The day was cold and damp as I hauled my suitcase to the bus ticket kiosk to buy a ticket to the subway station and connect to the Gard Nord Train station . The lady said I couldn’t buy only one ticket and had to buy a card good for two trips. I was about to pay the extra when she then explained they only sell two cards at a time. I left and boarded the bus without a ticket. The bus took a turn right after the first stop so I exited and had to walk to the last stop. Karma! I connected with the subway and arrived at the Gard Nord 3 hours ahead of departure. KFC had free Wi-Fi so I had Tasty Chicken for breakfast. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and KFC can usually be counted on for clean public toilets,Air-Conditioned dining areas, and WI-Fi connections no matter where you are in the world. It sure has been a blessing for me on many occasions.
The Bucharest train station was pretty up to date compared to a few of the others in the region. I boarded the train , took my assgned seat and managed a nap along with the rest of the passengers.
Now that I’m almost to my destination, I discover the train I’ve been on for over 5 hours has a plug in for computers at every seat. I am now charging my batteries and catching up with my blog The day started out overcast and rainy. It has been that way until just now when the sun broke through the clouds. The train turned out to be first class with comfortable seats and nice facilites including a snack bar and lounge. People were coming through at all the stops trying to sell magazines to read or elderly women selling tissue packets. One man dropped some gadgets on all the tables with wallets, lighters, screwdriver sets, eyeglass cases, etc then came around and collected them along with any money if he got lucky and sold any of his products. A crippled crawled down the Isle on the floor begging money. The scenery was flat farm land for miles with mostly corn and sunflowers. Lots of farms , horse drawn carts, and small villages. Now we are getting into the mountains your still see a lot of farms with haystacks, pigs running around in the yard, sheep herders with their dogs, horses, and cattle. On one side a huge valley stretches out with lakes and fields.
I just discovered something else. This train doesn’t arrive at my destination until 9:30 pm at night. When I looked at the map, I assumed it was no more than a 4 houir trip. I talked to the snack bar concessioneur and he said the express train is 7 hours and this one that stops in villages along the way is 9 hours. I decided I needed a sandwich and some wine at the snack bar where I met Sebastion and his lady friend who are attending school and live in Timisoara. He and I were taking photos of the countryside which now is like the Rhine River valley in Germany without the castles. The whole counryside was changing every 10-20 minutes. Sebastion was a Couch Surfer and had traveled to Mombai India…the only place he ever felt fear, and Paris at New Years eve. I gave him my last personal card and invited him to Arizona. He has a sister that lives in Seattle and hopes to visit San Fransico . Well I only hope the hotel doesn’t rent my room when I don’t show up at 4 pm like I told them. I have had that happen before and they even charged my credit card for a no show but rented my room so I had to find another place. The man that is sitting with me said he was from there so I will ask his assistance. The countryside is just Magical and Enchanting. It is sunset and there is a beautiful Rainbow outside my window mixed with Golden Hues of the sun and the wheat fields. Mountains surrounding and rivers running through quaint villages. Lots of woods and greenery. Truely a beautiful part of Romania that should be seen by car…from village to village. The man from Timisoara said it is a very nice city. I want to stay another day there now that I am almost in Belgrade.
The man traveling next to me introduced himself and told me he had been working for Blackwater Security in Iraq since 2005 but because of a close call with a bomb and his wife’s insistence he quit and returned home. I bought him a beer. His name was Dumitru.
The train arrived. Dumitru motioned me to follow him. He took me to a taxi and gave the man directions. He bid me goodbye and said he would be around to my hotel tomorrow at 11am with his car to show me a little of his home town. OK. The taxi cost me $3 and I checked in with no problem then proceeded to the local restaurant ,Camelot ,for some Romanian food. I had some Goulash , met some friendly people and retired back at the hotel.
|David in Timisoara|
Dumitru showed up after breakfast in a little Honda SUV for a quick tour of Timisoara. He parked downtown and we went right to a travel agent and bought my ticket to Belgrade. The only train leaving was at 5 am …the only train to Belgrade from Romania. I forgot my passport and for the first time on the whole trip I was never asked for ID. Dumitru handled everything and told me not to worry. The ticket was just a ticket for a seat on the train to Belgrade…no name or anything on it. Later I found out he works now for the Romanian Interpol. I met his wife who works for the Timisoara Justice Department in the courthouse. He showed me his ID . He was like a Romanian Kojak.
We did a walking tour of the beautiful downtown area. We stopped and entered an Orthodox church at the end of Revolution Square. He took me to another open Square not far from there with nice restaurants where they hold concert and different events. I offered to treat him to lunch so we drove out to the suburbs to a popular Romanian restaurant where I ate a mixed grill meat dish with Polenta and he had some pork and Beans type of dish. I learned the Romanian Toast “Naro’k”.. He offered to take me to the Mall but I returned to the Hotel and we parted. He and his wife are headed for the Carpathian Mountains for a weeks vacation tomorrow.
|Dumitru my Tour Guide|
Siesta and I’m off to visit my neighborhood. The Euro Hotel is located in the center of the University district. I am on a college campus. Lots of students out at Happy Hour, in the park playing Basketball, and just strolling along enjoying the evening. I stopped at the Beer and Steak Pub for a beer and Pizza. Two students next to me had a Rack of Beer. It is a wooden holder for 8 Pints in one Row and is placed at the table between them. They were on their second Rack of Beer! I finished and came home to relax. It had been a very good day.
The next morning, I finished breakfast then walked into town. One park after another until I reached the Square. I browsed the shops, visited a museum, when to a mall and compared prices, then stopped for a late lunch at Loyds then returned home. Bed early with a 4:30 am wake up call.