This might be stating the blooming obvious, but Europe is rather big if you don't take a direct route from one part to another. And there's plenty to see.

On Wednesday our journey in the new Nissan Qashqai didn't even manage to make it all the way across Romania; we started in Bucharest and called it quits in the bustling city of Cluj-Napoca in the North of the country.

Then yesterday we had a reality check; our ambitious plan was to head north through Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and loop down to finish somewhere in the Czech Republic. 

That, we felt, would put us within striking distance of reaching home on Saturday without having to pull all-nighters behind the wheel. This far into the trek, neither of us quite have the stamina, or any wish to be irresponsible.

However, we had to revise our plan when we realised how long our five-country route was going to take us; although such treks are possible (probably not advisable), we're occasionally stopping to take pictures for a forthcoming feature, so it isn't . Plus, there's also the issue of maintaining a decent average speed to enable progress.

Prolific motorway building in some countries has been a theme of this series of blogs. I can see why it is such an important issue; although we've predominantly been sticking to major roads, most of them pass through endless towns and villages, rather than bypass the town.

As frustrating as it is for the motorists to have to trudge along at a reduced speed, it must also affect the quality of life of the locals who live there.

We've been trying to eat up the miles during the past couple of days, so every time we've encountered a stretch of two- or three-lane road, we've breathed a sigh of relief and set the Qashqai's cruise control for the maximum permitted speed.

It's interesting to see how this motorway building has been future-proofed – we've experienced several near-deserted three-lane routes – and how it will continue to make fantastic sections of Europe more accessible for motorists.

Highlights yesterday included the breathtaking hills and mountains of Romania and Slovakia (and some fantastic flowing A-roads through them) and the speed and ease with which we could cross national borders now that we're back in the European Union.

We had to splash out on some more vignettes to stick in the windscreen, so now have a fine assortment of stickers to enable us to travel on the roads of any European nation you care to mention.

Yesterday, we spotted our third UK-registered car since we left Hungary on Saturday. This time it was a BMW making rapid progress towards Krakow in Poland.

Actually, eagle-eyed Stan spotted a fourth UK plate on a distraught looking BMW 3-series in a breaker's yard somewhere on our journey. We pondered whether its rightful owner actually knows it is there…

The Qasqhqai's trip computer for this trek clicked over 4000 miles somewhere in Hungary yesterday. Today we strike out for the Czech Republic and then on to Germany. 

We're currently trying to work out just where the Qashqai will surpass the magic 5000-mile mark for this odyssey. It's looking likely to be in Germany or Belgium on Saturday morning.

Follow our progress at @matt_burt_ and @autocar.

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day one

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day two

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day three

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day four

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day five

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day six

Nissan Qashai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day seven

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day eight

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day nine

Nissan Qashqai from Sunderland to Istanbul, day ten