Thursday 11 October
Mosonmagyarovar, Hungary – Minos, Romania.
As we journeyed through Hungary today I thought about what it was that makes this country a favourite of mine.
Perhaps it’s like a first love?
Leigh and I agree whether you’re human or canine, you make your mind up pretty fast as to whether you like a place, a person or an animal: on our first visit to Hungary we both fell in love with it. From memory it was at the very moment we were driving through a tiny village not far from a border crossing – I can’t remember which border crossing though.
The gaily painted houses, the colourful, vibrant window boxes and the well-kept verges – juxtaposed with uneven road surfaces – stole my heart. Add to this the ’magical’ lampposts which played music (loudspeakers in lampposts are, in my opinion, very Narnia) and you might understand the charm of Hungary.
Once out of the villages and towns the countryside is mainly big and open, lending itself to crop farming. On a day like today you can see for miles. There are areas filled with mountains and forests too, of course, but it is the small villages and the contrast of the vast fields that I enjoy seeing.
The further south we travelled, toward Szeged and the Romanian border, the colours of the trees seemed to fade. The mustard leaves gave way to an antique-gold colour, the vibrant greens became olive and sage. Leaves with a white underside adorned some of the taller trees, I had no idea what species they were but (after googling) I believe they may be white poplars.
At the Hungarian-Romanian border Tom went to purchase the obligatory vignette.
The guy in the next queue recognised his accent and asked, ‘Where are you from?’
Tom replied, ‘Birmingham’, although he has actually lived in Worcestershire for almost 40 years!!
The guy replied, ‘I’m from Stafford!’
Stafford is only about 20 miles from Birmingham – small world eh?
Fifteen minutes into Romania (in the region of a place called Arad) and I was a little perturbed; three vagabond dogs ran across the road – one being a particularly poorly looking dog with red eyes – then a man approached our car (he was selling chess sets), next we spotted two guys sitting in a battered blue estate car selling gas camping stoves and water containers, finally we spotted several ‘shops’ (see photo below) set up precariously on the roadside. It didn’t bode well.
Luckily, within another 45 minutes or so we were into lovely countryside with mountains ahead of us. Being 2 hours ahead of the UK meant the sun was already setting as we approached our campsite and the views were much prettier.
A couple of things started my brain ticking. Diesel here is around £1.17p a litre – not a lot different to the UK; a typical labourers wage in the UK is £100 a day yet here it is around £17 a day. Surely the cost of living should be much less expensive than the UK then? With the ratio of cost of fuel to wages how do many Romanians afford to run a car? Maybe that is why you still see horse and carts here. Secondly, many of the houses are very dilapidated yet amongst these are some amazingly massive decadent mansions. Who lives in these? I think I could guess and I bet you can too! Begins with an M!!
Woofs, Martha xx