Dracula and the top gear road shenanigans
Trip Start Mar 28, 2011
97Trip End May 27, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We drove through Hungary and reached the border of Romania in the evening. Lucky the crossing was still open, it was the first time since arriving in Ireland I had my passport looked at! I was given 2 stamps, one for my tourist visa, and the other for the car entry. It didnt take too long which was good. We found a place to sleep on the roadside next to a petrol station. At about 8am two guys came and stole petrol from the petrol truck parked next to us. It was funny watching them syphon the petrol out and end up spitting it out for ages. We drove off pretty soon after incase they got caught and somehow we were implicated.
The drive to the famed Transfargen road was an easy one, but long. Late afternoon we arrived at the bottom of it, and started the climb to the first tourist village on it about 10kms up the mountain. By the time we reached it, and brought an armful of useless souvineers, the car was making a strange smell and we realised we hadnt topped up the oil in awhile. We had to drive the 10kms back down the mountain to the nearest petrol station to buy some, then head back up the twisted roads to reach the campsite at the top. Unfortunatly, in that short time fod and cloud had come and settled over the hills in an eerie blanket of white. We inched our way back up the mountain slowly, hazards blinking the whole way and squinting through the murky cloud. A lot of cars had pulled over, considering it was too dangerous to drive perhaps, but most kept at it.When were were almost at the top we noticed a strange hue of light above us and realised the sun was just above us and the thick clouds were coming to an end.There was spontanious camping at the summit along without a row of shops selling more tacky souvineers and bread and honey, We hit up the local restaurant and brought 6 beers to drink back at our random campsite across the road, and pitched our tent. There were already about 30 people camped up there, most had small fires going, one group of romanians were partying the night away to our left and a group of hikers had just arrived in front of us, pitching their tents in near darkness. We cracked open a cold beer while I cooked dinner, chicken korma from a can. It was surprisingly nice, i’m not usually fond of packet meals, i feel like its cheating, but it tasted fantastic, and had decent sized lumps of chicken in it, so who can complain at that!
We settled in to sleep about 11pm only to awake about 12am with the tent caving in on us, the wind had picked up and was coming through the peak in great gusts. One minute the tent was fine and the air peaceful, the next it was a raging tornado hell bent of pulling our tent over.We walked around the tent looking at ways to stabalise it when Rachel thought she had seen something in the distance, we ran and jumped in the car in a blind panic. Barry had no idea what was going on. We later decided the most likely thing it could have been, was a dog. oops.
We slept in the car that night, but it was for the best. not only was the tent blowing in dramatically, but once we were safely locked in the car, it started raining, slowly at first, then in great big drops that bounced off the windscreen keeping us awake a little longer. Anything was better than being in that tent though. About 2am Barry woke up to the lightening and thunder, it was clapping all around us, literally, we were sleeping in the middle of our very own lightshow. It cracked down to the ground just meters from the car, before a loud boom overhead signalled the thunders presence. He tried to take photos, but the light was so blinding, it mostly just looks white.
The next morning the clouds had barely budged but we attempted to get a few shots of the famous section of road from the top of the mountain before driving through the tunnel to go down the other side. The road going back down was just as spectacular, twisting and turning its way down the rocky slope before coming to thick forest and crossing the top of a dam.
Closer to the end of the Transfargen road it became riddled with potholes and roadslips on the sides, in some places rocks had fallen from the cliff face above. The roads further out wernt too much better, on the way to Brasov we encountered roads with deep gashes across them, one was pretty much a ramp in the middle of the road dropping down almost a foot to the rest of the road. We stopped at a roadside rest stop to make lunch just outside a small village. A stray dog came straight over looking for food, the poor thing was more scared than anything, so we gave him our leftover cans from the korma dinner the night before, and once we cooked up our spaghetti bolognaise, we put a nice big pile down for him to eat. A hot home cooked meal must have been heaven to the poor thing.
We stopped in Bran to check out Draculas castle, which actually had nothing to do with Dracuala, it was once a royal palace! But it was a fantastic little castle, we were left to our own devices to wander around the building ,poking our heads into rooms and opening draws of furniture. We stopped to pickup another doll and magnet for Barrys mum and a shot glass for rachels collection.
Brasov was a slightly bigger town, we ate dinner there and wandered around the cobbled streets before driving a few miles out to park in a truck stop for the night.
The next day we had to drive back to Budapest in the hopes Barrys atm card had arrived (it had)