Camper Trip in Romania – Preparing the Campervan

RO: Inainte de a incepe intreaga serie de articole despre vacanta noastra cu autorulota, am vrea sa spunem ca suntem amandoi incepatori in ale rulotelor πŸ™‚ Chiar daca am avut de mai multe ori tentative de a inchiria autorulote in vacante inafara tarii (in mod special in Islanda si in Noua Zeelanda), niciodata nu s-au concretizat planurile si am preferat mereu varianta de a inchiria masina si de a ne muta seara de seara in alt loc. Insa acum, avand in vedere intregul context actual cu pandemia, cu restrictiile si toata nebunia, am vrut sa incercam o varianta mai sigura de a calatori, fara sa ne expunem prea mult in hoteluri sau restaurante. Si oricum, de cand il avem pe Alexei, nu mai putem fizic sa impachetam si despachetam zilnic bagaje, sa caram si sa strangem πŸ™‚ Asa ca preferam sa gasim optiuni mai confortabile si adevarul e ca dupa toata perioada aceasta (din martie pana in septembrie) in care am fost la foc continuu, ba cu pandemia, ba cu lucratul de acasa si avut grija de Alexei in acelasi timp, ba cu mutarea inapoi in Romania, ba cu operatia lui Andrei si apoi cu imbolnavirea parintilor de covid, eram… epuizati. Sau nu, epuizati ar fi un understatement. Eram la pamant. Si aveam nevoie disperata sa ne deconectam putin.

EN: Before starting our entire series of articles about our camper trip, we would like to say that we are both newbies when it comes to campervans πŸ™‚ Even though we had several attempts to rent campervans in our trips abroad (especially in Iceland and New Zealand) our plans failed to materialize and we always ended up renting a car and booking different accommodation for each night. But now, having in mind all the context with the pandemic, with all the restrictions and all the madness around it, we wanted to try a safer way of traveling, without too much exposure in hotels or restaurants. And since we have Alexei, we are no longer capable of packing and unpacking every day, carrying suitcases and gathering everything after us. So we now prefer to find more comfortable options and the truth is that after all this time (from March since September) when we worked really hard either because of the pandemic, or working from home and taking care of Alexei at the same time, either because our move back to Romania, then with Andrei’s emergency surgery and in the end with our parents getting infected with covid we were just… exhausted. Actually no, exhausted is an understatement. We felt that we were at an all time low. And we desperately needed to disconnect.

RO: Si chiar daca parte din aceasta vacanta a fost anulata (din cauza unor probleme de sanatate in familie), a ramas parte din excursia cu autorulota (“casa pe roti” cum ii spune Alexei). Pe care am asteptat-o cu sufletul la gura! Desi planul era sa incepem organizarea excursiei cu mult timp inainte, nestiind daca in final vom putea merge, am lasat totul pe ultima suta de metri. Nu voiam sa ne entuziasmam facand planuri si apoi sa fie nevoie sa anulam totul. Asa ca am inceput cu patru zile inainte de plecare sa conturam itinerariul, sa facem liste de bagaje, de mancare si de alte obiecte necesare pentru rulota. Itinerariul a fost facut orientativ, nu am vrut sa structuram prea mult vacanta (de fapt am fi vrut in conditii normale, dar chiar nu aveam timp sa ne gandim prea mult :D), bagajele foarte pe fuga, singura grija mai atenta a fost partea de mancare (pentru ca voiam sa evitam pe cat posibil mersul la restaurante si sa gatim in autorulota toate mesele). Avea sa ne piarda acest entuziasm cu gatitul pe parcursul zilelor, dar planurile initiale erau marete πŸ˜€

EN: And even though part of this vacation was cancelled (due to some health issues in our family) we were still left with the camper trip (“house on the wheels” as Alexei calls it). And we waited it for so long! The initial plan was to start organizing this trip long before, but due to the fact that we didn’t know if we will make it, we left everything for the last few days. We didn’t want to be way too enthusiastic making plans and risk to have everything canceled. So four days before our departure we started to think about our itinerary, making packing lists, food lists and all the other objects that we might need for the campervan. We made a rough itinerary but we didn’t want to make it very precise (under normal circumstances we would have probably done a very detailed itinerary but we didn’t have much time to think about it :D), we packed in a hurry and our only concern was the food (because we wanted to avoid as much as possible to go to the restaurants so we wanted to cook in the campervan for all three meals of the day). Our enthusiasm about cooking would fade away during the trip but we had ambitious plans πŸ˜€

RO: Am inchiriat o autorulota de 2+2 persoane (adica 2 adulti si 2 copii) de la Camper Team. Fiind doar noi trei, ne-am gandit ca nu are rost sa luam ceva mai mare, care ne-ar fi incomodat putin la drum din cauza dimensiunilor. Modelul autorulotei este Ford Benimar (link aici pentru descrierea rulotei pe site), din 2020, foarte moderna si bine utilata (senzori de parcare, panou solar, internet, frigider, gratar, congelator, espressor de cafea si capsule, incalzire, baie si pat mare – doar cateva dintre cele care ni s-au parut noua foarte “exotice” pentru o rulota :D). Inainte de a lua rulota am primit si explicatiile tehnice (cum sa folosim buteliile pentru incalzire, cum sa golim fosa si rezervorul de apa uzata, cum sa umplem rezervorul cu apa curata si cum sa alimentam rulota cu electricitate). Ne uitasem inainte de a pleca la diverse videouri pe Youtube cu modelul rulotei noastre, asa ca nu au fost informatii complet noi, ne familiarizasem deja cu procedurile πŸ™‚ In videoul de mai jos am facut un tur al rulotei la interior si am vorbit despre aspectele tehnice, mai putin placute ale unei vacante cu autorulota πŸ™‚

EN: We rented a campervan for 2+2 persons (2 adults and 2 children) from Camper Team. being just the three of us we thought that it is more than enough as a bigger one would have probably been a bit more uncomfortable for driving. Our campervan was a Ford Benimar (link here for the full description of the camper on their website), from 2020, very modern and well equipped (parking sensors, solar panel, internet, fridge, barbecue, freezer, coffee machine and capsules, heating,, bathroom and big bed – just a few of the things that we considered more “exotic” for a campervan :D). Before taking the campervan we also received the technical explanations (how to use the heating, how to empty the toilet and the water container, how to fill the water container with fresh water and how electricity works). We watched several Youtube videos with the same Benimar campervan so most of this information was not completely new, as we were already familiarized with the procedures πŸ™‚ In the video below we made a interior tour of our campervan and we also talked about the technical details, a bit less pleasant for a camper trip πŸ™‚

RO: Ce ne-a placut a fost faptul ca rulota era echipata complet. Avea incluse asternuturi, prosoape pentru fiecare dintre noi (nu stim daca este un lucru normal pentru orice rulota inchiriata, insa in cazul nostru asa a fost si ni s-a parut minunat :D), bucataria utilata, farfurii, tacamuri (cu toate acestea am preferat sa avem si noi cateva de rezerva, de hartie, pentru zilele in care nu aveam niciun chef de spalat vase), toate spalate in masina de spalat si ambalate individual (folosesc manusi, ca sa nu atinga deloc vasele). Eram destul de stresati stiind ca rulota fusese predata chiar cu o zi inainte de a o lua noi si chiar ne gandeam daca va fi dezinfectata cum trebuie. Din fericire, asa a fost πŸ™‚ Daca am fi stiut ca vom avea absolut orice in autorulota (de la ustensile pentru gratar pana la orice mic accesoriu de care am fi avut nevoie in bucatarie) nu am mai fi carat o cutie intreaga de lucruri pentru bucatarie πŸ™‚

EN: What we liked the most was the fact that the camper was fully equipped. It had bed sheets, towels for each of us (we don’t know if this is something normal for any camper rental company but this was our case and we found it amazing :D), fully equipped kitchen, dishes, cutlery (even so we preferred to have some spare ones as well, made of paper, for those days when we didn’t feel like washing dishes at all), all of them washed in the washing machine and individually packed (they use gloves, so that they don’t touch the dishes at all). We were a bit stressed knowing that the campervan was handed over one day before our departure and we were actually wondering if it will be properly disinfected. Luckily, it was πŸ™‚ If we would have known that we have everything in the campervan (from barbecue tools to any tiny accessory needed in the kitchen) we would have carried a box full of things for kitchen πŸ™‚

RO: Ce ne-a incurcat destul de mult a fost faptul ca autorulota nu avea sistem isofix pentru scaunul lui Alexei de masina (iar scaunul nostru de masina putea fi montat doar in baza isofix). Deci aveam nevoie de un scaun cu prindere in centuri. Aveam o scoica mai mare de la Nuna, care ar fi fost potrivita pentru copilasi de pana in 13kg (Alexei are 11,5kg) dar un copil de aproape doi ani si jumatate in scoica de bebelusi… e un plan destul de nerealistic pentru un drum atat de lung πŸ˜€ Trebuie sa recunoastem ca ne-a fost destul de greu sa gasim un scaun prins in centuri (care sa fie si bun) insa din fericire niste prieteni apropiati chiar aveau unul, asa ca am reusit sa il imprumutam de la ei.

EN: What caused us a bit of problem was the fact that the campervan does not have an isofix system for Alexei’s car seat (and our car seat can only be mounted on an isofix base). So we needed a car seat that could be mounted in the camper’s seat belts. We had a larger baby car seat from Nuna, which would have been good for children up until 13 kg (Alexei is 11,5 kg now) but a 2,5 years old child in a baby car seat… it’s quite unrealistic for such a long trip πŸ˜€ We have to admit that it was a bit hard for us to find a car seat that can be attached in the seat belts (a good one at least) but luckily, some close friends of our had one, so managed to borrowed it from them.

RO: Initial am crezut ca nu este nevoie sa facem pregatiri prea mari pentru rulota pentru ca multe dintre lucrurile care ni se pareau noua importante de avut erau deja incluse in rulota (parasolar, scaune si masa de picnic, prosoape, asternuturi, farfurii, tacamuri, espresor). Insa ne-am ghidat dupa lista Laurei Cosoi (link aici) si am realizat cat suntem de nepriceputi cand vine vorba de astfel de vacante πŸ™‚ Nu ne-ar fi trecut niciodata prin cap ca ar fi bine sa avem atat de multe lucruri cu noi. Asa ca am luat un felinar micut pe care sa il folosim seara, o ghirlanda cu becuri (mai mult pentru atmosfera), cateva lucruri practice (un briceag, carbuni pentru gratar, diverse pentru curatenie in rulota si spalat vase), boxa noastra portabila, cosul de picnic (mai mult pentru poze dragute, nu era neaparat necesar), diverse ustensile pentru gatit (tel, un bol mare, un cutit, un ceaun mic, un tocator), mixerul vertical (pentru a face supe creme la pranz si/sau smoothieuri dimineata), spumatorul pentru cafea, aparatul de gofre (oh well… :D), scaunul de masa pentru Alexei (cel de la Ikea, usor de demontat si carat), saci de gunoi, tacamuri si farfurii de unica folosinta (am gasit de hartie la Mega Image) o patura de pat (era si in rulota, dar am vrut sa o avem pe a noastra, cosy si draguta), un zmeu si neaparat o minge πŸ™‚ Am fi vrut sa luam si lada frigorifica dar in final am renuntat, pentru ca aveam deja in rulota frigider si congelator si nu avea rost sa umplem spatiul din rulota degeaba.

EN: We initially thought that we don’t need to prepare too much for the camper trip as most of the things we found important were already included in the camper van (sun shade, picnic table and chairs, towels, bed sheets, dishes, cutlery, coffee machine). But we used Laura’s Cosoi list (link here) as guidance and we realized how unprepared we are for such trips πŸ™‚ We never thought that it might be good to have so many things with us. So we took a tiny lamp to use in the evening, a light garland (for atmosphere), some practical stuff (a pocket knife, coal for barbecue, some cleaning things for cleaning the camper van on the inside and something for washing the dishes), our portable speaker, our picnic basket (it was taken for pictures but we didn’t use it at all), all sort of cooking tools (whisker, a large bowl, a knife, a small kettle, a chopper), the vertical mixer (for making cream soups and/or smoothies in the morning), the milk foam maker for our coffee, the waffle maker (oh well… :D), Alexei’s high chair (the Ikea one, easy to mount and unmount), litter bags, disposable paper dishes and cutlery (we found some paper ones at Mega Image), a blanket (we had in the campervan but we also wanted to have ours), a kite and of course a ball πŸ™‚ We wanted to take the freezing box as well but we didn’t as we already had a freezer and a fridge so we didn’t want to fill the camper.

RO: Am mai luat un paravan de protectie pentru pat pentru Alexei, pentru ca avand doua paturi, am decis ca eu sa dorm cu Alexei in patul matrimonial (1400 mm x 1950 mm) iar Andrei in patul de deasupra soferului (900 mm x 2100 mm). Pe langa bagajul normal de haine, am mai luat pelerine (in caz ca am fi prins vreme ploioasa) si cizme de cauciuc (in caz ca am fi ajuns la vreun rau si am fi avut chef de balaceala). Fiind final de septembrie, ne-am asteptat la vreme destul de racoroasa, asa ca ne-am luat in mare parte haine mai grosute. Am pregatit si multe jucarii, activitati si multe carti pentru Alexei (dar despre acestea vom vorbi intr-un articol separat) si o trusa de medicamente diverse (pentru febra, indigestie, deshidratare, raceala, dureri de cap, sprayuri pentru insecte).

EN: We have also taken a bed protection shield for Alexei because we had two beds so we decided to sleep separately: me and Alexei in the matrimonial bed (1400 mm x 1950 mm) and Andrei in the bed above the driver. Besides the normal clothing we have also taken some rain coats (in case of rain) and some rubber boots (in case we wanted to play in a river). Being the end of September, we expected chilly weather so we have taken warmer clothes. We prepared lots of toys, activities and books for Alexei (but we will talk about all these in a separate article) and some medicines (for fever, indigestion, dehydration, cold, head aches, all sort of sprays for insects etc).

RO: Cat despre mancare, nu am vrut sa incarcam rulota cu prea multe provizii, pentru ca stiam ca vom opri pe drum sa mai luam diverse (cu toate acestea, am avut extrem foarteeee multe). De altfel vom avea un articol separat cu “strategia” noastra cu mancarea, precum si lista noastra de cumparaturi. Insa am avut grija sa avem cereale, stafide, merisoare, unturi de nuci si fructe, gemuri (pentru micul dejun), quinoa, hrisca, cous cous, orez si legume (pentru masa de pranz), carne (pentru gratar), paste, salate (pentru cina), diverse condimente (turmeric, busuioc, foi de dafin, sare, piper), ulei de masline, ceai, lapte, apa si nuci pentru rontait (caju, migdale si nuci pecan), oua, iaurturi. Pentru prima zi de drum am avut mancare gatita acasa, ca sa nu ne stresam cu gatitul.

EN: As for the food, we didn’t want to fill the camper with too many supplies, as we knew that we will also stop on the way to buy different things that we might need (even so, we had way too much food with us). Actually we will have a separate article with our food “strategy”, as well as our shopping list. But we were careful to have cereals, raisins, cranberries, nuts butter and fruits, jams (for breakfast), quinoa, buckwheat, couscous, rice and vegetable (for lunch), meat (for barbecue), pasta, salads (for dinner), different condiments (turmeric, basil, laurel, salt, pepper), olive oil, tea, milk, water, nuts (cashew, almonds, pecan nuts), eggs, yogurts. For the first day on the road we had food prepared at home because we didn’t want to stress to much cooking from the first day.

RO: Sinceri sa fim, nu ne-am asteptat sa fie atat de multa logistica pentru o vacanta cu autorulota πŸ™‚ Au fost multe de pregatit si poate ca ar fi fost mai intelept sa alegem o perioada mai lunga (nu doar 9 zile), insa pentru o prima astfel de experienta, ne-am descurcat onorabil cu pregatirea autorulotei πŸ™‚ Chiar daca am incercat sa luam strictul necesar, in final, cand am avut toate lucrurile la usa, pregatite pentru a fi duse in rulota, a parut ca ne mutam din nou (recunosc ca am avut o senzatie foarte neplacuta, cred ca ajung sa detest ideea de a ne muta :D). Insa am plecat la drum cu muuult entuziasm si cu mult chef de descoperit locuri noi, de petrecut timp in natura, de stat degeaba in poienite pustii si de bucurat de natura πŸ™‚ Revenim pe parcursul calatoriei cu mai multe detalii despre itinerariu si despre ce se mai intampla pe drum πŸ™‚

EN: To be honest, we had no idea that a camper trip involves so much logistics πŸ™‚ We had a lot of things to prepare and maybe it would have been wiser to choose a longer period, not only 9 days but for a first camper experience we think that we did a pretty good job preparing the campervan πŸ™‚ Even though we tried to take only what was absolutely necessary, in the end, when we had all our things at the front door, ready to be taken to the campervan, it seemed like we were about to move again (I have to admit that it was quite an unpleasant feeling, I think I’m slowly starting to hate the idea of moving :D). But we were so enthusiastic about this trip, about seeing and discovering new places, about spending time in nature, enjoying the wilderness πŸ™‚ We will come back along the way with more details about what it is going on on this trip πŸ™‚