Jensen Monday Club
Top Touring Tip 8: You Can Never have Enough Werthers Originals.
After a very early breakfast, we were on the road as soon as possible as today was going to be another big day. We had originally planned to stay over night in Budapest but had stayed another night in Istanbul instead figuring that Budapest was closer and we could more easily make a return visit.
As we headed out of Romania, their membership of the EU next year appeared to be seen as positive thing as every town we went through has Romanian had EU flags on every lamp post.
We soon headed into Hungary, and picked up the signs for Budapest.
As we moved west the standard of living and towns improved, and Hungary was noticeably more "up market" than we had seen previously.
Unquoteable Quote: "Flap-twannets!"
We had been fuelled on this trip by Werthers Original sweets. Utterly marvellous, and highly recommended. Our problem was we had scoffed them at a prodigious rate and since heading through the Bulgarian border the first time we had been rationing them to 1 each at each border crossing. This was depressing morale badly!
We were to get some good news on the Werthers front in Hungary, but more of this later.
We had planned on lunch in Budapest, and a stop to re-fill the victuals bag.
We were rapidly approaching Budapest when we passed what looked like the chase scene from the Blues Brothers. Police car after car, after van after car went hurtling past. We assumed that the tea must bet getting cold at the station!
Our journey would take us tantalisingly close to Vienna (Wien) and I don't think it would have taken a lot to get us to detour, but we had set our hearts on Prague, and so we diverted around Brno instead.
After lunch we stopped at a hyper market to re-fill the victuals bag. We brought some very tasty pastries that made a very passable "Princess Leia" impression!
We had changed £100 of currency of every country we were going to spend any great amount of time in for meals, and shopping, etc. We didn't know at the time how good credit card coverage would be and took the cash to be safe. Other than some remote parts of Romania, everywhere took cards and so we didn't spend any of the 37000 Hungarian Florint we had with us.
This meant we rocked up at the last petrol station before we entered Slovakia with 37 grand in our pockets, and a full tank of fuel, so nothing to spend it on except:
The owner must have thought it was his birthday as we spent the lot as it was easier than bring it back and change it. What we didn't realise at the time was how useful the torches and warning triangle we going to be...
(P.S. I still have the champagne in the fridge and am saving it for Christmas. I'll let you know how good Hungarian petrol station Champers is if I survive!)
The other good thing was they has Werthers Originals!!!!
Hungary's membership of the EU had meant that civilisation had reached them ,and they were enjoying the trappings of the best capitalism could offer!
Enlivened by a bountiful supply of Werthers, and a tank full of 100 octane fuel, we scorched towards the Slovakian border.
EU membership also seems to make border guards more personable, if nothing else, and the Hungarian customs officials were the model of professionalism and courtesy.
EU membership doesn't seem to have done a lot for car taste though!
While waiting to go through I indulged in a little tyre kicking, and noticed that the passenger side rear wheel nuts were hanging off!
It was just this wheel, so were not sure why, but they had had a terrible beating over the last 3500 miles or so, and in fairness we hadn't really checked them.
Unquoteable Quote: "I'm
not going on a boat to Odessa!"
To celebrate crossing the border we had lashings of Werthers, and Chris, who by now was highly adept in flight meal preparation, made us an afternoon snack of cheese and biscuits.
We skirted around Bratislava...
and were depressed to see British supermarket giant Tesco in residence. It really was the low point of the trip that every where we went there was McDonalds, and just behind them Tesco. I can see them on any bloody high street in Britain without travelling 5000 miles to see them!
The rest of the journey passed without incident, and we crossed into the Czech Republic, with only the noise from what appeared to be the rear of the car to spoil the journey. It was getting really bad now and even playing Deep Purple on the Grateful Dead stereo couldn't mask it.
It was causing us some concern, if for no more reason that it was spoiling the music. We were just going to have to ride it out as we had a long way to go, and no time to slow down.
The Czech republic is back on the Sat Nav map, so we programmed it to take us to a hotel in the centre of town. We booked in and had a quick beer in the bar. This was more like it! Checked in in time for a night on the town.
We literally fell into the first restaurant we found, which turned out to be excellent. So good was my tomato and shrimp soup that Chris was going to order it as his dessert until he saw the cheese board!
That was a proper Homer Simpson moment!
Day 10: The Wonders of Prague.