Project 365: Day 343 – The Bulgarian train odyssey

9th June 2015 – Bucharest, Romania

The coach hissed on the tracks, surprisingly reminiscent of India.

And the open windows, took the eye to the distant edge of the world.

Past a lengthy immigration stop, and a barrage of questions,

The visions of yet another country – silently yet surely – was unfurled.

Somewhere near Ruse, Bulgaria

Are we there yet? – Ruse, Bulgaria

It was a good run, Bucharest. But I am afraid we must finally part ways.

I left the hostel in the morning, and headed to the train station. There was only one train everyday from Bucharest to Sofia, and that was at 12.50 PM. I had already bought the tickets for 141 lei, which was kind of a guarantee to make sure that I definitely leave today. I had no further excuses to be lazy and stay longer.

The gare du nord in Bucharest, is not a very big train station and I made the mistake of arriving a little early. Well, there was practically nothing much to do. So, I got myself a shawarma and settled at one of the cafes. If somebody asks me what is the national food of Europe, I would definitely have to say Shawarmas. They are everywhere.
At 12.50, I got on the train. And immediately, I was reminded of Indian trains. Unlike the kinds of trains that I have been seeing in Europe, these ones had windows that could be opened. And with the summer heat slowly building up, that was an invaluable thing to have.
I had 2 other travellers in my cabin. An Iranian and a Canadian. Both seasoned travellers. We managed to worm our way through the first 4 hours of the boring travel, and the not-so-comfortable seat, until the border at Curtici. At Curtici, the exit from the Romanian side was smooth, and I had no troubles. But when I reached Ruse, the Bulgarian side took longer than expected. They wanted to know where I was going, when I was leaving Bulgaria, why did I come there etc. So many questions. I gnashed my teeth, and sat through the whole episode, which lasted about 20 minutes. But finally, they stamped my passport. And I was in.
I was in my last country in Europe for this trip. The next 8 hours, the train kept a steady pace, until it reached Sofia at night.
Click here for the previous day’s post. Or you can follow this project from Day 0, by clicking here

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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