Have you ever heard so many negative stories about something you start dreading the thought of it? That happened to me and the night train from Budapest, Hungary to Brasov, Romania.
I posted on twitter that I had booked and suddenly I was hearing stories of passports being taken and only returned when people had handed over money and phones, cameras and belongings being stolen while people were sleeping. All in all not a very good impression.
I did managed to find some positive stories, one being Moomads which gave me hope that it wouldn’t be to bad.
My own journey starts at 6pm when we arrived at the train station way to early so got to sit round and guess who would be on the train with us. One of the negative things I’ve heard about this train is people being overcharged for tickets brought from ticket offices. We brought ours online, had no trouble picking them up from the station, and it cost us about €138 for both of us in a double cabin in second class.
6.45pm and the train pulled into the station meaning we finally got at glimpse at what would be our room for the night. We located our carriage, and went to find our cabin. It was small (but that’s expected), clean, with bunk bed style beds. My only problem was there were no power points in the room that I could find to charge devices. For those worried about safety, our door had three locks on it, the doors to the carriage were also locked after a certain time (maybe 12am). We also had one conductor with us for the whole journey whose room was signposted.
7.10pm and we were pulling out of the station, 5minutes later the Conductor came round to collect tickets. Talking to Ad later, I decided that this was so he knew who had to get off when since our tickets were handed back to us the next morning when he knocked on the door to tell us our stop was coming up.
We managed to entertain ourselves for a couple of hours, me walking up and down the carriages and exploring the restaurant carriage (everything is priced in RON) and Ad reading, when the bit I was dreading came. Passport Control!
At 10.20pm we were stopped on the Hungary side, the ominous knock at the door came.. Standing outside was a passport officer, we handed over our passports and…. He gave them a once over before handing them straight back.
Okay then, surely it wasn’t as easy as that? Of course not, we still had the Romania side to cross!
11pm and there goes that knock again… This time I know they’ll take my passport, here I go handing it over, he’s Looking at it, then looking at me then… He holds it out to me in one hand. Right so that’s the boarders crossed and I still have my passport and my money in hand.
Wait we’re moving and there a third knock at the door, this is it I know it! It’s the conductor this time coming to take my passport.
Seriously you don’t take my passport but you give me biscuits and water! I almost feel like I should be outraged at how easy this seems to be (except for the guy next door who’s playing terrible Romania pop music really loudly)
Right there’s nothing for it but to lock the door and get into bed. And thankfully the music has been turned off.
Wait, what’s that noise? Are we being broken into? Nope it’s just my alarm, 8am and almost into Brasov.
There is something errie about falling asleep in the pitch black then waking up to mist settled over the forests of Transylvania, in fact it almost seemed fitting as we pulled into the station ready to begin our Romania adventure.
I make light of how worried I was about this trip after hearing some horror stories. But for me it really was that easy. We were given our passports straight back and except for a tiny bumpy part sometime during the night, I slept okay (not the best but it was good for a train.) The biggest problems I had with the train journey were the toilets, which given it was a train was not unusual and that in the morning we didn’t know where we were or exactly how long till our destination “25minutes” said the train conductor an hour before we actually arrived.