Friday, September 12, 2008

Night Train to Bucharest

We awake to misty rain. We'd been counting on getting breakfast at the monastery and had nothing more than tea. Unfortunately the welcome in the morning to our request for breakfast was less warm than that the previous evening for dinner.

I felt a bit at a loose end. It was the last real cycling day of our tour and we were more or less already at the point where we were going to finish. We had tickets for the night train to Bucharest which left from the station nearby the monastery. We hadn't enjoyed the ride through Suceava the previous afternoon and didn't fancy heading into town. What to do? In the end we had to go into town to get things to hide the filthy nature of the tandem and hopefully make it acceptable to the train guard when we boarded the train in the evening.

We'd spotted a large shopping centre while looking for the station yesterday so went there for breakfast and to get the things that we needed. It was run by Carrefour, the French chain. It was an odd experience being in such place after being in the country for the previous 2 weeks.

After a circuit around Suceava we arrived back at the railway station in time to prepare the tandem for the night train. I dismantled the tandem as much as possible and covered the frame in large black bin liners. That done there was nothing more to do but wait for the train and to arrive and pray for a sympathetic train conductor. Once the train arrived we put everything on the train, we figured that once we were boarded it would be more of a pain to kick us off but decided that it best to find the conductor shortly before departure to avoid giving them an unpleasant surprise that might cause a scene. As it was the station staff had warned the conductor who was very sympathetic and let us leave the tandem in the corridor of the train. We'd expected to have to bribe the conductor, the going rate was about 10 Euros. However all we had to pay was a small fee for excess luggage. We had a 6 place compartment all to ourselves, which permitted us to get quite a good night's sleep.

Distance 91km
Time 5 hours 37 minutes

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