Germany to Romania in next to no time

22 Sep

Having made the decision to get a move on to Romania to give ourselves time to travel the country properly we exited Cottbus in Germany on a major road heading straight into Poland.

Germany to Romania

To make up for the day lost our stop for the night was to be Krakow which meant a motorway day, something we usually avoided. We knew we had arrived in Poland, not so much by the usual sign at the side of the road, blink and you would miss it, but by the sudden deterioration in the road surface. Oddly the road surface on the carriageway going in the opposite direction seemed in much better condition. Jim reckoned that the orthodontic sector probably pay the road ministry to leave it like that as it was enough to rattle your fillings out. Riding on the main motorway to Krakow was an experience we have no wish to repeat. Suffice to say if you are not travelling at at least 85 mph get off the road because they will eat you up and spit you out. Our small hotel on the outskirts of Krakow provided us with somewhere to recover from the shakes and a fantastic meal and breakfast at a fraction of the price of the rest of Europe we had so far ridden through. We were ready to brave the next day.

Once off the motorway and out of the urban areas the local driving speed slowed a bit but the style of driving left a bit to be desired. Heading South towards Slovakia the road wends through a more mountainous region, the Tatra mountains and here there is evidence of the winter ski resorts with many Alpine lodges.

Quite a number of people about going walking which must prolong the tourist season and bring much needed money into the area. Beautiful as it was it had quite a false, contrived feel about it. On the Slovakian side it had a more rustic feel to it and made for pleasant riding towards our destination of Kosice. It was a little disconcerting that 2 road signs had Kosice crossed out but we carried on regardless. It would all be fine. Why on earth would they cross out the name of the most major town in the area. Then we found out why. The bridge across the river had been demolished and was being rebuilt. Okay, to turn back would mean a very long detour. Vehicles seemed to be coming from the other direction on a very narrow road alongside the river. We would follow that. At a junction declaring nothing over 2 tons should use the road, a quick calculation, and we figured we could use the road. There were still cars coming the other way, often on our road space but Jim reckoned it had to be a locals diversion only they knew about as there were no diversion signs and it would be okay. He was right.

Kosice is another historic town with a lovely square, where we counted no less than 5 weddings taking place in the cathedral and accompanying chapel. One after the other, with wedding parties walking through the streets. Not sure if they all ended up at the right receptions but it was a happy sight.

By the cathedral there is the musical fountain which is lit up at night, all very attractive, although I am sure I heard an ABBA song being played which seemed a bit odd.

The singing fountains of Kosice

One more day and we would make Romania, only Hungary to cross. Looking at the map the roads seem to follow very straight lines and it all looked a tad boring. Let the sat nav pick a route avoiding motorways or roads we needed to pay a toll and let’s see what happens (select ‘adventurous routing’ from the Garmin menu). Not the usual way we go but it may pick something more interesting than I could see on the map and would save us having to stop in a town to find some local currency for the day.


The sat nav decided to get its own back on us for all the times we have ignored it and done our own thing leaving it desperately ‘recalculating’ as it tries to figure out what we’re up to. It took us along all the narrow lanes and farm tracks it could find, where tarmac was not even known about and where after a night of heavy rain you could only guess at what lay beneath the surface of the water in any particular hole.

A mini adventure topped off by arriving at a river which had a little cable drawn ferry to get you across. Which of course you had to pay for!!! Jim went to the hut to try and decipher the costs and whether they would take euros (we have no Hungarian money). Answer … no. He spent some time chatting to a chap called Harcos who was in the van in front of us who, bless him, spoke to the ferry man and then offered to pay our fare. I offered to take his picture and he was thrilled with that, so we were all happy. The kindness of strangers.

Our Hungarian ferry
Saw this sign in Hungary. No idea at all what it means. Even the alphabet is unknown to us!
The arrival at the border to Romania was quite different from all previous European borders we had crossed. There was a border guard, who had probably not smiled in quite a while, but waited patiently while we unzipped all the layers of clothing to find our passports; the first time we’ve had to show them in quite a while. At the border there are kiosks everywhere ready to change your money and to sell you your vignette, needed to drive on many of the roads in Romania. A quick check on Google (thank heaven for 4G) and we were able to ascertain that motorcycles are exempt this fee. Not far to our destination of Oradea. Made it.

4 Replies to “Germany to Romania in next to no time

  1. Jim, the sign says Nyiregyhàza, which is the name of the town. However it is written in a local dialect, from the Székely people. The Language is localised to these people in this area, it’s a bit like Latin but reads from right to left.
    My wife is Hungarian and just gave me this brief.
    Loving following the adventures mate, best of luck with the rest of the trip.

    • Hi Andrew
      many thanks for that info, really helpful. The sign just looked so strange! I’ve never seen the like before. A friend of mine on Facebook postulated that it’s ‘Old’ Hungarian and even knew some of the letters but that was all he knew. I hope you won’t mind if I cut and paste your comment and send it to him, he’ll be pleased to get the info. Thanks for following the blog – we only ever started it for family mainly and our own records but others have enjoyed it so we try to keep it going. Most of the time we enjoy writing it (Jenny writes most of it, I do the tech bit and photos/vids) although sometimes it’s difficult to find the time or be bothered if we’re tired. Thanks again.

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