Monday, September 24, 2012

Beds On A Train & Other Cool Stuff

 The next trip to share from my big epic Romanian adventure is Jen's and my journey to get to Budapest after we finished teaching. All we knew before we left Edinburgh was that we wanted to see Budapest, so I had booked my return flight home from there for 5 days after teaching finished, knowing we would make our travel plans once we were away. [She continued on to Croatia after I came back to Scotland, I was sooo envious!] 

We decided to get a bus from our small town of Radauti to Brasov - one of Romania's most picturesque and gorgeous towns, and stay there for a night. I will quote something I wrote in a post last year about that trip to describe this picture below:
"A nine-hour bus ride at the back of a non-air conditioned rickety white van in which your seat is a chair glued to the ground [like some horrible afterthought designed to squeeze in more car-sick travelers than was ever intended], there's a nun sitting on a plastic stool in the middle of the aisle, and luggage being thrown in through the back door just narrowly misses clipping your ear as it wizzes by at high speeds, while you wind your way up tight hairpin curves on a mountain, and the nun gently sways back and forth with every turn, will not be the relaxing experience you were hoping for." Enough said. 
But once we arrived in Brasov, all ill feelings towards minivans or nuns disappeared when we dropped our bags at the hostel and saw how beautiful this town was! There were open-air concerts going on in the main square both days we were there, lots of bustling restaurants and cafes, some incredible architecture and amazing old buildings, and what looked like outdoor salsa classes for elderlies. Adorable! Not to mention the totally inexplicable, but very real, imitation Hollywood sign in the hills above the city. What?
And one of the main reasons for stopping off in Brasov, was its proximity to the legendary Bran Castle, also often called Dracula's Castle. (!!!) You can read the historical details if you so choose, and therefore I won't bore you with stories of whether or not it actually was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. But... I'll leave you with this: Bran... Bram... there's more than just coincidence there.
 The extreme heat and bright sky kind of dulled the spooky atmosphere, but the castle was still pretty cool [coming from a person who's not that into castles.] Plus they had this whole room full of Dracula-related stuff, which inspired me to eventually read the book, which I really liked.
And the scenery wasn't bad either.

After two days in Brasov it was time to get to Budapest aboard an overnight sleeper train. I don't want to be rash, but it's possible that this was my favorite part. 

I mean. You get on board the train, you're in Romania. You settle down, drink a delicious Ursus beer with your friend, which you had to bargain for, with British pounds because you're entirely out of Romanian currency by this point. You look out the open window into the pitch black expanse of Romanian countryside as the train chugs along. You snap a few pictures, stealthily brush your teeth in the first class bathroom because, well, you're up for adventure but not for catching chlamydia, and finally go to sleep. On board a train. Next thing you know you're being rudely awakened by a passport control officer because, oh yeah, guess what, you're at the Hungarian border. It was seriously the coolest thing ever. I <3 face="Verdana,sans-serif" font="font" sleeper="sleeper" trains.="trains.">I wish everyone could experience this unique adventure. Although, I realize many aspects of this trip would not appeal to some. It's not everyone's cup of tea. So, I guess, my point is, traveling [whichever travel style you choose] is such a worthwhile, incomparable experience, and I wish everyone got a chance to live it.

Coming up next will be photos and stories from Budapest!



Megan said...


P.S. Beautiful girl.

Katelyn R. said...

You had never read Dracula before that? that is one of my favorites. And I love Budapest like no other! I am so jealous that you still live in Eruope and can still have these adventures... although not at the moment. Maybe I should fly over for one last trip?

Yash... said...

Awesome! Best part is the sneaky tooth brushing. More!

pearlswirl said...

Thanks guys! Yes Katelyn, please please please come back over here so we can travel together again! :) we always have the best trips!

Kelly's Korner said...

Love your stories! You should really consider writing a book! I would read it!

iffatali said...

You can't see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.
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