Leaving Szolnok was easy, the roads virtually empty. I took it easy but it wasn't long after lunch that I came to the Romanian border. There was quite a queue of trucks, but few cars and with a just a quick glance at my passport and the usual comment about travelling alone, I was into Romania, a country I have not been to before.
I quickly found an ATM machine at a garage a few hundred metres beyond the border and withdrew some local money. Although Romania is a full member of the EEC it does not use the €uro although I'm told many will accept them. The local currency is the "Lei" the exchange rate being about 4.4 Lei to €1. Once past the usual mass of exchange offices, cafe's and such like that litter many borders, I found the roads to be quite good and the buildings quite 'European' but that was soon to change. I found a campsite on the GPS at a place called Silnus about 40 kilometres from the the large town I was passing through called Oradea. Once through Oradea and into the countryside the houses changed from European standard to that of late 19th century or early 20th century. Many seemed to be of timber construction, looking tired, weather worn and in need of some maintenance. The roads deteriorated rapidly. Huge sections were nothing more than cobble stones, the Tarmac covering long worn away. Just as I was thinking how bad the roads seemed, they got worse, reduced to rough potholed stony tracks, more in keeping with those I'd driven while in Africa. Some of the potholes so big that a team of speleologists could have explored!
Eventually after a very slow drive I came to Camping Vineyard, a small rustic site amongst the trees. There was no sign of any vines though. Although rustic the site had all the facilities I needed including a lovely hot shower. It was still around 30C so it didn't take me long to set out my chair and settle down with a nice cold beer.
The rain woke me in the night, a clap of thunder and a couple of lightning flashes. It rained throughout the rest of the night and by the breakfast time it looked set to continue throughout the day. Following a lazy breakfast and a lovely hot shower I left Camping Vineyard mid morning. The roads were rough, the potholes filled with water making driving interesting for the first 20 kilometres. Joining the main E60/1 highway I headed south towards Gilau, where I'd found another camping site on the GPS. I passed through a number of quite large towns along the way, one had some amazing houses with elaborate roofs, another dozens of small shops next to one another and all selling the same things, wickerwork baskets, wooden items and children's toys. How they all make a living beats me, perhaps they don't, as some looked really run down.
Camping Eldorado is just off the main road, hopefully it won't be too noisy overnight. The site is Dutch owned and quite large, with plenty of room for motorhomes, caravans and tents as well as having a number of small wooden chalets to let. There were a couple of caravans on the site and one Motorhome, but by early evening several more arrived, all Dutch. Wifi was available in the restaurant area, logging on I met an English couple who were on a long distance cycle trip. Very keen cyclists, they spend a couple of months every year touring somewhere in Europe. It was nice to talk about cycling and touring in general.
I picked up some information from the reception about things to do in region and there seems to be a good few things to do, trekking, biking, caving and climbing. There is a national park not too far away where there are a good many walks, which sounds a like a good idea and which could be good for a few days if the rain stops.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle, living and traveling full time in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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