Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bucharest and on.

Turns out that Bucharest isn't too bad at all which is lucky as this is one of our longer stops. We check in our bags and take a metro ride to the restored old quarter of the city. In the midde distance we spot Caecescu's palace, apparently the second largest single building in the world after the Pentagon. We cut through a dingy passageway into a square and up a cobbled street to a bar with WiFi and, even better, the Test match cricket on telly.

Recce parties are sent out to identify a suitable dining venue. This is as far to the east as we will get so we need something Balkan to eat. The place we choose, Caru' cu Bere has alfresco tables, a non-veg menu and most importantly is busy. Darren and I share a sausage feast with sauerkraut amd cheesy chips while some of the guys tackle mixed grills. It's good food with good beer and the scenery is also Premier League. The meal is rounded off with apple strudel and coffee.

A gew of us take an evening stroll to work off a few calories and get a closer view of the palace. What a monstrosity it is. All too soon our visit is over and we need to take the metro back to Gara du Nord for  our next train. This is listed as running from Moscow to Sofia in Bulgaria and the screen shows it to be currently 30 minutes late. Luckily we have some currency left and, having recovered our bags, we retire to the bar for a well earned refreshment.

We are all slightly wary of this train as information is hard to come by and the berth numbers that we have been allocated don't seem to git any pattern. It turns out to be a Ukrainian coach that is doing the Kiev to Sofa run. We have two four berth cabins and two berths in a third one. The accommodation is almost an exact copy of Indian 1AC and the washroom has a close resemblance as well.As soon as we are under way bedding is issued and we settle down for the night.

Wake on Sunday morning in time to catch the climb up into the Balkan mountains.  The train now has two electric locos at the front and they seem to be working very hard as we wind our way between limestone knife-edges and heavily eroded sandstone buttresses. There is not a cloud in the sky and by 10 a.m. it is aready very warm. The AC is not Indian standard and there is a shortage of opening windows.

We are heading for Sofia,  capital of Bulgaria and the highest capital city in Europe. Stay tuned to this channel.

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