After I left Walter and Marcin it initially felt very strange being alone. In contrast to their ascent into the mountains and subsequent fall in temperature my day became ever hotter as I took an unmarked road west across Southern Romania from Calafat to Turnu-Severin. I was surprised by the interesting architecture of the houses and found this area of the country to be a delight. The Danube was never out of site as I made my way onwards to Timisoara. Progress was slower than I had anticipated because Romania is currently undergoing a large road building program. Some of it is finished but there are long sections of gravel and potholes. You can be cruising along at 50 or 60mph and without warning the good road runs out and you find yourself on a dirt track. Approaching surprise off road sections above 100kmh is a new experience for me
I reached Timişoara in the early evening and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Wikipedia describes the city as “Little Vienna”, because it belonged for a very long time to the Habsburg Empire and the entire city center consists of buildings built in the Kaiser era, which is reminiscent of the old Vienna. Timişoara is an important university center with the emphasis on subjects like medicine, mechanics and electro-technology. An industrial city with extensive services, it was the first mainland European city to be lit by electric street lamps in 1884. It was also the second European and the first city in what is now Romania with horse drawn trams in 1867. There are numerous claims that Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, built one of Timişoara’s footbridges over the Bega.
As dusk began to take hold I found myself in the open country again. I toyed with camping but was mindful of the fact that every time I stopped I was always seem to attract stray dogs who were often hostile to my presence. I must have stopped 3 times to take a photo and each time a snarling dog or 5 would appear from a rubbish heap at the side of the road or from an alley in a village.
I looked at my map and felt I could easily get to Hungary and press on to either Budapest or Bratislava. With a firm resolve and a can of red bull I fired up the F800 beast and got going towards the Hungarian border. I also had the small issue of only possessing Euro’s. I had a finite amount of funds left and so I thought it best to take all the cash from my accounts instead of having a situation where a card was rejected. That way I knew the score. Ideally I needed to get to the Eurozone but I knew I didnt have enough fuel to get me to Slovakia. I managed to negotiate with a kind lady at the Shell petrol station to give me fuel for Euros. It was a win win deal
By midnight I was rolling into Budapest. I felt I was not doing the city justice by riding through it so late but figured I would be back in a touristic capacity as It is very close to Austria. By now I was totally in the red bull zone and eyed Slovakia and Austria with renewed vigour. I had been riding since 10am and it was now well into the small hours. I decided that although boring the Autobahn was the safest place to be and as I entered Austria picked up a vignette for the bike. They only had a 10 day option but considering some of the fees I’ve had to pay at borders recently I reckoned €4.50 was a steal.
I lost a few hours to delirium and can’t remember the journey from Vienna to Amstetten (recently made infamous for all the wrong reasons by Josef Fritzl) A flickr contact in the area told me that section of Autobahn is infamous for people falling asleep and crashing due to either its design, the distance between rest stops or perhaps strange energies.
To cut a long story short I arrived in Linz at 7am and was warmly welcomed by my girlfriend and her family. I was offered a warm shower and a warm bed and for me Sibirsky Extreme Europe was almost at an end.