On the border of Romania along the E60 sits Oradea, a place that isn’t even nice to be from. The stench of the fields mingles with the acrid smoke of the steel works to form what can only have be a lethal sulphur/methane cocktail that is best enjoyed while sitting in one of the extensive traffic jams that surround the town. Small wonder the Hungarians handed it over to the Romanians in the 1920’s. We reminded ourselves that we really want to like Romania; it is after all the first place we had to show our passports and Swifty’s documents. Within 50 kilometers we were rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery on the trip so far. Transylvania’s quaint villages, rolling forested hills, hand hewn hay ricks and horse drawn carts are straight out of Young Frankenstein. What’s more we’re feeling really good about fulfilling our quest for a fortune teller.
The language here appears more familiar and the tones more southern, pastels and terracottas. The roads, despite warnings to the contrary, are just fine. While they are still building some of the nicest highways in Europe those main arteries aren’t linked all the way to Bucharest, yet. However, the main roads are in generally good shape and the drivers quick on the horn if in their opinion you’re moving too slowly. Waking up with the sun after a restful night in a field of wildflowers, blue asters and white cow parsley, gave us a charming lesson in sustainability. A handsome couple well into their 70’s pulled up softly with their horse to gather some feed, he with a scythe and she with a pitchfork. They took 20 minutes to fill their buckboard and then left us with a smile and a wave.