Saturday, 13 July 2013

Slow train to ?

Budapest Keleti station was quite reminiscent of an Indian terminus with crowds of people and trains to all sorts of weird and wonderful destinations including Moscow. Here we said goodbye to Mike who had to fly home leaving us as ten. There was a delay in announcing our Train and we left about half an hour late. We had one and a bit compartments in a Romanian sleeper coach, quite  new and by no means the worst that we have had. The next coach even has a functioning shower.

We enjoy a snack of bread and Hungarian fire sausage before adjourning to the buffet car where a party breaks out. Even the train staff join in. At some point we stop and make an unscheduled change of direction due to overhead cable problems. The staff tell us that we will be late without committing to a time frame. Someone produces a mandolin and we  have a sing song for a while. Tomorrow can take care of itself.

When tomorrow arrives it is bright and sunny but we have no idea where we are. Eventually we work out that we are at least two hours late. The train is dawdling along at about twenty mph with occasional sprints where it might get to fifty. We conclude that the state  of the track must be the problrem. Our plan is reviewed and we decide to skip Brasov and just stay on this train right through to Bucharest.

The bit of Romania that we are seeing is  very rural and quite picturesque.  There are a few horse drawn carts but plenty of tractors as well. Every village has an ornate church and some houses have storks' nests on the chimney stack. When we get to Brasov the speed picks up and we have to negotiate a gap in the Carpathian mountains. The last stretch of this trip is across the plain into Bucharest where it is overcast and a bit sweaty. We convene a council of war on the platform.  Bucharest is supposed to be Injun territory.

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