the sparsely serviced parts of rural Hungary and Romania.
I managed to find a fuel station after the border crossing area in Romania with barely any juice remaining in the tank. The tripmeter showing 46.8km after the low fuel warning lighting up, that figure was much more than I was expecting to get out of the bike. I shouldn’t be playing Russian Roulette with my fuel range; better to do those extra fuel stops than to push the bike for God knows how long to the closest available station. Gives me the shivers when I think of the potential consequences, had I come to a sputtering stop with nothing left.
By late afternoon, the first city that I approached in Romania was Timișoara, located on the western fringe of the country. Originally, I was hoping to have reached Sibiu by the evening so that I could be in close proximity to the interesting roads that cross over the Carpathian mountain range. Instead of toiling away with an unrealistic objective, I decided to set up camp early for the evening, knowing that I was in for another long ride for the next day.