Mongolia Charity Rally – Europe

Europe. Perhaps not as exciting as the other two posts on these series, where I wrote about how we are planning to cover the middle and the last leg of our journey.

Hang on, really? Europe is fascinating: a continent covering only 2% of the Earth’s surface where somehow history has managed to squeeze in 50 countries, that range from Russia to the Vatican City. It does not get more diverse than that.

But, as our lovely British friends would say, we are from the continent. What did you expect us to say?

Note: most Brits tend to insist in that they are not Europeans… but they are 😉

Where do we start?

After a change of plans, the official launch of the Mongolia Charity Rally 2015 will take place in Brussels.

Not a massive change for us of course. We would have had to cross the channel anyway and head to the capital of Belgium (and chocolate), home to the best beer in world. It would be rude not to have one or two. I know exactly the place:

Delirium Cafe

Eva and Savvas, here we come! And frites, don’t forget the frites!

What next?

Around 1760 miles (2834 km) separate Brussels from Turkey, give or take. According to Google Maps, that is equivalent to a 28 hours drive.

There are many ways to eat those miles. I bet not two teams in the really will take the exact same roads. Some would go as south as possible, reaching the coasts of Croatia to admire the Adriatic Sea.

Some will just hit the road and skip Europe without taking in the stunning scenery that the south-eastern corner of the old continent has to offer.

Many will probably agree on one thing: good tarmac, expensive fuel and a stone’s throw away from home, where is the fun in that?

So, how about us two?

Transfa…what?

Well, our goal is to get out of Europe quite quickly. But, given the choice, we would not mind stopping by Lake Balea in Romania, home to the Transfagarasan Highway
dubbed by Jeremy Clarkson as the best road in the world. I wonder why:

The Transfagarasan was constructed from 1970-1974 on the personal orders of Nicolae Ceausescu. Depending on what you read, some say that it was built to create a strategic route to defend Romania from a potential URSS invasion. Others, that it was built just to serve as a proud example of what socialist Romania could achieve. Regardless of the reason, it sure was an enormous project for that age at a high cost both financially and from a human standpoint.

Fully open only from June to October, the road’s highest point is at 2042 metres. It stretches for 90 km and it has more tunnels (a total of 5) and viaducts than any other road in Romania. And this is how it looks like:
Transfagarasan

Who says Europe is not exciting now?

Is this it?

Bizarrely we are finishing the series of articles about the route with the first leg of our journey. But yes, this is it. No more planning the route, for now.

Undoubtedly part of this route will change due to unforeseen whether conditions, lovely border officials and of course our ability to get lost in the way. But that I guess is part of the point as well. As long as we and our vehicle reach Ulan Bator sound and safe.

Next time we talk about the roads and people, we will actually be en route.

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