Drivers in Romania seem forceful and committed, rather than genuinely erratic as we’ve seen in some countries we’ve visited. It’s a little easier to judge what they’re going to do next. A car sitting a couple of inches from your rear bumper is something you get used to.
In a way, we’re spoilt in Britain due to our extensive motorway and dual carriageway network; here, there are predominantly A-roads, so Romanians who are keen to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time get very adept at overtaking at the slightest possible opportunity.
Similarly, if a motorist turning left across the traffic is lingering, the guy behind doesn’t think twice before swooping around his outside to make the turn.
We didn’t linger long in Bucharest because our snapper Stan suggested stopping off to see Bran Castle, which is purported to have been Dracula’s residence.
As we left the capital, Stan found an unintended use for the Qashqai’s panoramic sunroof; if you were unable to see the traffic light signals on either side of the road due to high-siding traffic, you could peek out of the roof to check when the overhead lamp changed.
We headed north on a stretch of very new and very empty motorway, something that’s been a regular feature of many of the countries we’ve visited on this trip.
Then we took an older road towards Bran. It snaked up into the mountains, through small towns that bustled with various kinds of industry. We’re not sure all of them were completely above board: we saw one man selling puppies from the bonnet of his car parked at the side of the road.
The castle wasn’t quite what I was expecting; in my mind I’d anticipated a gloomily gothic, grey-slabbed and daunting creation perched high on a remote precipice. I thought it actually looked rather quaint, especially nestled among the tourist industry that’s grown up around the town.
As usual, time was against us, so we pressed on to Cluj, a city in the north west of Romania. We had hoped to reach Hungary today, but the going has been a little slower than we expected so we had to quit with 280 miles under our belts.
Not that we were worried; the Qashqai is continuing to prove to be an amiable and comfortable companion.
Today we plan to pass through Hungary and Slovakia on our way to Krakow in Poland, before heading up through the Czech Republic and Germany on Friday and then making a stab for home early on Saturday. There are still quite a few miles to go though…
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