The tenth day of Autocar’s tour around Europe in the new Nissan Qashqai felt like something of a milestone. We’d made good on the roads back into the European Union on Tuesday, ending that leg of our journey in Bucharest, Romania’s capital.
Before we left Bucharest yesterday morning, we drove into the centre of the city to survey the Palace of the Parliament.
The building, a money-no-object construction at the behest of Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu at a time when millions of ordinary Romanians were struggling to make ends meet, is breathtakingly enormous.
To reach it, you drive up a long, wide boulevard, and the Palace comes into view about 1.5 miles away. It’s only when you park up in the square adjacent to the building that its true size becomes apparent.
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.