Thursday, September 03, 2015

Drobeta Tunru Severin and the road to Belgrade

This was an epic tour of sorts for us. We'd never travelled to any of the countries we were going before, we'd never been on a road trip this long and we certainly hadn't crossed these many borders in a single trip before. So, our itinerary was to cover part of the Balkans on a round trip from Bucharest and back.
Before we get to the actual trip, a bit about the packing. Each of us carried just enough to fit into a had luggage. Apart from that, there was a document bag and spares bag (the spares for the car, not for us). Food was to be made/ bought/ eaten/ cooked along the away- which might not seem like a big deal for most people, but considering we eat a vegetarian diet, and the Mum in law doesn't have any garlic - and we refused to listen to her suggestion that she turn Fruitarian during the course of the trip, we had our work cut out for us.
We left Bucharest early in the morning, to avoid the afternoon- evening traffic on the highways. Come weekend, no on seems to want to stay back in Bucharest anymore. The highways are packed with motorist either heading for the hills or the sea. We'd intended to stop at Pitesti and Cryova for a coffee and lunch break respectively before we hit out final destination for the night - Drobeta- Turnu Severin.
Lunch in Cryova was at this lovely joint called Trevi - lovely because they custom made our pizzas and Pastas (although the d├ęcor was a tad OTT, with everything from the Leaning tower of Pisa to the Fontana being featured in the restaurant), and the full flavours and the genuinely nice service staff made for a great lunch.
We made it to Drobeta by evening, and were in no condition to do anything apart from collapse in a heap in the air conditioned comfort of our room. The mercury had touched a blistering 40 on our ride over.  But dinner needed having. and a town, albeit small, needed seeing.

So, Drobeta TS, a small-ish town with a vibrant city centre. It has a series of lit fountains along the main city buildings. There were, of course, remnants of the communist era, like a residential/ commercial block with a worryingly massive crack running along the entire length of the building. But I seemed to be the only one losing any sleep over it. The townsfolk seemed completely oblivious to it, so clearly, I was overreacting. For a border town I've never heard of, It was pretty active with a surprising number of children running about.

The next morning we headed out to the border after an early breakfast (in an attempt to once again beat the weekend queues. Little did I know that would become our mantra for the rest of the trip)
The Route from Drobeta TS to Belgrage
The Iron gates bridge- the border from Romania into Serbia
We were greeted by perfectly pleasant Border Security Ladies who seemed slightly confused about the Indian Passport travelling with rest of the family, but otherwise waived us through. The road from the border of Serbia to Belgrade follows the Danube upstream and is one of remarkable beauty. You have the vast Danube flowing to your right, flanked by mountains to your left.
The lovely Danube
 You make your way through a number of tunnels and nowhere on the road, despite constant signs warning you of potential landslides and a steady stream of traffic do you feel unsafe - or maybe that was just my confidence in the baa-lamb's driving (okay, all of you who know the baa-lamb first hand can stop laughing now).


 
We would have gotten to Belgrade sooner, but the journey was so picturesque, we decided to stop at several places just to drink in the beauty.