James Jackman / June 22, 2016
An Interrail Adventure - Blog 1: Bucharest
A while back, I approached Interrail Planner about doing a live blog of my own Interrail journey across Europe. I’ll admit, it didn’t take too much persuasion on my part to convince them, so this is what we have now! Welcome to my semi-regularly updated blog about my month-long journey across Europe - planned using Interrail Planner of course!
Sunday 19th June – Bucharest to Sofia (10-hour train)
When you’re in Britain, a 10-hour train journey is something that’s difficult to imagine. However, it’s where I’m writing to you from! A two-carriage train is hurtling through the 36°C Bulgarian countryside, with only the open windows to provide any relief. Oh air con, how we miss you! However, the wind will suffice and the views fail to disappoint!
On Thursday I said goodbye to my family, pets and boarded the plane to Bucharest. Landing, the first thing that hit me was the heat: 35°C during the day. I wanted it to be warm - just be careful what you wish for! A taxi later and I was in my hostel, I dumped my bag and along with a couple of Swedes, we headed to Eden, a nearby outdoor bar. A very cool place, with hammocks, benches and chairs all under the trees, the perfect place to relax.
Eden, an outdoor bar in Bucharest
Friday and Saturday were pretty chilled out days, if not in temperature. Art galleries, museums and a lot of relaxing in the nearby park featured - just what was needed after finishing a degree! What also featured was the famous Interrail activity: the free walking tour! For those unfamiliar with the concept, these are generally 2-hour walks around the city, given by a local. You learn a bit about the history of the city, meet other travellers and find out where the best food is! Learning about Romania’s past, life under communism and the eventual revolution was fascinating, if not a bit dark at times. However, it resulted in me and a few new friends enjoying stew at an old military institution, somewhere we wouldn’t have been allowed near a few decades ago – amazing how things change.
Something I should say is that I’ve noticed in the last few days, I’ve suddenly become the go-to expert on the EU referendum. When I left Britain on Thursday, it was 1 week until the vote. So in the run up to it, being the only British person in the hostel, I’ve found myself explaining the situation (as best I can) to French, American and Australian travellers alike. It looks as though I have a go-to topic of conversation until Thursday!
All in all, Bucharest was a fantastically relaxed city, perfect for beginning an Interrail journey - even if the temperature was a bit much. So, as this train hurtles onwards and I try to avoid bugs flying into my eyes from outside the window (along with my ticket getting repeatedly checked by different Bulgarian train staff), I look forward to what Sofia holds!