After a long stay in Russia and the crossing of Ukraine, the Cape-to-Cape expedition is once again at the door of the European Union for a loop around the Black Sea. The expedition ended March with incursions into Romania and Bulgaria. There were many contrasting things to discover here.
Whilst the Kiev stage will be remembered for the warm reception received by members of the Cape-to-Cape expedition (cf: previous press release), the Ukrainian capital was a real turning point in Renault Trucks’ expedition, where the baton was passed between the first and second stages. This time, to a 100% French team with a female team-member.
Heading then, to Romania. Leaving Ukraine required some patience, but coming into Romania was done and dusted in 30 minutes. Long frontier post waits are now behind us! Long live the European Union! Cape-to-Cape is heading for the country of Dracula : Transylvania. A superb, most beautifully maintained mountain range whose forests are a source of some fine timber. Timber indeed is the basis of local life here, for inhabitants, jobs and the manufacturing industry.
The Cape-to-Cape convoy climbed up as far as the snow line and through some abundant snowfalls so familiar during this season. The Kerax and Sherpa once again showed their handling qualities, this time on fresh snow.
The Romanian roads are good but winding and narrow, and so caution was required. Later in Ruse in Bulgaria, Cape-to-Cape made its first stop since St Petersburg to fill up with AdBlue. Proof that the SCR technology chosen by Renault Trucks for de-pollution is perfectly adapted to long-distance transport. Even when you have to cross through countries whose dedicated infrastructure is still rather rare!
Bulgaria, like Romania, is a rapidly developing country. And the reception from Renault Trucks in Sophia was a warm one for the Cape-to-Cape team: banners and personnel turning out in large numbers to welcome the convoy. “Cape-to-Cape arrived just at the right time to consolidate the reputation of Renault Trucks and the Kerax in Bulgaria” explained Stefano Ciccone, Director of the Sofia site which has been a Renault Trucks subsidiary since July 2008. For the occasion, a show was organised in the town centre. “Although the market for all truck brands in 2008 was 4,000 units for over 6 tons, it has really been cut back in the past 6 months” he added. “That’s why we need to communicate on the brand, the extent of the range and the sturdiness of our trucks”. One of the big benefits, indeed, of the Cape-to-Cape expedition.
Bulgaria and Romania are neighbours and their inhabitants showed real interest in the expedition and really gave the convoy a warm reception. However, the similarities stop there. Their cultures are very different, including the way they handle their transport.
During the Sozopol stop-over, the Cape-to-Cape expedition is preparing to leave Bulgaria and go into Turkey and the wonders of Istanbul. The European episode is approaching its epilogue…