Woke to find our partying youths from night before had camped (quietly!) overnight, and our pretty mountain was covered in fog - brrr!! After BoyRob found his own giant mushroom, drove through resort town of Vorokhta, then passed ski slopes. Road much better on other side - must be route taken by paying resort visitors!
Met up with MnM at the pass, almost 1000 mts, perused stalls with fur vests, hairy socks, leather moccasins, rag dolls, carved wooden deer heads etc. Still freezing cold at 11am. Locals say it was snowing here this time last year. Smoke from many chimneys, mist still on slopes. Horse-pulled carts popular mode of transport. Lunch in cafe/ pub in Rachiv, (Kiev cutlet was a tasty chicken kiev) opposite markers where one-cow families sold their milk to passers by on the road in reusables bottles eg coca-cola. Sun out at last, takes edge off cold. We will miss all the pretty churches when we go home.
South west of town, following shallow river running over shale and rocks, arrived at “the Geographical Centre of Europe” on outskirts of village of Kruhlyi. An unexpected milestone. A quick photo then back on the road, and suddenly there were were, running parallel to Romania on the other side of the river!! Down in valley, lady on street outside house spinning yarn on spindle watching traffic go by.
Up to 50 half finished 2-story houses left abandoned - what happened a couple of years ago in this town of Bila Tserkva? More changes in heart of town, mirror design flat-roofed houses more Romanian, including their flag flying. And to complete the complexity, on other side of town, lots of new 2-story elaborate castle-like houses (really IS Dracula country!) Where is the money coming from? No discernible industry - rich retirees? Had an email to say one of GirlRob’s EarthCruiser photos had won a prize in the Overland Journal sponsored competition, but don't know which of the 10 submitted won!! Our men stopped to pick up beer, in hopes of a campfire and catch up stories no doubt.....
Spotted a good campsite down by the river in Bedeuiua village so pulled in there - men washed vehicles ready for potential border crossing into Hungary tomorrow, GirlRob rinsed, wrung and hung today's wash trying to find spaces among yesterday's wash that still hadn't dried.... Some chaps who were sifting rocks on a giant sieve they shook between them, came over to talk trucks and compare journeys (all in mime with a few English words). Beer and stories over, Marina shared copy of DK (Dorling Kindersley) Travel Guide of Europe (similar to Lonely Planet). Didn't dally too long after dinner and chores, riverside camp got cold very quickly with rising fog.