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J162 - Saturday, March 27: Oradea - Barand

73.37km – 10H29’
Altitude : 85m
The stage starts at the entrance to Oradea, a city of 220,000 inhabitants, which we cross before arriving at the border point of Bors, 15 km from the center of the city.
At km5, Serge is interviewed by two journalists from a national daily.  He answers very interesting questions, and then returns to the road.
At 9:20, Serge crosses the Romanian border where there is no checkpoint.  “La revedere” Romania!
At 9:25 at km20, Serge enters Hungary at the Artand checkpoint, adjacent to the Romanian border post.  His passport is checked and a quick look is given to all the closets and chests of the camper:  luckily nobody is hidden inside.  We are back on French time and Hungary will go on daylight savings time tonight like France so our watches will gain 1 hour.  We have decided not to change our watches since in Romania we were already 1 hour ahead of France so we are on daylight savings time a bit early.
Once past the border, we look in vain for a sign and a Hungarian flag.  All we find is a sign giving speed limits in the city, on the highway, etc., etc.  Since we will not be driving on the toll roads, there is no need for us to buy vehicle stickers.
It is warm and the gray sky brings us showers on and off all day long.  René’s morale is low.  He seems worried about crossing the border, unless it’s his new haircut that is bothering him: the version “without a clipper guard,” i.e., “a sheared pate”.   
I have to say that the highway E60, always the same one, even when  we change country, is monotonous and very dangerous, with no shoulders and almost no place to park (not easy for the van).  Serge has a hard time running on the rocky embankment which is no larger than the space next to the white line, and even though it’s Saturday, there are lots of Romanian trucks hurtling along this road, which is straight as a die.  At km 46, he asks if we can’t find him another itinerary, otherwise we had better start thinking about the color of his funeral wreath…  We pour over the maps but the layout of the roads indicates that we will have to do quite a few kilometers of ascending and descending.  We will try to find a solution because getting a hair trim from passing trucks is too risky.  If Serge counts his hours, his days, his kilometer average, the number of vehicles crossed, from my side I try to anticipate the organization at the end of the day as well as changes to the support team, the next of which will take place in Budapest, tomorrow.  We can’t have people arriving when we are 300 km from the airport so 10 to 15 days before a change of support team, we have to calculate as accurately as possible  so the routine Serge is used to won’t be upset:  rising time, running time, shower, dinner and to bed.  Serge told me one day “I am not at the disposal of the organization,” which means that his day of running takes precedence over extras.  So we have to organize the day and occasionally the extras, so that Serge can run his stage as normally as possible.  Of course, in a case of absolute necessity, Serge would know how to adapt to the organization!  But here it’s not a case of absolute necessity, so it’s up to me to manage with the planned route and calculate accurately so the race will follow its daily routine without a “hitch” that could penalize our runner, even if it means we have to find another itinerary to reach Budapest. If we had nothing to do we would be bored and if this were vacation we would know it.  So let’s be happy we have a bit of spice in our life and follow our road in this new country, which strikes us as being a bit cold.  Contrary to Romania, we are skirting most villages rather than going through them.  In this season and with this weather we can say that our first 50 kilometers in Hungary have been “flat and dull”.

Town : Barand (Hongrie)

GPS : N 47.1800.3° E 021.1159.0 °