29.05.2012 18 °C
I didn't have the best sleep, partly because I knew I had to get up early, and partly because I was worried about my day ahead. I had reserved a seat through the internet, but knew that it wasn't without risk. The bad news is, I left my adapter plug in Budapest, so if I can't find another one here tomorrow, that will be the end of the blog.
I took the underground to the bus station and once I'd found the station, I then had to find my bus. Just when I was starting to think the worst, I found it at the last departure stand. The driver looked a bit like an alien had just landed when I showed up, but I got on the bus and off we went. Well, it wasn't really a bus.
It was a very long drive, made longer when the driver managed to inform me via a Romanian passenger who could speak English, that I had to transfer buses in the first town across the border, and then transfer to another in the next town. I tried not to panic, and decided if I could make it to the second town, I'd be OK. However, a few phone calls were made and then before I knew it, they had arranged for another bus to meet me in the first town and deliver me to my hotel. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had the interpreter! It was a bit unnerving when the guards took my passport at the border (I was just hoping they wouldn't look at the photo), but I soon had it back, and we were off again.
Flat land gradually gave way to hills and the highway gradually gave way to small roads where trucks roared past, seemingly just inches away. We stopped once, where I managed to get a packet of bacon chips and a bounty bar for breakfast (that was the best choice!). When we reached Satu Mare, I changed to another shuttle bus and sat next to a young Romanian university student who told me lots of things about his home town (where we were headed) and Romanian culture and history.
He pointed out the Ukraine to me, so I had to take a photo. It's the town you see in the distance!
So, after 10 hours traveling, I finally made it to Sighetu Marmatiei, the very centre of Europe. My first impressions of Romania are that it reminds me a lot of Mexico. This area at least seems similar, with people sitting in the sun, chooks galore, women wearing headscarves, happy dogs lying about, and people selling fruit on road-side stands.
I've heard the people here are very friendly, and there is a beer somewhere with my name on it, so I'm about to go and find out. Fingers crossed I find a new travel adapter tomorrow.