High Stakes

Sighişoara, Romania
We found ourselves in Romania almost inadvertently. Once we had located the ferry that would carry us across the Danube, we were reluctant to miss one of it’s infrequent crossings. But we had nowhere specific to stay other than a possible riverside campsite. Apart from the thorny ground and precipitous fall to the river, this turned out to be a lovely spot to bathe, watch the sunset and guzzle some Romanian wine.

Our next adventure was going to see Vlad the Impaler (the savage ruler who inspired Dracula). Actually he wasn’t at home, so we took a look around anyway. The thing that confused us the most about visiting his mountain-top lair was our armed escort. You could only visit at two specific times of day. Everyone would queue at the gate by the roadside and wait. Then a tooled-up policeman would start walking up the switchbacks. Everyone would follow. Behind the group another gun-toting cop would prowl menacingly.

There were a couple of issues with this configuration. One was that our point man seemed to find the ascent physically challenging. So we all climbed at a snail’s pace, stopping regularly in a long, weary human snake. The second issue was that we couldn’t work out why we needed these dudes. What type of bullets were they carrying in their guns? Silver? But that would be for werewolves. Wooden bullets? Would they kill a vampire? And surely we wouldn’t have to worry about any of them during daytime!

Next en route was the famous Carpathian Mountains and the Transfăgărăşan pass. This oversubscribed noodle of a road carries you up and over some amazing peaks via a pretty little hilltop lake. Just managing to stay ahead of the black weather front, we shimmied our way down the far side and into some more stunning Romanian towns.

This was where we hooked up with our next supply drop, this time from the antipodes. Laden with technology, edible treats and many family generations, we settled into Cluj for a couple of days with Anna. A short road trip in convoy took us to the border before we were ejected once more out of the EU.

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