Left Manchester on Friday 5th from Liverpool to Bucharest. The flight was with Blue Air, a Romanian low cost airline, who I've never heard of before. I was lucky to have all spaces free next to me so I was able to stretch out. No food was provided apart from a small sweet given before we landed!
Landed on time and then met my pre-booked taxi to take me from the Airport to the Railway station. I tried to explain where I was going to visit in Moldova but I had problems with my pronunciation and so it took some time for him to understand where I was going.
Had some time to wait at Bucharest airport to meet rest of the group I was travelling with. I was travelling with Lupine Travel and there was 21 of us on the trip. 19 travelling with us and two joining us in Moldova.
Before we got on our sleeper train to Moldova, a man appeared to show us to our seats. Once he had found our carriage, he then went round asking for money, preferably euros.
We were travelling in a carriage which had four berth cabins, just
like the ones I had travelled on the Trans-Siberian railway. I was on the bottom bunk and it took a few of us to make my bed lie flat! It seemed easy once we knew how!
Went with those in my carriage to find the restaurant car. It not was what I had expected, just a small area to stand up, with a kiosk selling alcohol and a few snacks. Some other members of the trip also joined us and we got chatting to a man who was going back to Moldova. He couldn't believe that we were off to Transnistria! Stayed in the bar until we finally got chased out, by who we believed was the bar keeper's wife!
Didn't sleep very well. Woken up first by the first passport control, about 4am. I needed to open my bag and was repeatedly asked whether I was Irish! A short while later a man came to the door and said "Doctor. Problem". I think he was saying that he was a doctor and was finding out if there was a problem, but it was hard to tell! I don't know what he would have done if he found
there was a problem! He was going through all our carriage asking the same thing. About 5am we had our passports stamped.
Eventually about 6am the train stopped and the process began to remove the wheels and fit new ones. This is because there is a different wheel gauge in the former Soviet Union and so the process of changing the wheels has to take place every time a train arrives and leaves Moldova. Each carriage was separated and jacked up. We watched one of the engineers, who came to vigorously shake our hands when he had finished!
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