Mongol Rally: Racing Towards the Black Sea

Mongol Rally: Racing Towards the Black Sea

You would think that after having the UK Launch and the Czechout Party, we would all be on our own without any other events until the finish line. We were wrong.

There were two more. A pit stop party in Sibiu, Romania; and a checkpoint beach party in Constanta, Romania.  We didn’t make it to the former, but we made the best to try to reach the latter, and what a day it turned out to be.

We were in Budapest, which is over 850 km away from Constanta, and we only had about 12 hours to get there before the party started.  Even if we took the fastest way, it would already take us like 15 hours.

It was night already (of the day before the party) and we were not sure we would make it in time, so we let the idea rest and revisited it later.  In the meantime, I took a nap (which actually became a few hours of sleep) while Stephen and Alex went out to a Pub Crawl.

At about 3:30 am they returned, we revisited the idea of the beach party, and in a few seconds, we decided to leave immediately towards Romania.  We would do our best to make it!

Since I was somewhat rested (and Alex and Stephen were in no condition to drive – aka, drunk!), I took the wheel and started driving at 4 am. Our journey should have taken about 15 hours with a few stops along the way, but we were oh so wrong. (We’ve discovered that we are always late for everything, so if something will take 3 hours, it will take us 4:30!)

The first few hours, while in Hungary, went pretty smooth.  Good, fast highways and two comatose teammates made for a serene drive in the twilight of morning.

Driving the Mongol Rally

Things changed as soon as we hit the border with Romania.  From there on, there was a lack of highways and an abundance of farm trucks. How frustrating!

We were against the clock, and the 20 mph trucks were not making our journey any easier, or faster.  The scenery was beautiful, but we were yet to be impressed by Romania with the Transfăgărășan Road.

After 7 hours driving, I passed the keys to Alex (who was in decent condition to drive now), and he took in charge the challenge of driving the Transfăgărășan.

Romania Transfăgărășan
Doing what I do best at the Transfăgărășan Road in Romania.

The Transfăgărășan is the second highest road in Romania and it has been described as “the most beautiful road in the world” (by Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear). Is it the most beautiful? I can at least say that it is the most beautiful I’ve been to so far!  I’ll let the pictures do the talking here.

Transfagarasan 1

Transfagarasan Road in Romania
Really cool, isn’t it?

Just a bit of background, though.  The Transfăgărășan was built as a military road, crossing the Southern Carpathian Mountains between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second-highest, Negoiu.  It is 90 km of twists and turns that are not meant for a weak stomach.

Obviously, with the Transfăgărășan being so twisted, we had no option but to lose time by going slower (and safer) on the mountain. But, we enjoyed it a lot, and we were happy to have taken that road, which I would catalog as one of the best sights in Romania.

Not only did Alex mastered those curves, but Lizzy (our car) took it like a champ!  You go, Lizzy!

Lizzy in Romania driving
Here’s our champ in the beautiful Transfăgărășan Road in Romania!

We finished the Transfăgărășan (Geez, how many times have I written this weird name in this post!), and it was time for Stephen to drive. We had already been on the road for 17 hours, and we still had 3 more hours to go.

This was a looooong day. Driving from 4 am till 1:30 am when we finally reached the beach party at its peak time (even though we were sooooo late). We were exhausted, obviously, but we stayed up all night until well after sunrise.

Sunrise

At about 6:30 am I got my sleeping bag and crashed on the beach, along with dozens of piled bodies in the same state.

Soon the road will take us to Bulgaria and Turkey!


Read the next post about our Mongol Rally experience!


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