Published: November 6th 2008November 6th 2008
Okay so the last time we talked we were about to head to Romania on an overnight train. We boarded the train in Belgrade, only to be told by the conductor that there was an error with our ticket we had purchased the day before. We went to the desk and sorted it out. It turns out the error was that the date had been written as 1.11.08 instead of 11.1.08. Seriously. Big f**king deal. With that fixed we boarded the train and our compartment was next to two Aussie girls we had befriended back at our hostel. It is important to note that this train was sketchy..... the seats were gross, the washroom was grosser (the toilet flushed right onto the tracks, which amused TJ endlessly) and the lights were dim. As soon as we pulled away from the station there was some problem with the Aussie girls' tickets and it took ages to get that sorted out and it only worked out because Teija lent them 40 Euro. About an hour into the journey the power went out. Needless to say we had to hide our valuables in our anuses (Eurotrip reference, sorry parents/grandparents). Fortunately we arrived alive.
We were met in Bucharest by a pack of feral dogs that lurked ominously in the station. To be honest 4 were puppies and most were just lying there, but it was weird so we bailed. The Aussie girls paid me back and then we took the train another 3 hours north to Brasov, in Transylvania. Upon arriving at the hostel Teija was told that the booking she had canceled months ago hadn't been canceled and that she would be charged the full price. After much arguing, Teija won and didn't pay. *wooot* Still, it wasn't a great start to our stay. Transylvania is very picturesque with green mountains everywhere, but it also had that sort of, oh I don't know, "hands in my pockets" kind of feel. Very persistent people accosted us at the train station hawking taxis, hostels, and lame collectibles. TJ threatened to kick some guy's ass and to everyone's surprise TJ's rippling biceps scared him off.
On our second day in Brasov we took the bus to the famous Bran Castle, allegedly the home of evil Count Dracula. TJ was excited since he read the book before we left. We arrived to find the castle closed, and we weren't allowed to go near to take a picture (a scary old man with a shovel informed us). Also, the castle is not on a hill (it is on a slope similar to that of TJ's driveway), is not spooky and seemed lame. We got back on the bus and travelled 20 minutes back to Rasnov. Rasnov is home to a large fortress atop a huge hill. It is very well preserved and provides a spectacular view of the valley. We got lost for a while trying to find the way up the hill though because the path is through somebody's garage. Odd. We then returned to Brasov and took the funicular to the top of the mountain there, to get nice views of the Saxon city below. From there we could see a lot of the remaining wall around the city, as well as bastions that were once retained by various guilds in the town. Also on the top of the hill is a large white sign that reads "BRASOV" (think Hollywood sign).
The next day we traveled 2 hours to Sighisoara, a much smaller town in the heart of Transylvania. Our hostel was right in the citadel, an amazing location. One building in the old town was reputedly the birthplace of Dracula, and he is said to have lived there until he was four. It is now the "Casa Dracula" restaurant. We paid to go up the clocktower and enjoyed it a lot. There was a cute museum detailing the history of Sighisoara and we could see the interior workings of the clock, complete with painted mythical figurines. We spent a quiet night at our hostel in anticipation of our long 10 hour train journey to Budapest the next day.
Just briefly, "Song lyrics seen on T-shirts that went horribly wrong":
- "It's Friday I am love... love... love... it's Friday" - worn by an Asian girl on the train in Italy
- " I a day cream believer" (we think they were getting at "day dream believer) - worn by a large-bearded man in Belgrade.