I’m having a tea in a nice pub in Bucharest while writing about this very special Suzuki Samurai adventure that gives me weird good feelings in my stomach each time I think about it.
Bughi, Daiana & Diana
I met Bughi back in 2008 in a business context and in a few days from our first meeting we decided to launch a startup together. I didn’t knew at the time but in the process I won two friends, because both Bughi and his amazing Daiana are now two of the people I trust and treasure.
At the time of this story our startup reached MVP moment and Bughi invited the team to spend a business-and-pleasure weekend at his grandparents house in Voivodeni, a lovely small village close to Cluj-Napoca.
It was at the end of the incredible summer of 2009 when I spent most of my weekends off-road-travelling around the country with my partner in crime, Diana. So I asked Diana if she’s ready for a trip to Voivodeni and of course she said yes.
An unexpected journey
So what do you do when you wake up in the afternoon after a long night with good wine and good conversations? Well, if you happen to have a Suzuki Samurai around you can take your friends for a ride. 🙂
And what do you do when just a few minutes after leaving the tarmac road you get stuck with your front axle over quite a deep ditch and you can’t cross it anymore because you’re not really as experienced in off-road driving as you want to believe?
- you continuously try to get out of the ditch by balancing the car
- you ask your friends to get on the bull-bar to add some weight to the front axle
- you fill the ditch with rocks and drive over it like a b()$$
- you ask your friends to pick up the (pretty lightweight) samurai
- you just take some cool pictures and wait for some passing by peasants to drag the samurai out of the ditch with their horses
Can you guess what we did?
Once we got out of the ditch we took a random road towards the hills and the woods from Voivodeni to Fantanelele. Lovely weather, with nice wind tangling girls hair, rock music in the speakers and incredibly low driving skills from the recent off-road wannabe driver 🙂
As usual in my adventures we stopped often and I got to take shots with my amazing car and with my happy three friends.
When we got to this dusty route I stopped to take this cool ray effect picture. Wondering what it takes to shoot something like this? First drive forward to make the dust rise in the air, go backwards to get the samurai in the cloudy air, shoot the picture, be unhappy with the result, repeat.
“No, we’re not lost, there’s a road somewhere around”, I kept saying to my friends while driving around the woods with absolutely no clue of the destination.
Diana & Daiana
And then we were out of the woods and we got to the top of the hill we stopped and took this “girls only” photo shooting and I think my Samurai never looked so good in pictures.
I think there are at least 5 pictures with Bughi and Daiana kissing in the shots I took. And they weren’t even at the very beginning of their love story. Did I mention they are married now?
As the day was dawning we headed back to Voivodeni for a nice camp fire evening and a cold fresh night.
We woke up on a sunny Sunday and we packed our stuff early-ish as later that evening we had to get on our way to Brasov via Cluj-Napoca and the Samurai is not exactly the kind of car that takes you fast and promptly to a destination.
This time I took Mishy and Diana on the way to Cluj and of course we couldn’t take the short mainstream boring tarmac road so we went on this old country gravel forest road.
We got to pass by some classic picturesque Romanian landscape with haystacks and the forest in amazing autumn colours and a clearing with a really nice pond.
In Cluj we had dinner in good company, then we left Mishy to his place and we headed to Brasov.
By the time we left Cluj, the autumn sun was already hiding behind the top of the hills as we passed near Feleacu.
And since time has no value unless you make something out of it, of course we left the main road for some off-road and got to see the beautiful sunset colouring the most photogenic car in the universe.
You’d think this was it, that we had enough for this complete day, but guess what?
We were still riding cabrio and the autumn weather was a little bitter in the evening, so we had to stop in an abandoned gas station to set back the convertible top before finally heading on our way to Brasov.
And of course I got to shoot these last two pictures of an incredibly cool looking samurai.