2nd June 2015 – Budapest, Hungary
The most eastern end of the Budapest railway, shone bright
In the early sun rays, like a morning-eyed kitten.
Thanks to old friends and new benefactors,
The wanderlust still rages. I am ever so smitten.
But then, I had a masterstroke to try crowdfunding. To see if any of my friends hated me enough to keep me travelling longer and delay seeing my ugly face for a little longer. So, I created a ‘fund me’ page, and threw the option out to my friends. And turns out, some of them really did not want to see me again! (I am kidding. I owe some people a lot of hugs and kisses!) I made roughly 950 USD, which was more than enough to stretch my Europe trip a couple more weeks at least. So, here I am, on a Tuesday early morning at the Keleti, waiting for my train to Romania.
The Budapest Keleti Palyaudvar, commonly called the Keleti is the main international railway terminal in Budapest. ‘Keleti’ means ‘most eastern’, referring to its position on the city’s railway map. I had a couple of options for trains from here to Romania. Well, 3 options, to be exact. I had first thought of going to Timisoara, but dropped it due to time limitations. So, I booked a train from Budapest to Bucharest. Starting at 7.10 AM, I would reach Bucharest by 10.50 PM. If you consider an hour of timezone shift, that was going to be 14.40 hours of travel today!
I am no stranger to trains, having taken many during my India episode – even a toy train in the Himalayas – and trying the trains in Colombo. I had even recently boarded the trains in the South of France. But it was my first time to go through an international border on a train. And the experience was interesting. First, the train made a long 30-minute stop at Lokoshaza on the Hungarian side, and the immigration officials got on board. For some reason, they took a long time to stamp out my passport, which was amusing because I normally have delays on entries, never on exits.
After few minutes from Lokoshaza, the train stopped again on the Romanian side, in the border town of Curtici. Again, the Romanian customs officials got in, asked me a couple of questions about my travel route, and then stamped an entry. It was a straightforward and smooth process on the Romanian side.
After that, I went back to sleep. All the way until Bucharest.