Driving all the way back

Leaving Turkey, we drove along the coast, all the way from the South East to the North West. We weren’t in a hurry, because the wedding we wanted to attend in The Netherlands was still a couple of weeks away. However, because of the summer heat, we didn’t feel like staying too long. The last place we visited, was the city Edirne. The big mosque was beautiful, but as we slept next to it, quite loud! We only stayed for one night and we arrived at the Bulgarian border on August 23. People had told us that it was a busy border crossing, but that it was easy to get through. We kept our thumbs up!

In between Dutch, German, Austrian and British cars (packed with Turkish families), we waited to get into Bulgaria. As we got closer to customs, we got more scared: many people had to open their trunks and the officers were even opening suitcases. We didn’t bring any illegal stuff with us, but we did have a dog without the right papers! Luckily, we got through in a jiffy; Sparta was in Europe! The only problem was that we got a Bulgarian vignette for just one day. We had to hurry to the Romanian border.

After a long day of driving, getting into Romania was easy. We spent the night next to a monastery and continued North the next day. Fortunately, our friends from @Easy_overland were in the same area, so we met them in an old quarry, and we spent two nights together. It’s so great to spend time with amazing people with the same way of life! The dogs played and found many bones, we made campfires and we talked about going back. We all agreed, that going back was the best thing to do, for now.

On Wednesday morning, we said goodbye and drove a beautiful (and unfinished) road to Oradea. Here, Nienke worked as a volunteer in 2009, so it was really great to catch up with the founder of the organization. The border crossing to Hungary the next day was very easy. From now on, we would drive to The Netherlands in a straight line. Still, nobody knew we were heading home!

We passed Hungary and arrived at the Austrian border, where we had to wait for a long time. Apparently, many families came back from their summer vacation and wanted to go home as fast as possible. When we finally got to customs, the guy asked where we were going. ‘Only a transit, ok!’ he said. He handed us a form and we could go. However, the form said that we had to options: we could either drive through Austria and leave on the same day, or we had to go in quarantine for 10 days.

Actually, we had planned to stay in the mountains one day and go for a hike, but that was no option now. Driving to Germany right away was no option either, because it was already late, and we were tired from crossing Hungary. So, we decided to spend the night at a TIR parking, with lots of trucks, but also a nice shower, and continue the next day. Getting into Germany was no problem at all; apart from the signs that said we needed to get tested or go in self-quarantine, everything was normal. We spent our last night on the road next to the Concorde factory, where they make these huge motorhomes. Luckily, we weren’t the only home on wheels that was a little smaller!

Finally, on Saturday the 29th of August, we arrived in The Netherlands. A little sooner than expected, because corona kept us from enjoying more time in Austria. In the following days, we surprised our families and some friends by just showing up at their doors. Peek-a-boo! They were all flabbergasted, but very happy to see us again. After the people we are closest to knew we were back for a while, we could also tell everybody through social media.

So, we are back in The Netherlands. We have driven through a big part of the country to see our friends and family, but we have also been very busy with finding a house and a job. Besides, we had to arrange registration, health insurance and sim cards, which all took a while. It seems like we got everything under control now, although we are still job-hunting.

We’ll keep you posted!

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