Travel is not all ups, there are a fair share of downs. There had already been a few, but between stolen cameras, smashed teeth and lost loves, there were always the good times. It’s those memories that you always look back on, it makes the whole journey worth while and helps you to strive to keep moving through the hard times. The next few weeks would be series of devastating events that would see us pack it all in and take cover in the comforting arms of mother Amsterdam.
It’s a extremely beautiful place, although somewhat rundown and the very quiet camping ground of Budapest is a slight annoyance when compared to the socially excessive sites of Spain and Portugal. But Budapest is not our main destination, it’s a stop over on the way to the larger picture. Using the magic of the world wide web and electronic mail I managed to wrangle the three of into the biggest and best Halloween Party in Europe, held at no other than the castle of Vlad the Impaler. This dude became famous a long time ago when the Turks sent a small army to invade Romania. When not long after the Turks received no word from the small army, they sent an even larger battalion of confident soldiers. Over the hill into Romania they marched ready to face this crazy guy named Vlad. But when they arrived there was no sign of him. All they could see was hundreds of they’re fellow soldiers impaled on spikes, some still alive and kicking. They quickly did a u-turn and ran away. The man responsible for this impaling would later earn a reputation as literally a blood thirsty killer and somehow made his way into Bram Stoker novel by the name of ‘Dracula’. (I may have gone off topic, but I like that story, so back to where I was) I had arranged not only for us to attend this special Halloween party, but also for us to be special guest judges at the Miss Transylvania Pageant in Romania. Sounds like heaven but it would soon turn to hell (is that too dramatic?).
We had already tasted the local goulash, visited the zoo where the animals can be viewed from outside the fence without paying and I had been humiliated when I tried to kiss a girl in a club. Quite a nonevent, but Transylvania awaited.
After battling the traffic out of Budapest we head east and soon we were in the line at the border of Romania. It was Thursday, the pageant and party was on the weekend and I could taste my judges sash. My dreams of being a beauty pageant judge were suddenly smashed with one word from the Romanian Customs man; ‘VISA?’
We had been allowed to enter Romania on the condition that our first turn of the steering wheel was to initiate a u-turn. We should have done our research, just like the invading Turks of old, we were not welcome without a visa. We had just a day to get to Budapest and source a visa. It took an overnight stay on the side of the road, a train trip and a set of very confused directions before all our hopes and dreams were torn from our very souls. When we arrived at the Romanian Embassy we were met with a man locking the door, it was closed and no amount of pleading could change that. What ensued was a very long session of sulking on my behalf I even snapped at Jag for being too optimistic. Without this party, without this pageant we had come this far for nothing more than a bowl of overly fantastic goulash and a failed kissing attempt.
Why not? Vienna seemed like a great place to sink our sorrows and our teeth into the famous food of Austria. After asking the local chest nut roaster (a great source of Tourist Info) we found Mullers, a place famous for they’re ridiculously huge Wiena Shnitzel, were we sat and chuckled about our recently decorated losers of the year award and the scale on which our misfortune could be measured. Too make matters worse, this day was a religious holiday that saw almost everything in town shutdown. What now? Amsterdam was mentioned and before we knew it we were on our way.
891 KILOMETRES FROM AMSTERDAM
An early morning and with new optimistic outlooks we are on our way. Suddenly Van Damme’s windscreen explodes with an earth shattering Kaboom! Lee although quite shocked, calmly pulls over and we get out. There is silence.
Taz had joined us in France after a crazy string of bad luck. Her mobile phone had been destroyed by torrential rain, her credit card had been stolen and her passport lost. Is it possible that her bad lack had been transferred to us? None the less we had to shake this crap case of unfortunate fortune and fast.