Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199707 Italy Slovakia Hungary Romania

TUESDAY 1 JULY 1997 – Went to collect aqua park tickets and the awkward man who checked us in had marked our forms 10% discount instead of the tickets  Finally managed to sort it out with new receptionist and we now get both the discount and tickets (get the feeling we were being conned).  Got to Aquatica entrance and they tried to charge us a reduced price instead of it being free – again after much hassle we got in for free.  Nice Aqua Park, fairly quiet.  Went on every slide a number of times.  Nice ride with a toboggan where they shoot you down a steep slide and you skim over the pool.  Hot all day with just a few clouds.  Checked out the restaurant at Aqua Park for an evening meal.  Menu of the day 18,000 lire (£7).  Went back for meal which was very good but the bill showed separate prices for each course totally 23,000lire.  Waiter said 18,000 were lunchtime price for everyone or evening price for aqua park staff!  Again we had to argue to get the price that was shown.  Don’t know if this is typical of Milan or they don’t like English here but we certainly felt they were trying to rip us off at every opportunity. 

MILAN CAMPSITE

 

WEDNESDAY 2 JULY – Left site around 2pm to take Sandra to the airport.  Saw more roadside prostitutes on outskirts of Milan baring their boobs (or maybe they were topless sunbathing).  Dropped Sandra off and drove to Vicenza to U.S. base Ederle.  We had been told they may be able to help us with the ABS problem.  Arrived at 6.15pm but the garage closed at 6.00pm.  The nice MP on the gate said we could stay overnight on base in the military campsite.  Quite a few other Americans are camping here ready for the 4th July celebrations, which start tomorrow.  Had a walk to cinema, bowling, PX and burger king.  Game of bowling only $1.50.

VICENZA, EDERLE U.S. BASE 54 MILES

 

THURSDAY 3 JULY – Woken at 6.30am to “Reveille” – worse than Butlins.  Went shopping and bought loads of pop (24 cans of Pepsi $2.99).   We didn’t have the correct ID when we got to the check out but a kind man behind us put it on his bill and we paid him back.  Luckily I brought a selection of currencies with us so had plenty of US dollars to pay with. We used the laundrette (very cheap $1.75 huge wash and $1 dry) and at the garage got an oil & filter change on engine and generator. The man who operates the ABS testing machine was not working until Monday so I went to ask permission to stay on the base until then.  That was when we found out we should not have been there at all.  The deputy chief of police interviewed me and could not understand how we had “infiltrated” the camp last night and whilst it was not our fault we certainly could not stay any longer.  He did however direct us to an American truck dealer in town who could help.  .  The American truck dealer “Carolli” was just closing for lunch when we arrived at 11.45 and said come back at 2.00.  Returned to find their machine was faulty and being repaired in the States.  Back to base where we arrange to be escorted to the forces garage on Monday morning.  The celebrations on base are open to the public from 5pm so we parked down a side street and returned to join in.  Entertainment includes red devil parachute display, line dancing, comedians etc.  We have a go at the parachute jump from a practice tower and both land badly.  Steve hurt a finger and I hurt my wrist and bottom, just when we were recovering from our aqua park sores.  Had a good night but drank too much, double wine $1.50, large beer $2.  This is like a holiday in America within our European holiday – great.

VICENZA

 

FRIDAY 4 JULY – Went swimming at the local outdoor pool all day and got permission to park there overnight.  Went onto the base and saw karaoke.  Couple of games of bowling and then watched 4th July firework display, which was very good.  Had difficulty leaving as all the streets were heaving with people still trying o get in to the base.  The other problem was that the streets were full of parked cars and instead of our van being on its own in a quiet spot we find ourselves completely surround and couldn’t move if we wanted to.  All goes quiet after about 1am.

VICENZA – 26 MILES

 

SATURDAY 5 JULY – Walk to bank and supermarket then spend the day in the swimming pool.  Moved to another area to park as we are not going to the base tonight and don’t want to be surrounded again.  End up down a quiet little cul de sac then found trains and two lots of church bells chiming to disturb us.

VICENZA

 

SUNDAY 6 JULY – Drove into Vicenza and saw Teatro Olimpico, basilica and streets with lots of Palladian buildings (names after Andrea Palladio who designed them all and came from Vicenza).  Wandered around until early afternoon, very hot so drove back out to park near US.  We are having a mild drinking day today.  I noticed that the cartons of “long life” milk Steve had bought the other day were actually fresh milk and now out of date.  Milky soup and Angel Delight washed down with a pint of milk for tea tonight.  Another good evening on the base, line dancing (I recognised and joined in with Tush Push, Watermelon Crawl, Easy come easy go, Electric Slide, Armadillo and Sleazy Slide) to a live band.  More ten pin bowling, more food and drink.  Phoned Sandra and heard she got back safely.

VICENZA 5 – 9 MILES

 

MONDAY 7 JULY – Up very early at 7.30am to meet man at US Base.  It turned out the computed could only do some of the checks as it was for many vehicle and not specifically Ford.  Couldn’t get to the bottom of the ABS problem so gave up and headed for SLOVENIA.  Received bad information on the border, were told ATM (bank cash) machines were scarce and also that there was a naturist beach at Piran.  We wanted to visit the beach so changed $20 travel cheques at 3% commission, bought a map and phone card and ended up with about $3 worth of Slovenian tollars.  ATM’s were everywhere , change was commission free everywhere else and the naturist beach did not exist.  We were following road signs to Koper which vanished and we could only see Capidostra (which we now know is the same place) so doubled back and got very lost involving about 20 miles detour along bumpy windy roads.  Gave up on the coast after Piran and headed towards the capital of Ljublijana.  Stopped at Postojna to see the caves.  Fantastic.  We saw 5km of the 29km network, partly by train and partly by foot.  Have seen many caves but the excelled even cheddar caves, the caves of Drach and Gibraltar.  Stayed the night at a campsite just up the road at Pivka Jama (Steve wonders if it translates to pyjamas). 

PIVKA JAMA – 220 MILES

 

TUESDAY 8 JULY – Up the road at Predjamski Grad we visit the castle built onto a cliff cave and ex home of Erazem.  Lots of history, very attractive and interesting to go round.  Headed towards Hungary via Ljubljana and Maribor.  Had a bit of hassle trying to et petrol just before the border as none of the garages would take credit cards, ended up paying cash in sterling (the good old pound is still highly valued). Also felt the benefit of being British at the border.  There were queues under the signs I, A, CH, SLO and HR but no sign for GB so we asked a policeman which lane and he opened up another one and led us straight through whilst the others had their vehicles searched.  Drove just into HUNGARY to a campsite at the spa town of Lenti.

LENTI – 198 MILES

 

WEDNESDAY 9 JULY – Went to the local supermarket.  Food and drink cheap, wine 50p bottle, beer 25p litre.  There is a thermal bath just over the road from the campsite so we will go there today and move on tomorrow.  Excellent baths, only 50p admission to 4 outdoor pools of different temperatures (one a swimming pool) plus  1x50m Olympic indoor pool, 2 indoor thermal pools and 2 more half covered “medicinal” pools.  Had a nice lunch, Steve goulash and large beer and me a Wiener schnitzel and large wine all for less than £3.  Late afternoon snack of “latsos” a kind of pancake/doughnut topped with sour cream and grated cheese washed down with a few beers.  All very civilised.  Sat out in the sun until 7pm. Your may have guessed we like our first impression of Hungary.

LENTI 2

 

THURSDAY 10 JULY – Did a bit more shopping at an even cheaper supermarket – 5 litre box of wine £1, crusty bread rolls 3p.  Drove to Camping Naturista Balatonbereny on the edge of Lake Balaton.  This is Europe’s largest lake (45 miles x 8 ½ miles) very long and narrow with resorts all along the edges.  The water is warm and 3’ – 4’ deep for about 400 metres with a sandy bottom.  We took the dingy and air bed out for a few hours, great fun.  We hear English spoken in a Yorkshire accent and the moment we see a man with a knotted handkerchief on his head we know where it is coming from.  Joan & Keith are from Hebden Bridge and on holiday here with their campervan.  Between us we are the only English to visit the site this season so it’s chance that we are here together.  Tomorrow night we have been invited to a party for our row in the caravan park.  A lady came round and took our order for beef cutlets and asked me to bring a tomato salad (what’s that) – anyway we wangle an invite for Keith and Joan even though they are in a different row and Joan is doing the tomato salad and I am now doing chips, dips and popcorn.

LAKE BALATON, CAMPING NATURISTA BALATONBERENY – 46 MILES

 

FRIDAY 11 JULY – It blew up very windy late last night and throughout the night we had storms, thunder, lightening and hail.  Very noisy on the van roof.  By 9am the sky was blue and the weather hot.  Mum’s off to Canada today to visit Auntie Joan for 3 weeks, hope she has a good trip.  Weather not brilliant through day but no more rain. Willie & Susannah had a drink with us in the afternoon and talked about Greece and Turkey in a motorhome.   Street party very good.  The cutlets cost us 50p each and everyone said how nice the dips were.  We ended up trying lots of foreign drinks.  Steve took along a bottle we had bought in Lenti and it turned out to be thermal spa water and tasted foul.  Everyone had a taste and a good laugh because we bough it thinking it was beer – glad we didn’t buy a case of 24.  At one stage Steve had 4 drinks on the go and was talking excellent German!  Yet another “never again” drinking night.

LAKE BALATON 2

 

SATURDAY 12 JULY – Had a go at windsurfing on Keith’s board.  We both have a few painful encounters with the mast but Steve really gets the hang of it by the end of the afternoon.  I master balancing and pulling the sail up but without anything on my feet I keep cutting them when I fall off.  Will try again tomorrow with some old pumps on.

LAKE BALATON 3

 

SUNDAY 13 JULY – Hot until early afternoon, took boat and air bed on lake.  Afternoon too windy for windsurfing.  Steve has gone to watch the Grand Prix with some other men on someone’s satellite TV and although they sat out for the first half the rain forced them in for the second part.  We now have thunder and lightening as well.  Everyone is saying how crazy the weather is and hat they have had far more rain this summer than ever before.  It’s not too bad for us but I feel sorry for people on holiday.  We are both very tanned now and hardly every use sun cream as we don’t seem to burn.  I still seem to attract the mozzies more than Steve but neither of us has been poorly other than self-inflicted hangovers.

LAKE BALATON 4

 

MONDAY 14 JULY – Drove to Piroska camping at Balaton Karattya, the other end of the lake.  Here the lake is a bit shallower and all sand underneath whereas at Balatonbereny in some parts there was weed and mussels on the bottom.  Apparently the lake is much higher this year because of all the rain and a cooler 20C inst3ead of the normal 24C.  The only other slight problem here is that we are on a naturist site sandwiched between two conventional sites so it can be a little embarrassing if your boat or airbed drifts the wrong way!  Had a meal at the restaurant on site, Steve had noodle soup followed by fish in a mushroom sauce and I had garlic soup followed by 3 chocolate pancakes.

LAKE BALATON, PIROSKA CAMPING – 54 MILES

 

TUESDAY 15 JULY – Left at lunchtime to drive to Budapest.  There are many old cars on the road, Skoda’s, Ladas, Trabants and Seats.  Can’t image English lads having street cred driving around in such a car with the windows down and pop music blasting out but here they proudly cruise around in them.  Check onto Fortuna Camping at Torokbalint on the SW outskirts of Budapest.  Spend the afternoon by the swimming pool.

BUDAPEST, FORTUNA CAMPING – 50 MILES

 

WEDNESDAY 16 JULY – 20p gets us by local bus into Budapest.  On the Pest side (the modern part of the city) of the river we take a tram to Szent Istvan-Baziliki (St Stephens Basllica) and also visit Neprajzi Museum (ethnography museum with rural life 19 and 20C), the houses of Parliament and Nyugati Palyaudvar (West station).  Take the metro to Millennium Emlekmo (Millennium monument in Hero square) then explore the city park and see Vajdahunyard Vara (castle) and the Szechenyl thermal baths.  Bus it to the Romanian Embassy before walking over Elizabeth Bridge (chain bridge) to the Buda side.  Good job public transport in Budapest is cheap, 20p for bus train or metro. Incidentally they were the first place in Europe’s to have a subway back in the late 19th century.  Over on the hilly Buda side of the river the attractions are spread out over many hills.  We climb the Gellert Hill to the citadel for superb views.   They’ve still got a long way to go in restoring old churches etc but what they have done is excellent.  In the Gellert Hotel we make use of the naturist sun terrace for all of 10 minutes before black clouds appear followed shortly after by thunder, lightening and rain. 

BUDAPEST 2

 

THURSDAY 17 JULY – At lunchtime we set of back to explore Buda.  Catch the funicular up to Budavari Palota (Royal Castle) with huge buildings and good views over the Danube and Pest.  There are also lots of nice statues and fountains (especially King Mathias fountain) outside and museum halls inside.  The history museum has an underground passages leading to a Gothic chapel.  Walk around the castle district, which is heaving with tourists, coaches and horses, street museums and the associated prices.  Lots to see in this area including a Gothic church turned into a mosque by the Turks, the Hilton Hotel built into the remains of a church and cloisters and the Fisherman’s Bastions (like a castle wall look out point) with more super views.  Spend a few hours absorbing the atmosphere and wandering up and down streets with medieval houses and baroque mansions.  Definitely prefer Buda to Pest.  “An English Patient” is showing at a cinema in Pest with English subtitles.  At £1.60 it’s a bargain and most appropriate to see now as it is about a Hungarian in the war.  Next we go for a bite to eat. Steve has Chinese duck, I have two doner kebabs and a drink and the total bills is only £3.20.  Finally we take a 20p tram ride all along the Pest riverbank to see Buda and many boats and bridges floodlit.  Tour buses to see the same thing charge £5.  End up in a bar by the bus stop where a large beer and a large wine total 85p proving that away from the tourist traps Budapest is a cheap city to eat and drink in.  Arrive back at the site just after 11pm.

BUDAPEST 3

 

FRIDAY 18 JULY – Woken at 1am with thunder and lightening.  The second flash is directly above us and puts the campsite electricity off.  The storm moves on but it rains until 8am.  Read in a newspaper that Czech Republic and Slovakia had torrential rain last week and are receiving aid from Hungary.  We drive south following the Danube River to Duna Foldvar and Kek Duna Camping.  There is supposed to be a naturist beach by the river here but it is so flooded all you can see are the treetops at the edge.  Prices are even lower here.  A large beer and wine in the town centre bar total only 55p.  I can’t resist a slice of gateau at the confections priced at 20p.  Rain on and off all day. 

DUNAFOLDVAR, KEK DUNA CAMPING – 50 MILES

 

SATURDAY 19 JULY – More intermittent rain.  Head towards Szeged via Kecskemet passing fields full of sunflowers (seeds and oil are very cheap here) and lots of goose farms.  Just north of Szeged we try to park to get some bread.  Reversing along the side of the road we hear a bit of a clunk.  I think we’ve hut something but Steve says we’ve just dropped off the edge of the road and attempts to move forward.  This is when we hear a lot of noise and stop to investigate.  By the side of the road is a lamppost with a flagpole sticking out at campervan roof height.  We have caught the awning on it and moving forward has ripped it off.  Pieces are strewn by the road so we gather up the broken parts and prop the awning back as well as possible.  There’s a campsite nearby and after checking onto it the receptionist phones up a couple of local men (L Antman 06 20 43 14 14) who come round at assess the damage.  It was only a small bump at low speed but has caused a lot of damage.  The awning is on tension springs and unless we get it fixed properly it either won’t work or will open whilst we are driving along.  The men leave at 3.30pm and say they will get back to us.  Whiling away the afternoon we notice a battered old caravan parked opposite getting lots of use.  We deduce that the local prostitutes bring their clients here with visits ranging from a few minutes up to 20 minutes.    By 7.30pm the men haven’t returned so Steve pops up toe reception so see what is happening, as we are concerned that nothing will be done until Monday.  It turns out they have taken the broken pieces to someone else but should be back at 10am tomorrow.  TV news is of torrential rain causing problems in Germany and Czech lands so we are not surprised to get more wind and rain through the night.

SLATYMAZ, EUROCAMP – 83 MILES

 

SUNDAY 20 JULY – No one comes at 10am as promised but later we are asked to drive to their garage over the road.  Walk into town for a meal but waste the rest of the day just waiting around.  They finally tell us they can’t do anymore today but invite us to drive round the back to park in their garden.

SLATYMAZ, ANTMANS GARAGE

 

MONDAY 21 JULY – The brackets can’t be repaired so they are going to take them somewhere to have new ones made and these should be ready by 4pm.  Take a bike ride into the local village stopping for a beer and ice cream sundae (guess who had which?).  Call at the shop for milk and break, they have no rolls but the lady offers me 1/3 large load.  She asks me if I would like it sliced and then proceeds to cut it herself with an ordinary bread knife!  No sign of the brackets at 4pm.  The garden belongs to the garage family and I help the ladies weeding the vegetable plot whilst Steve tries to mend the brakes on our bikes.  We are surrounded by chickens and they keep coming up to us.  There are 11 in total and a mix of white, cream, grey brown and black and all very cute.  The house here has an outside toilet at the bottom of the garden and no telephone but a huge satellite dish for the TV!  The man comes back at 6.30pm and Lati and his partner work until 10pm to get it fixed.  An excellent job although it does stick at bit.  During the evening a man comes round in a flashy car and is joined by a girl.  Lati explains that he is the local pimp and she is one of his many prostitutes. The pimp earns over £1000 week from his girls, lives in a huge house with swimming pool and keeps in business by paying back handers to the local police.  All very interesting.

SLATYMAZ 3

 

TUESDAY 22 JULY – The total bill for the job is £100, £66 for the brackets to be made (apparently the man realised they were American parts from a vehicle belonging to a tourist so bumped his price up) and £34 for labour so not too bad at all. Make it safely to the naturist site at Szeged where we receive mail from England.  It’s a nice small site with a lake for swimming.  A record low for drinks with a large beer and wine only 50p in total.  With the addition of 2 meals our final bill is just £1.35.  Already we have met an American Ricky and an Australian Ross so it’s nice to have a proper conversation in English.  The weather is good so we sunbathe and top up our tan.  Chat and drink in the bar until midnight.

SZEGED, NATURIST CAMPSITE – 15 MILES

 

WEDNESDAY 23 JULY – Hot and sunny all day.  It’s sports week on site with lots of competitions throughout the day.  Steve plays in the pool competition and wins against Ross.  Can’t resist the 15p chocolate crepes from the snack bar.  Lots of people have brought inflatables to use on the lake.  Some shaped like arm chairs with pedals and other like big islands with palms trees stuck up, makes my air bed look very plain.  Think Steve has too much sun as he retired to bed at 7pm with a headache.

SZEGED 2

 

THURSDAY 24 JULY – More mail arrives for us including the green card insurance for Romania.  Steve enters the long jump competition and comes next to last; hope he does better in the pool tournament this afternoon.  Steve makes it through to the pool final but as this is not until Saturday we shall stay here a bit longer.  Other races being held include sack races, table tennis and volleyball.  The Hungarian children don’t have computers and videos and seem happy to play cards, connect 4 and board games.  You hear a lot of music around the site from people sitting out playing guitars, accordions or just singing.  Once again rain, thunder and lightening through the night.

SZEGED 3

 

FRIDAY 25 JULY – The rain stops by afternoon so we take a walk out down the lane but have to turn back as it is flooded.  Bit of sun in the afternoon.  Evening in bar chatting to Marcus from Switzerland.  Ricky comes back to the van for coffee.

SZEGED 4

 

SATURDAY 26 JULY – Ross & Ricky take us to the flea market in Szeged.  It’s a strange market with people selling produce, new goods, car boot type stuff and very very fresh fish – kept in a tank and sold still flapping.  Steve wins the pool tournament beating an American Ricky then German Lowther in the final.  Sunny but windy thorough the day.

SZEGED 5

 

SUNDAY 27 JULY – Leave at 9am and spend our last few florints before driving on to ROMANIA.  Buy visas and currency at he border and meet Englishman Barry who lives near Istanbul.  He invites us to stay and offers a place for us to store the van when we fly back to England after Claire has the baby.  It’s quite a shock travelling in Romania; the roads are terrible with poor surfaces, lots of pothole and areas where the road has completely disappeared.  All the bridges are in a bad state of repair with sheets of metal covering the biggest gaps.  At the side of the street people sit selling local produce off a picnic table or they have tablecloths hanging up for sale.  There are lots of gypsies (not surprising as the original romanies were from here) some with carthorses and traditional vans with lots of pans hung up outside.  The currency is the LEI with around 12000 = £1.  The largest note is 10000 (90p) so you have wads of dosh.  They don’t have any ATM’s at the banks because they couldn’t fit enough notes in!  We have to drive 250 miles before we find a campsite.  The sites shown on the map turn out to be full of ancient decrepit huts for rent with no space to fit a large van like ours.  We finally find a site near Sibu.  The couple next to us have just come back from Bulgaria and tell us on the way there they left here at 6.30am and had to drive until 11pm to find a campsite.  The country is poor so it is unsafe to stay overnight anywhere else.  Have an evening meal in the campsite restaurant (£1 bottle of wine).  Very nice and not expensive but the meal was for more than the menu showed as they charge separately for bread, tomatoes etc.

SIBU, CAMPING DUMBRAVA – 257 MILES

 

MONDAY 28 JULY – Though we had left early until we found out that Romania is 1 hour ahead of Hungary so we left at 8am instead of 7am!  Bram Castle is where Bran Stokers Dracula was based but unfortunately it is closed on Mondays.  Take some photographs then drive to a campsite just south of Brashov.  55,000 night (£5). The toilets are vile, all Turkish style, chipped, dirty and smelly – thank goodness we have our own.  Steve has to do a few repairs each time we stop, the bumpy roads make the screws in the cupboards and on the double glazing panels work lose.  Take a taxi into Brashov (75p for 10k).  Another culture shock seeing the shops, they seem to all sell oddments of everything in or on very old wooden counters with drawers.  For example we see one shop selling soap powder, wedding dresses and music cassettes.  Wedding dresses are around £50 each and very very nice.  The only real tourist attraction is the black church, which got its name when it survived the city fire.  Inside there is a big collection of 17C Persian carpets and the pew backs are oil paintings, very unusual.  We buy soft swirl ice cream cornets for 10p each.  Local products are cheap but imports (Benetton, McDonalds) and luxury electrical goods are about the same as UK prices.  Back at the campsite we meet Beth & David from Scotland.  They are doing a similar trip to us but with a car and tent.  They are in their early 50’s and have sold a very big house then bought a flat to enable them to travel.  Chatting until about 11pm they convince us to go to Turkey.

BRASHOV, CAMPING DIRSTE – 120 MILES

 

TUESDAY 29 JULY – Leave at 8am and head up into the mountains to Predeal then along the Pradha valley to Sinaia.  We want to visit the Peles Castle and go up on the chairlift but both are closed.  Continue to Bucharest passing interesting sites along the way, people walking their cow on a lead, others selling assorted produce and lots of people trying to wave us down for a lift (a sort of slow downward patting action).  Travel through lots of neglected Austrian style ski resorts before arriving at the Bucharest campsite to find it closed down.  As usual we end up driving right through the city centre with lots of crazy drivers switching lanes, poor signs and no road markings.  We leave in a SE direction to find a different campsite but with no luck.  We give up and get on the Bucharest main ring road to head out in a NE direction.  What a road, the worst yet being less than the van width in parts with huge pot holes and floods.  The next campsite at Sinestra is closed for renovation but just outside Snagov we spot “South Fork Ranch” complete with Eiffel Tower!  It turns out o be a neglected hotel complex with Dallas theme.  We are tempted to stay in the most expensive hotel room at £13 but the swimming pool is closed and a disco is on at 10pm so it may be noisy and the van might not be safe.  Continue past the next campsite, which again is neglected and closed.  Hit the Black sea coast just north of Constanta.  Camping Navora is open and charges 75p night.  There is only one other campervan there and that’s an old home made version. We stick out like a sore thumb amongst hundreds of Romanian and Moldavian tiny tents and are not happy being so conspicuous but dare not drive on as it’s almost dark.  In the other van are a Dutch family, Joseph, Ellen and their 4 girls.  They tell us the toilets and showers are foul (cesspit style and full), there’s a disco until 2am, the gypsies collect cows from the site at the side of us at 6am and the police go on manoeuvres sending up rockets etc.

N CONSTANTA, CAMPING NAVORA – 288 MILES

 

WEDNESDAY 30 JULY – 1.30am and the wild dogs are now barking and howling, guess they forgot to warn us about that!  After a brief spell on the beach we head off and drive through Constata before starting to look for a site.  The tourist areas of Neptune, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus are heaving like a mini Costa del Sol in August.  Continesti is a young people’s resort (under 25’s) with thousands of people hanging around the streets and tents pitched in the gardens of all the local homeowners.  The last resort before Bulgaria is Vama Veche and it comes up trumps with a small basic campsite “Camping Mai 2” on the beach and a naturist beach 500 yards around the bay.  £2 night with electricity and full of friendly helpful Romanian campers.  We have difficulty finding a level spot and end up with about 10 people helping to first push a car out of the way then dig the ground level for us.  They won’t even accept a drink and say it is just normal Romanian hospitality and Welcome to Romania, how nice. Spend a few hours on the beach directly in front of us.  In the evening we set off to the bar but get invited to stay by our neighbours Monica and Mircea.  They are in their late 50’s and from Bucharest.  He is a translator at the Romanian embassy and they both speak excellent English.  He is in fact a diplomat but only earns US$100 month whilst working in Romania.  When he works abroad he gets a wage closer to the one of the country he is in and this gives them the chance to save and buy electrical goods.  They have a 30 years old tiny fibreglass caravan of which they are very proud and luckier than most.  It’s difficult for us to comprehend that it would take them about 50 years work to buy a van like ours.  Non the less they won’t even let us get a bottle of wine to share and instead insist we try the local fish (about 6” long, rolled in flour, fried and served whole) which is very expensive in Romania.  (Mum you would have been proud of me picking away at this fish with my fingers, a bit better than in Paris!).  and serve us beer and imported brandy until 1am.  Monica also insists on cooking us a Romanian meal on Friday night so we say that would be lovely but please can we buy the ingredients and bring drinks.  They really don’t want us to do that so we will invite them to a meal with us one night.  I know Monica likes English books so I’ll see if I’ve any she can have.   Forgot to mention that the weather is now back to normal with hot days and clear blue skies.

VAMA VECHE, CAMPING MAI 2 – 52 MILES

 

THURSDAY 31 JULY – Spend the day on the naturist beach.  In the evening a crowd gather by the beach and we see a family of dolphins passing by about 20 metres from the shore.  Monica and Mircea come to us in the evening and teach us how to play backgammon.  They also tell us about themselves so we now know a lot more about Romania and the communists. 

VAMA VECHE 2

 

 

 

 

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