‘Beyond Bucharest’ by Bob Goddard

Beyond Bucharest Overland magazineThis is Bob Goddard’s second book and it recounts a month’s exploits on the roads of Europe aboard a Honda Varadero. He rides with his wife Viv (who’s using a Transalp) and the couple dynamic does add to the narrative of what is an extended holiday report.

Travelling as a pair can often isolate, but thankfully this doesn’t preclude them from meeting and mixing with the locals. Because they have decided from the start to use the trip to expose the work of the charity EveryChild, they arrange visits to some of their projects within eastern Europe and this provides real engagement and illumination for the reader.

Interspersing the visits, we get to enjoy Bob’s frustration with Hungarian roadworks, joy at stunning vistas, his dining experiences at both ends of the culinary spectrum and the unbelievable weather variation all recounted in an easy and accessible style.

Europe may seem very tame and perhaps a little too close if you’ve been fed a diet of extreme moto adventure tales, but for most people the time available precludes battling through jungles with block and tackle. This is one of those books that will entice you to achieve the possible, to get out there and see for yourself that Europe contains terrific roads (and terrible ones) and that the cultural and geographical variation within this comparatively small landmass really is worth exploring.

Each of the 16 chapters begins with a handy regional map and route, taking us from Norfolk to the Black Sea, and throughout the book there are black and white images. I can’t say these latter add anything as there is already a colour insert containing 14 images and it is so much more fun to immerse yourself in the words and let them create the picture and generate the inspiration. Thankfully Bob’s words already do this well, and as I type I’m planning another trans-European trip.

ISBN: 978-0-9563518-0-7

181pp, 8pp colour insert

16 maps + overall route map

Timbuktu Publishing (2009) £9.95