sexta-feira, outubro 24, 2008

Azares e sortes de um autocaravanista inglês na Roménia


This wasn’t to be the end of our troublesome events in Romania unfortunately. Later that day we drove along the number 3 main road towards the city of Constanta, but we didn’t make it. After crossing the River Danube just before a town called Cernavoda, our rear right side tyre burst and we came to a sudden halt on a roundabout after just exiting the Motorway. Although we were frustrated at this, we suddenly realised how lucky we had been. If that tyre had burst just a few minutes earlier when we were doing 65mph on the Motorway, who knows what would have happened?

We were stranded on the side of a busy roundabout, so we knew we had to act quickly and instantly got out our warning triangle, traffic cone, fluorescent jackets (by this time it was late at night), torches and relevant tools for what we thought would be a simple tyre change. It turned out to be anything but. We’d managed to change the tyre without incident, in about 15 minutes, but it was ensued afterwards which caused us problems. As we went to drive away again, the wheel appeared to be locked and we couldn’t move, we could reverse about half a foot but that was it. We were sure we’d done everything right but not being mechanics, we had no idea what the problem was. We tried looking and fiddling for a few minutes in the hope that something would give, but to no avail. We had no choice but to walk in the dark of night to the next town, which was Cernavoda, and seek help. By some miracle, the first person we came across spoke perfect English. “What do you need?” he asked us. We weren’t exactly sure, so all we said was a telephone number for a breakdown service, but instead he kindly offered to drive us back to the Motorhome to inspect the problem first, which we accepted. He made a few telephone calls to a mechanic friend of his, but by this time it was very late, gone midnight, so nobody could come out.
We tried to take the wheel back off, but one of the bolts was stuck; no matter how hard we tried it just wouldn’t budge. We had no choice but to try and get some sleep by the side of the road, and our new friend (whose name is Adrian) said he would come back in the morning and bring along the mechanic and try and get us sorted. We were extremely grateful for his generosity and we exchanged telephone numbers so we could meet up again the next morning. What we didn’t expect was for him, half an hour later, to return with a basket of food and drink for us, including hot Pizza, Cheese, Bread, Fruit, Milk, Orange Juice and Chocolate! We hadn’t asked for this at all, but we were absolutely touched by his kindness - it was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for us - especially someone we had only known for about an hour!

To cut quite a painfully long, tedious story a little shorter than I could make it, Adrian’s assistance was incredibly helpful, and his Mechanic friends were able to sort the problem, which was partly (or perhaps, completely) our wrong doing as we’d used the wrong bolts for the new wheel. We’re stupid English kids, what can I say?!
We were only charged 30 Euros for the mechanics time - I can’t imagine how much it would have cost in the UK - which we were more than happy to pay. What is more important than getting our problem solved however, is that we have made a fantastic new friend in Adrian from Cernavoda. We swapped email addresses and he was even keen to hear about our travels, so I gave him the link to this blog. The compassion he showed to us that night was invaluable as it saved us having to call out what would have been an incredibly expensive Breakdown company, and if you are reading this now Adrian, we are very grateful. Thank you!

As I write this, we are currently parked up at yet another Petrol Station (a ‘Shell‘, this time) hooked up to the mains. I absolutely recommend this to all Motorhomer’s travelling in Eastern Europe. It’s exceedingly helpful and, as we’ve experienced, if you ask nicely the staff are more than happy to allow it.

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