Week 8 – Romania, Hungary and Slovakia: Europe Train Challenge

Europe Train Challenge – 22 Countries In 8 Weeks: The first few days of this week contained A LOT of train travel. My predictions in our week 7 update were right:

The train from Istanbul to Bucharest turned out to be longer than it was supposed to, in fact, it turned out to be the longest and most uncomfortable train ride we’ve taken so far …

Countries This Week: Romania, Hungary and Slovakia

We were the only people taking the train the whole way to Bucharest, and after some time we realized why…

The supposedly 20 hour long train ride turned out to be 25 hours, stopping in the most random places, back tracking half the time and taking the longest way to reach the final destination.

25 hours is long but it would have been OK if the power in the train carriage and cabin wasn’t broken.

But yes, the power was OFF, meaning it was pitch dark at night, and since there was no fan or air con working and the windows could barely open up, it was like a sauna in the day.

Having no power makes you realize how reliant you are on it, and with dead laptops you sit there rolling your thumbs while the hours feel longer and longer.

We only stopped for the night in Bucharest, and at 6 am the next morning we were off on yet another train to Sighisoara.

Within 37 hours we had traveled on trains for 30 of them – but it was so worth the extra time it took getting to Sighisoara!

Sighisoara, being one of the best perserved mideval towns in Europe, was SO quaint.

The houses looked like they were cartooned, with uneven sides and roofs, many painted in the brightest of colors, and old hunching ladies with scarves over their hair walking down the steep cobbled streets.

The next city of the week was Budapest.

Budapest is a city we feel some sort of connection with.

It was our last stop on our very first round the world trip together, and it was what made the last impression of our trip, and what in some way I believe is what made us want to go traveling soon again.

Going back was interesting, as this time we had quite a different impression of the city.

Last time we thought it was a rough city, but this time we didn’t feel that way at all.

I guess it all comes down to what you compare it with, but it also made me realize how traveling has changed us and how we look at things compared to a few years ago.

The last stop this week was Bratislava. If there is one word that would sum up this place, it would be ”quirky”.

There are so many quirky details to be found in this city if you look for them, like a bright blue church and funny statues everywhere.

We happened to be there during the beginning of some festival, so the streets were filled with people in traditional folk lore clothing and performing folk dance on stage!

Next week, we’re going totally hard-core, and will be visiting 4 countries in one week! Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Warsaw here we come!

9 Responses to Week 8 – Romania, Hungary and Slovakia: Europe Train Challenge

  1. Nmcmarina July 1, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    The train trip sounds….LONG, but it looks like you’re having fun too. Shame you couldn’t stay longer in Bucharest, but Sighisoara is beautiful and well worth the visit…hope to see you back in Romania soon…nmcmarina

    • Nathan - As We Travel July 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      Yeah – that train trip was LONG, we really wished we could have stayed longer in Romanian, it seemed to have so much more to offer, so we might head back there again later this year.

  2. Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Awesome guys! Keep it up :)

  3. Lori - The Unframed World July 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m glad you were able to have some highlights in Sighisoara and Budapest after that miserable sounding train trip! Great point about our reliance on electricity =).

    • Nathan - As We Travel July 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

      Hey Lori – yeah we absolutely LOVE Budapest, even more this second time :) That train trip from Istanbul to Bucharest really isn’t something we want to do again soon :p

  4. Jon Gorrie July 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    25 hours on one train without AC? damn it must’ve felt like 25 days! Cool post – great to catch up on the challenge :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      Yeh it really was a crazy experience :p you can’t really share online what it was like, but looking back I am glad we did it now :)

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