With over 300 other teams travelling in broardly the same direction, travelling in convoy is an essential aspect of the Mongol Rally.
For the most part, I've found driving in convoys to be to our advantage. Meeting new teams to hear their stories and create new ones with is surely one of the essential components for all good adventures (travelling with other teams also relaxes the innevitable tension within teams that stems from being couped up in a small car for weeks on end).
Convoy driving also has its distinct difficulties: with no radios or walkie-talkies, we had to communicate through easily misinterpreted hand signals.
Thanks to a hailstorm with highlighted our car's first major fault (a gaping hole in the roof from where we had done our wiring), it wasn’t long after leaving our camp that we became separated from the other teams. Once we escaped the storm, we found the motorway and, thanks to a few well timed service station stops (which included treating Yoda to his first drive through), we regrouped our convoy and sped on towards Budapest. The excitement of being back in a big lively city infected us the moment we drove from the picturesque side of Buda to Pest, the centre of Budapest’s nightlife, on the other side of the Danube.
Budapest is a photographer’s dream, so we procrastinated a while before recieving a local tip for nightclub. The club we went to, called ‘Mono’, is accessed by climbing several floors up a grimy stairwell into a dark sweaty room in which one DJ pumped out heavy dubstep tunes all night. If this room can be best described as grimy, the epic roof garden that looked over most of Budapest was something else entirely.
We were in Budapest no longer than ten hours in total but got the most out of our time that was humanly feasible. It was a matter of taking alternating shifts of driving and sleeping (doing our best to make sure the two never combined) leaving Budapest and we had barely recuperated by the time we reached the thermal baths in Miskolctapolca, Eastern Hungary.
The baths were situated in a complex of caves with hot springs, rapids, and even an aquatic planetarium. While the resort was predominantly family orientated, the opportunity to have our first decent wash of the trip was too good to pass by and, to improve our spirits even more, the manager of a nearby cafe was so in awe of our yak parked outside that we were all given free beer and goulash soup to fuel the next stage of our journey into Romania.
Travel diary shared by Jack R