Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Otopeni, RO

On a Truck to Bucharest, RO

It’s Tuesday, the 8th of Sept and we have been in Sibiu now for 4 nights. We planned to stay for 2 nights and then take the Motorcycle riders dream road, the Transfagarasan, and now we are sitting on a tow truck being hauled to Bucharest. That shows you how you can plan and then stuff happens.

When we got up this morning we had breakfast at the Hotel and while eating, Simone came over and told us the ADAC guy called and told her we need to be towed to the BMW dealership in Bucharest;  about 6 hours South of Sibiu, across Alp-like mountains. She told us there is no place in Sibiu to fix our bike and the tow truck will be here between 9.00 and 10.00 AM.
It hit us like a ton of bricks. While Sibiu is a nice town to visit, don’t get stranded with your bike there. Sure it is a large city but it is not geared towards motorcycling. Maybe you can get your car fixed, but bikes not so much.
We waited for a while for the truck to show up and then we called the tow truck company again at 10.30 AM and they told us they will be right with us. Finally, at 1.30 PM the truck showed. Romanian time is not European time. It was difficult to keep my cool, but we are at their mercy. The loading of the bikes onto the truck went well. We had to convince the truck driver that both bikes needed to be towed; even though only one bike was broken down. (Otherwise I would have to ride my bike, following the tow- truck to Bucharest).

So, now we are 3 people abreast on the bench seat of a tow truck, in heavy traffic heading south. The seating arrangements are tight. We cannot talk to the driver, we do not speak Romanian. We have to rely on his driving skills with our bikes being in his hands. The traffic is heavy on the E 81; the ‘highway’ is packed going through the mountains. This is a 2 lane road, with sporadic construction and winding curves. A few just stop and go sections. We stopped once to refuel the truck. The driver does his best but it is after 7.00 PM before we find the BMW dealership North of Bucharest in a town called Otopeni. The place is closed.

We unload the bikes and give the driver a tip and he leaves us ‘stranded’ at the BMW dealer “Automobile Bavaria” in Otopeni, RO. So here we stand, at a closed dealership with 2 bikes. Around us is all the stuff we had tied to the bikes so now what do we do?

Luckily Carol had bought a Romanian telephone number on line; an easy way to get a local Telephone # when you have the chip from KnowRoaming on your cell phone.  I highly recommend this service.

We call ADAC and tell them our predicament. We tell the ADAC guy on the phone, (the phone was routed to Athens, Greece) that the BMW dealer in Romania is closed. It takes some time and he calls us back and tells us we should go to the Euro Hotel, all arrangements are made by ADAC and a taxi will come and pick us up in about 45 minutes. So we wait. ……..and wait………..and wait.

At 8.30 PM, there is still no taxi. I try to communicate with the security guards at the BMW shop but only get back a stare and a shoulder shrug.

Now what do we do? Do we sleep in the back of the shop in the street? Is there anybody else to talk to in the whole dealership? I walk around the building and rattle on every door, the security guy does not care. I do find a door that is open and I walk into the empty dealership and lo and behold there is a lonely worker at a desk. I asked him if he speaks English or German and he nods, and in English I explain to him our situation.

He takes pity on us and calls a taxi to take us to the Euro Hotel. The problem is there are 5 Euro Hotels in Bucharest, he does not know which Hotel the ADAC booked for us and neither do we. But, he knows of a Euro Hotel not far away so we take a chance and take the taxi that shows up in a few minutes and just drive to the Euro hotel this man found for us. We get all of our stuff from the bikes out of the taxi (we left both bikes at the BMW place, since it had security guards) and stand at the reception of the Euro Hotel. This Euro Hotel had a call from ADAC trying to make a reservation for us but it is totally booked. ADAC did not call us back to tell us this. For all the money we have on us, they do not have room for us.

Hazy View Of The Triumf Hotel
Now what do we do? We are stranded again, standing in the center of Bucharest with all of our stuff, sans bikes.  We asked the clerk at registration to see if he can find a hotel for us so we can sleep someplace for the night. Again, we must have looked pitiful and he called around. His 3rd try led us to a hotel nearby that time forgot. He booked us into the TriumfHotel. A grandiose Hotel left over from the Communist era that today needs to be totally redone. It was shabby to put it mildly. The price was outrageous for what is was. Cash only, no credit cards. What choice did we have at this point?

Again, we put all the stuff into a taxi and finally arrived at the Hotel Triumf at 9.15 PM. Yes, they have our reservation. Yes, there is a place to eat next door but it will close in 15 minutes.

So Carol ran to place an order while I schlepped the stuff 2 flights up to the room. The elevator (one person) was so slow I was faster on foot hauling the stuff up the stairs. I met Carol at the ‘Restaurant’, a table outside in a park-like setting right next door and ate the salad she ordered. There was no other food available so close to closing time.

So here I am, eating rabbit food someplace in the center of Bucharest. Our bikes are someplace in a town called Otopeni, our stuff is someplace in this monster of a Hotel and we have no clue what will happen next. The good thing is, the A/C works in the room. 

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