It’s probably one of the hardest step in a long trip like the one we are undertaking , goodbyes. Partner, family, friends. Their presence makes us feel our daily lifes safer and it’s the first comfort that we must let go.
Oh, but you’re probably wondering who we are. Romain and Benoit, we just turned 30, we’re from Marseille and we’re leaving. We’re leaving by bike, to roam our pretty planet and meet the beautiful people who populate it. We would like to find people that...no in fact, I’m not telling you more, you will know soon enough troughout this story. So.. Let’s go !
Romain moved the stuff he had accumulated over the 6 past years in Romania to France. Lucky guy, his companie’s car was avalable. Nevertheless, we had to bring the car back to Bucharest, so this is how our adventure begins, with a road trip, bikes in the boot.
We are in Marseille, the sun is strong, really strong for october 3. It’s 2 pm and we finally start, heading to Venise, Italia. There is about 800 km separating us from our first stop, so, sadly, we won’t have time for a visit of the Serene, but it’s ok, we’ll take a raincheck on that. The road was good, we made it trough the first 113 km of highway A10, made of 67 tunels and 90 bridges, without any pitfall.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. Romain had been living in Romania for almost 6 years. Benoit was alternating between France and Canada. Despite the twinge getting harder at every new thought for our loved ones, we’re feeling a great common joy of being back together. We must say that we’ve shared school benches, from the time we were 7. We know each other very well, since a long time, and we’re about to live a common dream, a child’s dream. We arrive at the stroke of ten, we’ve booked a room in a B&B. We drop our stuff and leave to quench our thirst with a good beer at the corner’s bar and then head to bed.
Waking’s at 8:30 the next morning. We eat a breakfast that was kindly prepared by our host, groom, pack our stuff and jump back in the car, it’s 10.
It’s a little colder then the day before at the same time, but the weather is still very clement. It’s noon when we go through the Slovenian border. To use the country’s highways, it is necessary to own a vignette, the same way it works in switzerland. We take the opportunity to ask the customs officer if she could give us the address of a typical restaurant, what she does with a big smile. Clearly, we’re not at the american borders. Arrived on spot, it’s closed...
It’s ok, we’ll do a slightly bigger detour, and the capital is beautiful. We already had the chance to visit Ljubjana together a couple years before, but this time, a cold rain is falling when we arrive, so the stopover will be short. It is not a bad thing, after all, we haven’t even reach the middle of our journey today. Meals swallowed in a hurry, we set off again.
It’s 8 o’clock pm, it was a long road but here we are in Budapest. What a pretty city. Crossed by the Danube, it is the result of the fusion of its two banks, Buda and Pest, in 1873. Despite the fact that it’s thuesday, we feel a very unusual atmosphere in the streets. Around a street’s corner, we enter in a bar that was actually an old abandonned building, that had been transformed into a huge bar. Simply incredible. It seems that this type of establishment have multiplied these past years in the Hungarian capital. It’s the kind of place that, by its own, makes you want to settle here. Fatigue is very present and lots of kilometers are still ahead of us, so we go to sleep before the party gets us. We’ll come back, for sure. To talk very frankly withyou, we wanted to reach our final destination in one day after reaching Budapest, but it was without considering the Romanian roads, a little detail. In fact, there are few highways, and you often get stuck on small roads with only one track, behind a flock of trucks that are using the only way available, the same as yours. It will than be Sibiu for tonight. But what a great surprise. The small city is clearly wonderful. This instantly makes us realise that the image of Romania in our native France is profoundly wrong. This country has a charm that few people suspect, and the rest of the road was about to confirm that.
Last day of the journey. 300 km to go, of which most was in the Carpathians. The splendor of these mountains leaves you speechless, or rather filled with « Oh », « Wahou ». and other onomatopoeias. We are going at an average speed of 60 km/h, but it’s more of a chance than a labor. We drive along the river Arges, which takes its source in mounts Fagaras and flows into the Danube. Its beautiful. I’m sure you would have like it as much as we did.
That’s it, we finally get to the Romanian’s capital, Bucuresti. At every visit, I get the same feeling. The city resemble a succession of damaged buildings – with a huge potential – and buildings of whom this potential had already been exploited, often by the youth. Besides, I’m always amazed by the creativity of the youth here. I like to say that Bucharest is to Europe what Brooklyn was to New-York. Populated by artists, it’s a sensationnal and still unknown creativity nest. It will for sure become the new Berlin. The program now ? We stay here for four days. Romain does his last preparatifs and says goodbye to his friends. We leave on Monday. This time, it’s the real departure and it starts in Istanbul.
Are you ready ? Us, we are on fire.