Day 5 - The tax dodge
Completing another ridiculous 24 hour drive and pissing off most of the lorry drivers in Eastern Europe, we arrived in Romania.
Within the space of two minutes of entering the country we were stopped by the authorities yet again. This time it was because we hadn’t paid any road tax. Whilst James was faffing around pretending to find his phone somewhere in the cabin and Aaron passing over various documents that had no relevance to road tax, PC plum got frustrated of waiting for the correct piece of paper that we didn’t have and told us to get in our car and go.
We arrived in Arad, a city just over the border and started to notice that we were being eyed up by all the locals who didn’t seem pleased about our presence. We actually started to enjoy the attention we were getting.
We found WiFi, the most basic of any traveller’s needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy, and arranged to meet up again with Team OMJ and a new team, The Baked Potatoes, two Americans driving a classic British mini. Coincidentally, at that exact same time, we discovered their logo stuck on the back of our car. They told us they gave out free stickers at Dover and claimed that they themselves were not responsible for the dastardly act. We have yet to figure out who is.
With no sleep, we set off for Corvin Castle in Hunedoara which was to be the first proper test for our Lawnmower express. The outside air and engine water temperatures were rising rapidly and peaked at 40 degrees and 110 degrees which were the highest we’d yet seen.
To break the drive up a bit we car swapped with the two other teams and straight away upon entering The Bakes Potatoes’ mini, James said that he’d forgotten what it was like to sit in a car where you didn’t have to shout to communicate or ring your t-shirt out after being imprisoned in a four wheeled sauna.
Trying not to fall asleep at the wheel while temperatures soared, all three super minis eventually arrived at Takeshi’s castle and got ordered by the parking attendant who tried to make us pay for three parking spaces. Since the spaces where pretty large, we come up with the idea to cram all three cars into one space to stop the con-artist in his tracks. We gave him the money and headed to the castle.
Sweating our cashews off walking around one of the seven wonders of Romania, we came across some very strange filming where a man was strapped to crane and thrown 20 feet along the length of the drawbridge. Obviously health and safety was a major concern for them as they still allowed visitors to walk around whilst the Romanian version of James Bond was being filmed. The castle itself looked similar to Bran Castle in Transylvania more famously known as Dracula’s castle and apparently was where Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner by Hungary’s military leader.
This was set to be the end of our activities for the day so all three teams decided to drive to get some local food and find somewhere to stay for the night to recover from the heat abuse and to prepare ourself for the Transalpina mountain pass that was on the cards for the following day.