27 November 2009

The Gassed, Robbed and Looted Train...Or...Eastern Europe By Rail

Bucharest - 03

Traveling always has its hiccups, especially when it comes to planes, trains and overnight buses. Having survived the TransSiberian, however, I really felt that anything - literally anything - would pail in comparison. We had wanted to take an overnight bus from Krakow to Budapest, spend a night in Budapest then carry on into Romania by bus from there. Apparently, however, people only need to travel from Krakow to Budapest on Wednesdays and Saturdays because these are the only two cities relatively close to each other that have TERRIBLE transportation links. Because of this bizarre anomaly we were all but forced to travel by rail (which - while more expensive, meant a good night of sleep and lots of fun compartments, buttons and gizmos to fiddle with).

Bucharest - 02

It all seemed well and good until people started telling me about how this route Krakow to Budapest) and our next route (Budapest to Bucharest) are “the most dangerous train routes in the world.” Stories like “yeah, my friend was robbed at knife point” and “first they put sleeping gas through the window then came inside and stole $400 from my money belt, which I was wearing at time. WHAT? A quick google search confirmed these stories and with that, I became incredibly paranoid. Not wanting to be alone in this paranoia I decided to share it with Matt, who really really appreciated it (read: sarcasm).

Bucharest - 05

How did we overcome this fear? Oh well, that’s easy! I’m writing this on the top bunk. The window is closed despite the radiator having created a Sahara Desert environment inside. We’ve frenetically sealed the window with duck tape, committed to not using the toilet at all, locked both deadbolts and strung a bike lock around the handle and through a D-ring that’s hanging from the wall (for this purpose, perhaps?). I’ve evenly distributed my cash and credit cards among all of shoes, pants and coats and am wearing my passport in my money belt with is secured just below my neck around my chest.

I’m sure everything is going to be totally fine, right? Right?


Kyle Taylor

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