Travelling Eastern Europe by Train
I’ve come to the end of my little Eastern European jaunt and one of the best parts was the trains I took between Bratislava and Budapest, Budapest and Timosara, across Romania to Bucharest via Brasov and finally to Sofia.
Bratislava to Budapest: 2hrs 30
Budapest to Timisoara: 4 hrs
Timisoara to Brasov: 9hrs 20
Brasov to Bucharest: 2hrs 40
Bucharest to Sofia: 10hrs 40
I’ve spent a total of around 28 hrs 10 minutes on the trains in three weeks, although even I wouldn’t actually believe it. I really enjoyed every journey. The scenery and the sunsets were incredible. The trains went relatively slow, which you could say was annoying but I thought it gave a better view of the world.
The trains in Central and Eastern Europe have been so much more civilised than the ones in England. There was barely anyone on them! You could easily get a foursome to yourself, if you wanted. The trains were spacious and comfortable.
The train from Timisoara to Brasov had a hot dinners carriage, like something from Harry Potter. I’d just gone to look but as soon as I popped my head around the guy had sat me down and a cheese toastie and coffee was on the way. The coffee was rancid but the toastie was nice.
My only issue with the trains is that there was usually a smoking cart, and if there wasn’t, people would just do it out the window anyway. I went to use the toilet on one of them and the guard came out, when I went in it was thick with smoke.
The guards seemed pretty chilled out, although you did get your ticket checked every hour ish. Once you reached border control you had to wait about 30 minutes get moving again while they checked the carriages over. A good book and a few tunes and I wasn’t bothered.
There was definitely some characters on there. Check this lady out with her cat. He sat there like that for about five hours – amazing!
• Take your own toilet roll. On the first long haul journey I clocked that the roll was running low, so I swiped it. I’m not proud, but when it comes to toilet paper it’s survival of the fittest out there.
• Take your own food and drink. Yeah, one of the trains had a food carriage, but it can never be guaranteed.
• Look out for your seat reservation. The train was so empty I doubted anyone would be bothered, but some old dear got all up in my face about sitting on her seat. There was only another 100 she could have chosen from. She wanted HERS.
• You can easily buy your ticket at the station – there was no need to reserve one beforehand. On average the tickets were around 15GBP. Bargain!
• Some trains had a charger point, others didn’t, make sure you’re well charged beforehand.