Mongol Rally Diaries – Sweltering heat and sunflower fields

By in Hungary, Mongol Rally, Romania, Serbia, Sora on July 24, 2015
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Budapest, what small amount of time I spent there, was pretty damn awesome. It’s a beautiful city, one I can’t wait to see more of at a later time when it isn’t so hot and I have far more time. The thing about our traveling, and the way that we’re going about it is, we really can’t stop and take in any one city for too long. I mean technically we could but then we could very well end up on the road much longer than we planned.

I’ve driven Eddy only twice and that was back when he was sitting on the farm in Wales, but I continue to feel guilty that the others are doing their share and I’m not. SO time to do something about it, and that something is to take the wheel. On a highway, where I don’t have to worry I’ll stall 3 million times. So any advice you people out there have would be much loved.

So far this trip has been pretty wonderful, I’ve gotten to know my new teammates even more and I have to say I’m quite glad they’re part of this team.


Scott, also known as Travelstache, is fascinating to listen to. He’s been to 55 countries and knowing him, he’s far from done yet. He’s easy to chat with and quite a funny guy, it’s made traveling along with him very enjoyable. When you’re around him, you get a very zen sort of feel. He’s that chill guy we all need when stuff goes wrong. The photo’s he takes while we travel are amazing, before we embarked on our trip I took a look at his photos and started to follow him on social media and every time he went anywhere I was treated to a delightful image that, if only for a moment, transported me to the places he was traveling in. It gives you wanderlust something awful and the photo’s are just beautiful. While he’s awesome to chat with, his photo’s are what truly speak for him. If you haven’t already, you should go check out his page on Facebook.

Alright then, back to our story yeah?

So after we left Budapest it was back on the road like always, Maartja got us to a petrol station where we then switched drivers and Kristina once more stepped up to the plate and drove Eddy. It went far better than our London drive, which to be fair, was impressive all things considered.

The heat was horrible. I’m rather used to high heats, but this was truly awful, the sun was relentless and the air stifling and no matter how much water I drank my lips remained dry and I wanted more.

GoCoco people, if you’re reading this, I’m going to time myself to see just how fast I can drink down a bottle of coconut water. Maybe try shotgunning it. Either way the video of it will be awesome. It’s a godsend your product. You won me for life I hope you know.


Kristina was feeling quite melty as we drove so when we stopped for a little break, Scott took over and got us the rest of the way into Belgrade. The hostel was just around the corner from where we parked and I was excited. Why? Because I’ve never been in a hostel let alone stay in one before. Much of this journey is new for me, so I enjoy it every step of the way. Anyways, after being shown around, the ladies of our team decided to have a ‘girls night’ while Scott went to catch up with a fellow traveler friend, Skinny Chick Traveling.

As much as we wanted to keep exploring the fact was this: It was hot, we were sweating, hungry and just plain tired. So after dinner we came back to our lovely air conditioned room ( it was pure bliss) and bid each other goodnight. Our next stop would be Romania!

Road to Romania

This day unfortunately I wasn’t feeling all that well (thank you body, loves and kisses) but there wasn’t anything to do for it, The heat was still horrible, leaving us all feeling sticky, damp and overall just uncomfortable. First thing on our agenda was taking Eddy to a mechanic to get looked at. He’s been making weird sounds ( I know, sooo specific xD) and we just wanted to be safe. I talked with Chelsea, the one who sold me Eddy, and she referred us to the shop: Moto Oprema Guevara. They didn’t speak any english, or rather we didn’t speak any Serbian so we just turned Eddy on and showed the mechanic what was wrong. One fan belt tightening and cable adjustment later, we paid 10 euro and then got back into a much happier Eddy.

For breakfast we drove out of Belgrade for a bit and got something called Burek? I think thats how it’s spelt. Probably not. I’m sorry serbian language. Anywho, we ate the bread stuff, got loads of water for free from a nice woman who worked there and then got us looooooots of fruit. The stands near by were brimming with vegetation, and the nectarines smelled absolutely amazing.

Stuffed back into the car we sweated our way out of Serbia and entered into Romania, but just as we left, Mario (aka Scott) paused to throw a banana out of the window. Which if you know us, you know why we all found it hilarious. No cars slipped on it, haha.

While at the border this tall man came around and went right to Maartje’s side and said in a deep voice “Are you Maartje Smit?” It was at this point I was sure Maartje was either so famous that even border control recognizes her or she was secretly some fugitive and they were going to take her away. Alas, turned out to be none of those things, he was just a man from the Netherlands who was very happy to find another “dutchie” to talk with. He was excited and clearly happy, and the two chattered away while our passports and paperwork were being looked over. Did you know that if you wear glasses, they’ll demand you remove them when you show your passport? The more you know.

Most of our day was spent driving through romania searching for a vignette ( all I know about it is it keeps us from getting tickets and fines) which consisted of lots of broken english and gesturing and being told to keep going further and ask the next station. It was a bit of a hassle and the heat wasn’t helping matters.


One highlight was the field of sunflowers. We’d noticed them in Serbia, but it turns out they’re also spread out all over Romania as well, so we gave into our previous urges and pulled over so we could frolic through the sunflowers. They were gorgeous, and so beautiful when in such a large field. The drive was lovely, despite how hot it was. The hills all around us reminded me strongly of the valleys of California and I missed home for just a bit.

Now remember how I’ve said I can’t drive and I’ve yet to drive Eddy on this trip? WELL I DROVE EDDY! We pulled into a car park for a small break and I asked if I could just give it a go. Everyone coached me and soon I was driving around in circles and practicing how to shift gears and stop and do everything without totally screwing up our car. I’m hoping with more practice I can take over driving more and actually be a useful member of this team xD

We drove and drove and drove until at last we reached Sibiu! We weren’t quite sure where we were staying so we stopped over at a hotel for internet, chatted a bit then decided on a camping ground not far away. We had a classic “What you see in the photo might not be accurate” moment. We thought it would be a lovely camping ground with a pool and bathrooms and you know, basic camping ground stuff. Instead it was two large ponds full of poop and trash, and an open field where apparently it was free to camp. It was perfect.

Even with bugs biting and ants crawling everywhere, we settled down and had a lovely dinner. The romanian woman staying in a tent by us and though there was a language barrier we still managed to hold a little conversation and chat.


Amazing surprise this morning. Two other rally teams stopped at the grounds in the middle of the night! Three Australians and one man from the UK. They’re so lovely and after hitting it off and chatting we decided to join together in what is our first convoy!

Before we left we chatted more with our neighboring romanians and had some great laughs as the man told some stories. A woman came by, named Anna, and tried to sell us some milk in a beer bottle. We of course refused, but before departing, Anna asked if Maartje was single because she had a son that would be perfect for her. Unfortunately though, Maartje wouldn’t around for a wedding tomorrow so had to pass.


And once more dear readers I leave you, we’re about to get onto the Transfagarasan Highway, apparently one of the greatest highways in Europe. Looks like we’re Bucharest bound, there is a promise of wifi and showers (WOO!)

Always yours,


A proud military brat who’s lived all over the place, who decided to uproot herself and move to London to earn her BA in Graphic Design at LCC. She’s only traveled a bit around Europe and her home country, but she’s very keen to travel more and earn more stamps on her passport. She’s a podcaster and graphic designer for The Baker Street Babes which feeds into her love for Sherlock Holmes.
  1. Reply

    That sounds like a really fun road trip. I like how you managed to communicate what was wrong with the car to the mechanic. I’m just picturing what I’d do and it would be like a game of charades.

  2. Reply

    There is something inexplicably magical about sunflower fields, Sora! Awesome post!

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