I'm no longer homesick!!!!!!! As if by magic a few days ago I woke up feeling like Raquel again!! You've all been fantastic though with the mails, texts and messages so keep them coming but no more facebooks though I can't keep up with this that plus day to day e-mails!!!
So I think the last time I wrote was from Budapest and I was due to go for a night out....I assume you've seen the photos if not take a look...I know many of you have seen me like that before obviously the truck folk haven't and I was supposed to be out celebrating someone elses birthday!! It was fun and I needed it! Nicole I am welcome to go back to the city so it ain't all that bad but I'll be leaving it for a year or two first!! Basically a litre of wine was 80p..say no more, when returning to the camp lots of people heard a bang and a crash and I had to be picked up by two folk hence the scar photo, I had to be told this the next day mind after I had woken up in someone elses tent (on my own!!) Harry the hernia is fine god only knows why because I haven't had an alcohol free day yet. I have only taken one tablet since the trip began!
So back on the road again leaving Budapest the capital of Hungary for Romania country number 8 or is it 9??!! I know it sounds mad but I've completely lost track of the days it took 7 of us this morning to work out which day it was and where we had stayed two days previously, my brain is far from engaging, it's madness but I love it now.
So Romania. Very few expectations of this country but boy it's completely taken me by surprise it's been so random!! We arrived in the evening after a days drive for a bushcamp. Basically a bushcamp is a random field with no facilities such as toilets and running water. Umm trust me you get used to it!! We eat from the truck everyday a different group cooks after Kirsty our leader shops for the food and decides what we're eating. The food is grand and it's included in the cost of the trip two meals a day incl breakfast and we usually eat lunch locally depending on where we are.
So our first bushcamp in Romania in the middle of nowhere the unspoilt gem of Eastern Europe home to the continents largest population of BEARS outside of Russia...my group cooked food traditional (not) Romanian bangers and mash! Whilst we were cooking an old couple wandered up to the truck and invited all 32 of us to their home for drinks, in a fashion I acted as our interpreter and naturally jumped at the chance!! The experience was priceless. We all strolled over to their home which consisted of 3 rooms and an outside toilet. They were extremely poor but so so extremely kind, they brought out all the furniture they had and laid on a spread of meats, bread and urda (crumbling white ewes cheese) not fogetting their local home brew Pimlica a hard hitting Romanian firewater a cross between calvados and caustic soda...not a patch on black sambuca!! The photos don't do it justice as always but we had a ball. Their next party trick after trying to kill us with their home brew was to light a fire a get a lump of pig fat melt it over the fire and then drip it onto bread..I tell you people would have paid good money for it it's their version of a bacon sarnie... The old boy then wouldn't take no for an answer when he asked me to climb up on his horse very random indeed..the wife gave me her address and phone number (!!) so if anyone fancies a trip to Romania we have a place to stay!! I'm glad I made new friends and drank too much because it prevented me from sleeping with one eye open because believe me there were some very strange animal noises during the night and I wasn't the only person to hear them. The next morning the grandma bought the truck gallons of fresh milk from their cow which lives in a shed next to the horse...bless.
On the bumpy road again, next stop another bushcamp near Brasov, Romania, we had our first group fire and Nick got out the truck guitar and Martin passed around a bottle of vodka which he bought for a pound....more wolves and bear noises in the night and at first light after breakfast from the truck we got the hell out of the wilderness and headed for Brasov and the Romanian mountains....
We had a day in Brasov as a stop off on route to Draculas castle in Bran. Brasov was beautiful, stunning scenery. Whilst most folk wandered around the coffee shops I decided to drag Will, Av, Lorna and Des up to the hills and the Brasov "Hollywood' style sign. The cable car was shut so we had one hell of a climb ahead, an hour later we reached the top and I hope the pictures speak for themselves. I miss the gym and my classes so I'm doing as much walking as I can! There were no signs regarding the height we reached but down below in Brasov I was told we were 1500m above sea level on the ground.
We then left Brasov heading to Bran. We all move about on the truck and sit and speak with different people, for the next leg I went to the back of the bus the bumpy seats where at times you raise so far off your seat you hit your head on the ceiling. More entertaining is the looks we get from all the locals when they see our giant orange truck driving through, the windows are tinted so naturally I always open them up and we wave to the onlookers some wave back some don't! Some say "what are you doing where are you going" they look baffled when we say we're driving to Australia!! It's priceless I am so glad I didn't throw the towel in, no one has left yet but 6 people dropped out along the way last year so we've got a sweepstake running. Truck life is cool. I'm in the process of taking everyones photos whilst they sleep, yes it's annoying but I now get called over when someone dozes off. I have also started a wine club we have a kitty and each country we go to we buy in supplies of fine vino, there's a beer club too but I'm staying well away!! All the truck folk are cool I haven't managed to capture everyone yet but I will!! I've already made some good friends who I know will be lifelong.
Where was I..oh yep Brasov to Bran and the home of Draculas castle. What a load of old cobblers!! The castle itself inside has nowt to do with Dracula it's a complete tourist trap and there are loads of dracula pound shops outside. We were last in and the staff wanted to go home so were locking up behind us. The funny point came when I went into the shop to see how bad that was and found a couple behind the till kissing they completely ignored me so I left tutting!! I then went outside to the poundland area to buy a post card and I had to wait to be served because the lady was painting her friends fingernails!!
Bran has been firmly scrapped off the lists of places to re-visit!! A long drive yesterday brought us to the capital and our last stop in Romania, Bucharest. After 2 days of bushcamps we all needed showers! Thankfully the further east we go the less camping we'll do so hotels and hostels are on the way!!We arrived here late last night and we've spent today chilling. I'm currently in an extremely cool bar called Tonka. Bucharest itself is ropey and it feels dodgy but luckily we appear to have stumbled upon the hip area! Tomorrow country number 9 is on the agenda, Bulgaria, the transit then ends and we start spending weeks rather than days in each country....
Each day is different and I have already taken over 600 photos I'm addicted!! I hope all is well with everyone back home. Thanks again for the messages, Dad sorry I didn't answer your call but it would have cost a fortune I will be phoning home at the weekend when we reach country number 10 Turkey as we're in Istanbul for a few days.
Missing you all and wish you were here, please keep in touch!!
Mum and Dad I'm in good health I nearly got knocked down by an arctic lorry yesterday (people don't believe I'm a copper!) and have cut a quarter of a finger nail off but other than that I'm good and I'm not drinking too much!!