Brassed Off in Brasov

Our idea was to reach Transylvania. We rode on some great roads. Not great as in maintained perfectly. Possibly not actually maintained at all. The potholes could have been entrances to other worlds, they were so large and deep. But they were still great roads from the pillion perspective- winding and hilly and interesting.
Romania changed suddenly in Transylvania. There were Dracula-esque castles and the normal typical Transylvanian sights, and nestled in amongst them there were BMW and Mercedes dealerships, and big foreign cars instead of horses & carts, and industrial towns. We reached Brasov, intent on spending a couple of days sight-seeing and then moving on. It was a nice enough place, a tourist town, with historical buildings, pizza restaurants and tourists in those dreadful beige knee-length shorts.

We rode to the campsite. It was by a main road, 3 miles from the town, in an industrial estate. We asked a churlish-seeming fellow the price. Then we sat outside for about an hour, upset that we couldn’t even afford to camp, and angry at the owner for charging so much. It was 13 quid for a pitch, in Romania!

Eventually we had to swallow our pride, and we skulked back in to pay. The man still seemed mean.

Then we discovered there had been a massive misunderstanding. It cost us 5 pounds. No wonder the man seemed fed up, he thought we were unwilling to pay 5 pounds a night for a campsite. We were sheepish.

The next day Adam was playing with the bike, and discovered a giant bloody hole in the shock.

Coincidentally the campsite was next door to one of the aforementioned BMW dealerships, and he took it over to them. The dealership took one look at it and told us not to go any further until we had a new shock (and did we want to buy one for 700Euro).

We were stuck.

We were to remain stuck there for 12 days, in a tent, in the rain, on an industrial estate.

We ordered the part off Ebay and got it couriered out to us with a 3 day express service. It took 11 days.

We went into Brasov a few times on the bus. The buses in Brasov are horrible. They cram on as many humans as possible. They appear to pick the smelliest humans to cram on, and strategically position them, armpit to nose, next to you. Then they arrange for the little old woman at the back of the bus to want to get off first, so that the entire bus-population shifts around at every stop.

One interesting phenomenon is the piousness on buses. Every time the bus passes a church (and there are many, many churches in Brasov), all the occupants try to outdo each other, crossing themselves in elaborate fashion, and kissing their crucifixes. Sometimes the youngest are the most fervent.

There were various tourists passing through the campsite, the groups would shift every few days.

There was a Romanian family in the hut opposite our tent who really really liked loud Romanian folk music and played it on the car stereo with all the doors open. They had a sweet little 5-year old daughter with an enormous 60s hair-do and eyebrows that met in the middle. Someone had put lipstick on her. She came and sat with me and gave me a stick of mascara, so I gave her a flower. She drew me a picture of a flower, and a bee. I told her in mime to give the bee eyelashes and she did. She stayed sat with me while they packed up to leave, and right at the last minute when everyone was in the car they noticed and called her.

Wandering back from town one day two weeks later, we arrived to see the once-taciturn reception man waving something in the air and grinning. It had arrived!!!

It took us 20 minutes to fit it. We were so happy, we fitted it in a thunderstorm and left the next day.

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