#11 – Bucharest by train – 30 Days, 30 Countries
Oeff.. writing the next interesting chapter in a McDonalds at Bucharest Gara de Nord. After surviving 2 extensive passport checkings I was allowed to travel into Romania, although the guy did seem confused when I told him I would also leave Romania the next day. Safety guards were meanwhile looking everywhere in/under/above the train to search for refugees or other people without a ticket.. I’ve seen a few walking alongside the rails.. Bucharest is old, dirty and dilapidated (at least outside the ‘old part’). Furthermore apparently it’s some sort of official holiday these days which makes the place look even more deserted.
Luckily for me I managed to find the old part of Bucharest, which is bareable. Many café’s, restaurants and bars for a rather cheap price. But then again, I was almost on my own out there – which doesn’t help for a first impression. The one thing that stood out was Parcul Cișmigiu, which is a well maintained park with loooooots of small cabins selling all kind of Romanian food/accessoiries. Now going to Ankara, the most interesting part of my trip with respect to traveling.
Short summary. First I would depart from Bucharest by train to Gorna Oryahovitsa where I only have a 17 minute transfer. If I would miss that train I would be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Then I will try to take the train to Dimitrovgrad, where I have a 40 minute transfer – same story: miss that train and I have to find a place to stay. When surviving these 2 interesting transfers, I have to go out of the train at Kapikule (Turkey boarder station) in the middle of the night for passport controls. If I’m accepted (Internet says I am!!), I will arrive in Istanbul at 7:50 in the morning. Unfortunately for me they are doing major railway maintenance in Turkey hence the trains to Ankara depart from a station at the edge of Istanbul: Pendik. Hopefully I’ll find my way to Pendik.