Day of departure, and TataBobu brought another piece of outstanding shite to say goodbye - a Daewoo Cielo, which is a Nexia, but built in Romania.
Cats used his beard to sense which direction we should head.
The long distance drive home started well!
Thankfully, that was just the windscreen washer pump shitting itself. I taped it together with gaffer tape. Sorted.
Then we met up with young Claudiu again, to try and fit the restrictor plate that stops you being able to select reverse when aiming for second.
We had to give up. So, we drove across Romania, finding amazing things.
Like a view of Serbia across the Danube.
A short while later, we were the other side of the Danube.
Then we went to Bosnia and got fined for something. Not really sure what, but I'm very sure it wasn't a fine...
We also broke down there in a really busy town, which just capped off a shitty start to Bosnia. I spent the whole time there on edge, feeling like this was an incredibly stupid idea. You have dark moments on trips like these, but I was hoping not to have one so early on.
We stayed that night in a crappy motel, though the barman was friendly. He spoke no English, but smiled a lot, which translates well. The owner of the place was a right miserable sod. It was almost unbearably hot, and this hotel had no air con AND glass panels in the roof! Clearly designed by an idiot.
The next day, the Dacia wouldn't start.
We quickly identified claggy plugs as the issue, and gave them a clean. Starting issues remained for the entire trip, but we mostly just tried to ignore it. We considered buying spark plugs, but somehow didn't. Needless to say, replacing them (thanks Talbot!) this morning has made a huge difference...
After another Police fine (this one because I'd forgotten to turn the headlights on, fair enough. He was at least friendly and accepted 30 Bosnogroats rather than 30 Euros), we hopped across the border into Croatia.
It was really, really hot. We went to a LIDL and spent as long as we dared in the chilled foods section. There was a tractor.
There was also stuff like this, which leads to deep thinking on a stupid adventure.
We started to get good at taking sneaky photos of the Police. This one stopped us, checked our documents, then got horribly embarrassed when the car inevitably wouldn't start. We sat on the grass and he eventually rode away...
AirBNB achieved near Zagreb.
We failed to see Zagreb, because too tired. So, we headed to Slovenia instead, where we failed to see Ljubljana. This followed on from Bosnia, where we failed to see Sarajevo. We found gravel. Cats had much fun.
We saw a Favorit.
We got arrested. They wouldn't let me take their picture. We also discovered that the headlights are awful. As are the dash lights.
We were given tea and coffee.
Things got very scenic.
OH HAI. Note pre-emptive bonnet opening, as we still thought fuel vapourisation was the issue.
OMG SUPERMARKET SPOT!
Stunning Slovenian scenery.
We found the tiniest road into Italy, and hoped to avoid the rozzers. This worked!
We went and refuelled and got confused about Italian petrol.
We went on the Autostrada. The payment machines are so shit we decided to avoid them in future.
We stayed in this hotel. Poor Cats booked it. He wasn't to know how spectacularly shit it was.
At the top, see those two small windows? That was our room. The windows were about 12ft up the wall, and couldn't be opened. Needless to say, the air con was awful. This was another low ebb for me, and Cats had to put up with me stomping off. I just could not be in that room. Even 10pm ice cream failed to improve matters. I sat in the car, which was only slightly cooler, and grumped at Mrs DW. She couldn't help much. I then realised that I was sat looking dodgy in a Romanian car. I ambled back to the room and slept fitfully.
The next day dawned brighter.
In fact, it steadily got better.
We drove over 580kms across Italy. It wasn't meant to be that far, but a sat nav fail added 2.5hrs onto the day, so we arrived late in Chamonix. We hadn't really planned to be there, but that's where we ended up, after a stop by the Italian Police. We ignored their guns and merrily cleaned the car. I booked an apartment with not enough beds.
We did a fair bit more France the next day.
There was moody sky, with thunder. The Dacia refused to start. Again.
There was rain.
We reached Orleans.
Then we drove to Le Havre, having booked the ferry for £109 the night before.
We followed this off the ferry.
Another shot of the welcoming committee.
Fitting room number.
We drove home.
Bye bye Cats.
Time for tea.
Plasticvandan - the car cost a smidge over 1000 Euros, which our Bucharest host thought was absolutely hilarious. He spent ages showing me much cheaper ones online. However, most were not estates, most were later ones (import issues and hideously ugly) and I doubt they'd only covered 36,000 miles. It came with two front wings, a replacement dashboard (in the correct blue) and a used wheel cylinder oddly.
It's been thoroughly amazing, hugely draining at times and made all the more bearable by having someone nice to share the journey with. The thought of individually driving so far just isn't worth contemplating really. We never really got to relax as a passenger (until Italy where we finally gave in and used sat nav), but having a break from driving was appreciated nonetheless.