A car rally from Austria with a VW bus and solar power on the roof over Hungary, Carpathians, Moldova to the Black Sea. Back via Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia with the destination Split.
On Saturday, 7.7.2018, after a long time of preparation, the time had finally come: We started our Balkan adventure "Pothole Rodeo" in the morning at the Seiersberg Shopping City in Graz with our orange VW T3 "Bulliver" (built 1982, 50 hp, top speed: 90 km/h downhill) together with 150 other scrap car teams. Destination of our 1st stage was the second-largest city in Serbia, Novi Sad. We crossed Hungary in the direction of Croatia, and after a short transit, we headed for Serbia. At the Serbian border, we were immediately searched thoroughly, but reached Novi Sad in the evening without any problems. The Danube metropolis welcomed us gloomy and rainy and so we ended the evening with a nice dinner.
On the 2nd day, we started early: we rushed to finish the day's challenge of the first day (to find out the cubic capacity of all 150 participating team carts) and handed over our results to the judge, who immediately presented us with the challenge of our 2nd stage: In an envelope, we received 3 Romanian Leu (approx. 0,60 €). For this, we were supposed to get as many different fruits as possible from our trusted fruit and/or vegetable dealer. We headed towards the north-east. Shortly after Timisoara, it started pouring rain and it did not take long until a Romanian car disassembled its vehicle in front of us. When we stopped to help, our van showed its first weaknesses: Due to the overloading (blower, windscreen wipers, hazard lights etc.), the V-belt stopped working and we had to rescue ourselves with difficulty on the roadside. In heavy rain, we changed the belt and drove to the next stop to dry ourselves. Because of the lost time and the remaining long-distance we chose the shortest way from here. Sighisoara (or Sighisoara) is the birthplace of Count Dracula and a romantically nooks and crannies town, which certainly hasn't seen us the last time. :)
The 3rd day of our Balkan adventure started rainily. We set off in the direction of Moldova, where we were greeted by original Moldavian potholes after a long wait at the border. Exactly like this, we had imagined the Balkans! ;)
The day lasted a long time, as we (Day-Challenge 3) brought school supplies and toys for a childcare facility of the organisation ora. But the joy of the carers made up for all the potholes in no time. :)
Late in the evening we arrived in Chisinau and therefore could only see the Moldavian capital at night.
We planned our 4th stage based on our latest insights regarding the Moldavian road quality in such a way that we left the country on the fastest way to the west again to get on the good old Romanian country roads. We passed countless families on horse-drawn carts, all of them waving to us and happy to take a picture of them.
Early in the evening we finally reached the Black Sea, more precisely Constanta, our most easterly destination in the past 8 days, where we immediately jumped in the cold water.
In the evening we dutifully fulfilled our daily routine - drinking with locals - and were invited by our new Romanian friends to several regional spirits ;)
The final stage on day 8 led us through Bosnia to the beautiful Croatian city of Split, where we crossed the finish line and received our certificates.
The longest stage of our journey, 750 kilometres, was finally our way home to beautiful Upper Austria.
According to the motto "Slowly but steadily" we were never the first at the finish line, but the other teams were always happy to see our orange van finally crawling up the mountain ;) Nevertheless: It's a Rally, not a Race.
Our conclusion: A brilliant adventure holiday with unbelievable experiences, places and people! And who knows, maybe next year we will be back competing when the search for the last potholes in Europe continues... :)
Best regards from Team #106 Bullivers Reisen!
Lukas, Stefanie, Christian and Daniel