Location: Baku Azerbaijan
(A new blog post will be published in a couple of days.)
Location: Baku Azerbaijan
(A new blog post will be published in a couple of days.)
Location: Transalpina mountain pass, Romania
We promised to tell you more about the lovely couple, here we go:
When we reached the top of the mountains, we found what looked like a
little tourist trap – a small group of caravans with shops set up,
mainly selling trinkets and snacks. Off to the side there seemed to be
a bit of cooking going on and our starving bellies led us quickly in that direction.
We there met a Romanian couple with severals pots and grills and mouth
watering smells inviting us closer.
We sat down, figuring we’d taste some of their dishes and see if there
was anything worth including in the cookbook and Jesper asked the
gentleman (who we now know is called John, or Johnica) if it might be
ok to take some pictures; everything then happened very quickly.
He was immediately whisked away into his tent where John displayed his
freezer filled with various meats. He then offered some of his
traditional and home made spirit made from prunes, Pálinka, which we
have been told is tradition to drink before meals and is very rude to
After this we were all quickly welcomed to his makeshift kitchen where
we soon started cooking lots of different dishes – soups, broths,
meats, drinks, corn on the cob, home made goats cheese and more.
John joined us at the table, consistently pushing us to eat & drink
more (Gustav, the driver for the day, was excused by using the only
excuse we’ve been told will work: Say you’re an alcoholic).
Thanks to Andrea, our Romanian lifter, sign language and a scattered
understanding of English/Romanian (a surprisingly Latin language) we
managed to communicate with each other and discover a little more
about our chef for the day.
John lives a couple of mountains away and has a few sheep, goats, and
chickens (somewhere above 10 of each, also possibly cows). He’s a big
fan of landscaping and has spent lots of time building small
waterfalls, “mini forests” and other details into his garden, based on
designs and instructions he found on the internet.
John is a huge fan of nature, sports, and of “enjoying life” – he used
to be a boxer and now enjoys hunting, wandering the mountains and
partying with friends. We think he has 4 children, at least one in
Minnesota and one in France. Two of them are at university, one of
whom is studying medicine. John is a little worried about the youngest
son finding a wife – apparently he’s very “unmanly” since he doesn’t
drink or smoke.
Aside from cooking meals on the mountain he also has a construction
company, and his men have worked in Norway, Denmark and Germany as
well as Romania.
John’s wife, Ronica, has been a professional chef for 12 years and is
a massive dog lover – she has nine dogs at home, as well as a pond
filled with fish and some birds. Unfortunately we didn’t get to speak
to her as much since she went back to man the front of their little
We’re all big fans of John. He’s a great guy, loves hard work,
extremely open, friendly and helpful. We promised to visit next year,
which we all really hope to fullfill.
Leaving was tough, partly because we didn’t want to leave and partly
because we couldn’t get away from John. In the end, we had to get a
move on – Bucharest, Vama Veche, and the Bulgarian border were
Coming locations (planned): Bucharest, Vama Veche with overnight, east
coast of Bulgaria with overnight, Istanbul with overnight.
A nice long post this time
“Romania happened” is what our hitch hiking Romanian photographer exclaimed after a minor… Discussion… with a gas station attempting to provide us with a slightly off exchange rate.
The above aside, Romania has been beautiful. We drove straight in to the rural areas and followed winding countryside roads, eventually climbing up to the “trans-alpina” path. This took us through a very mountainous region of Romania, including a few minor heart attacks mostly due to the steep drops. Mostly.
At around 2500m above sea level, we came to a peak where some tourist traps (as we lovingly call them) had been set in the form of coffee (YES) and random items (hide the wallet from Gustav). In one of the four caravans we met our – without a doubt – favorite couple of the journey so far.. Who will have all of the next update!
Location: Makó, Hungary
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise i Austria, in a farm where we had put up our tent.
Fighting the desire to crawl back into our sleeping bags, we packed everything up and headed back to the road and into Hungary.
We are now in a town called Mako and it’s amazing. It’s this quiet little town close to the Romanian border, filled with old buildings and statues – and some sort of surrealistic attempt at a modern-looking adventure bath house place. Thing.
Anyway, we found a place willing to take us in after meeting an old diplomat (Hungarian diplomat to Germany, I’m pretty sure) who helped us out.
Apparently, Hungarians really are hungry. (edit: sorry i just realized how unfunny that was). Hungarian portions are Immense, and interesting variations -
fried ham with chicken & cheese, brain with mustard, fried fish, and lots of potato. Naturally we grabbed the recipes and that of a home-made Hungarian gulasch soup!
So far, the goings been good and we look forward to seeing what Romania brings!
Location update: Daggendorf, Germany.
Last car to leave the camping ground.
Route changed (swapped Slovakia for Austria)
Front windshield cracked.
Picked up hitch-hiker going to Romania who is filming a documentary for TV; we now feature heavily.
Went jousting against a bucket of water; lost.
Found a new recipe, taught to us by a chef also doing the rally.
Compass says we’re going north; Gustav says we’re going south. Gustav turned out to be right. Need new compass.
Starting to realise what we’ve gotten ourselves into.
P.S. the food has been amazing so far.
Location: motorway just south of Berlin
Events: stayed the night in Berlin with a friendly couple, Daniel & Mui, who taught us a scrumptious recipe for German sausage, sauerkraut and a tasty sauce to go with it.
- Number of times the only car key has been lost: 3 (all Lejfjord).
- Drove car to almost empty (2 litres left) trying to find a petrol station north of Berlin.
- Time taken to get lost in Berlin when trying to leave, while using map and directions: circa 1min30sec.
Ladies and gents, we’re off!
Today was our last day in Stockholm as well as a bunch of other lasts – sleeping in our own comfy beds; a nice long hot shower; seeing our girlfriends, family and friends; using the internet on our phones; using our phones; communicating quickly and easily with strangers; well the list goes on…
Now we turn our eyes south and start the long drive to our first stop: Halmstad, where we will spend a quick night before driving on to Denmark and Berlin tomorrow.
We will then spend about a day in Berlin (two nights), then head on to Prague on Sunday morning!
Good News: much less packing than I thought, we don’t seem to have TOO many useless items, but we’ll see how it all turns out…
Just before we leave we wanted to give a shoutout to some awesome companies who have helped us the last few days.
Sunpocket – these makers of folding sunglasses have given us the ultimate weapon in our ongoing battle against the glaring sun and the fight to stay cool. www.sunpocketoriginal.com if you want to look like us!
Mekonomen - made a wonderfully quick decision (after some grovelling) to help us attach our wheels to the roof! They built a custom roofrack that now carries our extra wheels & tires, on just a days notice. You’ll see the construction on lots of pictures and it’ll probably save our asses! www.mekonomen.se for your car/mechanic-related needs!
Bilia, another great gang of mechanics, performed a complete health-check on our most important asset, the brave little Hyundai that can. Mr. Mechanic himself vouched for our steed and swore that he’d happily drive it Mongolia himself! www.bilia.se can help you when your car is feeling down.
Once again, a big thanks to our sponsors and supporters!!
We’re into the final week and we’re just about ready to go!
We’ve got survival equipment, tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, lots of extra tyres for the car and a whole bunch of other things. Hopefully we can even fit some clothes in the car when we’re done packing.
Today (or tomorrow) we’re getting som help from Mekonomen who are constructing a tyre-holding-contraption-thing to the roof of our car so we can carry the 5 extras with a little more ease.
I did my last bit of laundry yesterday, and started realising some of the other things I might be doing for the last time (in a long time) this week: a nice hot shower, sleeping in a comfy bed, gaming on my xbox or pc, using a nice modern toilet, using tapwater… Yea. I think we’re all going to be missing different things.
Since we’re about to start our journey we’ll also be starting with more regular blog updates, although some may be very short – especially later on, since we’ll be smsing those updates in to our base in Sweden.
We hope you’ll stay with us, and we hope you’ll keep supporting us!
We leave on thursday…