From the small city of Brasov to the medieval town of Sighisoara, this leg of my train journey made the previous one from Bucharest to Brasov seem much less crowded than I had earlier described. In fact, that earlier trip now resembled a quiet day on a deserted island in comparison to the circus that was my trip to Sighisoara.
However, I do believe that everyone loves a good circus and without a doubt, I certainly loved this Romanian train ride, despite the crowds of people, with bodies overlapping and legs tangled together, that filled every inch of the train car I rode in. And not only was the overhead compartments so overstuffed with luggage, but it was practically impossible to walk down the aisle of the train due to all of the baggage that had to be piled up there as well. I had to place my backpack on top of a small duffel bag that was placed on top of a massive duffel bag that was wedged in between a 10 gallon plastic container of what appeared to be either gasoline or wine and a black suitcase.
The atmosphere was quite festive though, with many a loud conversation taking place, some of which seemed quite heated while others seemed to be quite amusing given the uproarious laughter that would spread throughout the train car every so often.
Sandwiches were being eaten, drinks were being shared, children were sleeping in their mothers’ laps and even businessmen were working on their huge laptops despite having no space at all to themselves.
As for me, I just sat there. There was too much going on for me to participate and so I rested my head against the headrest, twisted my body so that the fluffy women’s jacket I was sitting on (not sure whose it was but there was nowhere else to put it) provided some extra cushion for my backside and I then observed the show.
Luckily, I was seated near a window and so I could also catch a glimpse every now and then of the few towns we passed through, their medieval stone towers always sticking high into the sky. But, even though this was the heart of Transylvania and even though there were these fascinating scenes outside, I still had a difficult time concentrating on anything but the scenes inside the train.
And that wasn’t really such a bad thing as I soon found myself wishing this train ride would last for several more hours than scheduled. Traveling through Transylvania in this style, with the chaos on board, the arguing elders in the seats behind me, stuff constantly falling from above onto everyone’s laps, local music being played from old cell phones and all the eating, drinking and chatting, just felt right.
I couldn’t help but smile at what I was witnessing, especially knowing that I had a couple of more train rides ahead of me in this region.
*Unfortunately, whenever I would pull out the camera on this train, the other passengers politely declined to have their photographs taken so I don’t have much that displays the chaos. And I wasn’t too comfortable trying to sneak photos in either as everyone seemed quite adamant about not wanting to be photographed.
While this is my own adventure and my posts are always my own words based upon my own personal experiences, I must make a note that Eurail.com has provided my Eurail Pass as part of their Blogger Project for 2011.
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The scene you describe sounds fantastic! I love the idea of being on a train with so much life and chaos all around and “local music being played from old cell phones”. It would fuel my imagination and I would have been more than happy to continue onward, soaking in every moment, every detail!
I wonder if it’s a post communist thing. I found the same on my train in Russia – people overjoyed to talk to a foreigner but nobody wants to be in a photo, even accidentally.
Hey Priyank – Could be, I’m not sure. At least they were all happy to talk, that was the most important thing!
Come to Georgia (Sakartvelo), Earl. The folks here *love* to have their photos taken! It’s quite fun!
Hey Mzuri – You have no idea how long Georgia has been on my list of places I really want to visit. I’m currently working on my plan for 2012 and I will make sure that Georgia is a part of it, so I shall be in touch once those plans are created 🙂
People that you meet on trains may be quite interesting!
On the train that was going from Bulgaria to Romania, I met three men. All of them were illegal immigrants in Greece, had been caught, and were sent back home.
They briefly mentioned to me how they get fake passports, and then how they get caught, go to Romania, get a new fake passport, and then enter Greece through Italy.
They were going to Greece to work as labor, and then send the money to their families in Romania. They showed me pictures of their wives and kids.
Their Greek was pretty good btw.
Interesting (and definitely unexpected!) encounter…
Why didn’t anyone want you to photograph them?
Hey Mica – I’m not sure really. I pulled out the camera, a couple of people waved me off and then it seemed to catch on. Everyone would shake their head or wave the camera away. It’s happened before on the trains but that’s fine, not everyone wants to be photographed.
Sounds fantastic. Exactly how I would want to travel!