We were up exceptionally early on Tuesday (and not because of the Offending Bell Ringer). We had a train to catch to Bucharest. I really didn’t want to go. The night before we had packed all of our stuff up and tidied the shed. The idea was to just grab our bags, brush our teeth, check out and go to the station super early. Which we did… but we were missing something.
Here’s how it happened. Have you ever hidden something in a safe place so that no one can find it if they somehow make it into your double locked shed? No one, including you. Resulting in leaving it behind, because you just plain forgot about it.
As I said, we left super early (about 6:45am) to ensure that we didn’t miss our train. We had already wasted £30 on train tickets from Budapest to Sighișoara earlier in the week and we weren’t about to do it again.
The train was delayed by 35 minutes. That made our total wait time on the platform about 50 minutes. I took a glance at our tickets just as our train was approaching the station and commented on how I found it strange that our names were printed on these tickets despite not having to cross any borders.
Mike said something about officials maybe needing ID with tickets to ensure home printed tickets were not duplicated.
A sudden sense of panic crept over me… ID? PASSPORTS! FUCK!
Yeah, you heard me. We forgot THE most important items that we carry on us. Don’t get me wrong, I would have been pretty pissed if we had somehow forgotten to pick up the laptop… and the same outcome might have happened if we had, but at least it wouldn’t have been our passports. The one thing that even allows us to travel! How do you forget something so sacred?!
The train trundled to a stop as Mike and I stormed off the platform, angry at ourselves for being so stupid, for wasting another £30 and for wasting a shit ton of time. I slam dunked the useless train ticket into the bin as I passed it, hating the fact that we even had to leave Sighișoara at all. Fuck you Bucharest, this is all your fault!
By the time we had made it back to the hostel I had put most of the situation into perspective. What if we had got on that train, to find halfway through the journey that we had left our passports in the shed? What if we hadn’t noticed until our next border crossing? (Which turned out to be a full three days later.)
Luckily for us, the trains to Bucharest were pretty regular. After collecting the passports, we trekked back to the station (thank God it was only a five minute walk) and bought yet more train tickets at the counter. I was dreading the cost, as I know for a fact we received a discount for booking online. But the new tickets came to a total of 179 RON which was only 20 RON more than the original set.
|Our new tickets, but not our new train|
Our new train, coming from Vienna was due to leave at 11.55AM. We had some time to kill. Instead of hopelessly searching for places to go at that time in the morning we settled in Chic Cafe opposite the station. We didn’t care how much it was, or how good it was. We just wanted somewhere to sit and wallow in self pity.
Fortunately, it was a beaut of a place. I had a home made strawberry milkshake while Mike had a cappucino. We ordered a ham and cheese omelette to share and it was the most glorious omelette to have ever graced this earth. We had some more coffee, which also came with extra home made biscuits and mopped up some olive oil with our remaining complimentary bread. Our spirits were suitably lifted.
|Coffee and FREE biscuits (home made)|
When we got back to the station there were more people around. A couple of American gents were near us on the platform. One told us of his travels across Eastern Europe visiting fortified churches and monesteries. The other gave us his Lonely Planet guide to Romania and Bulgaria as he was leaving the region.
Did you know… that as a UK/EU passport holder, over the age of 65, you’re granted free public transport in Hungary? This is where I’m retiring to, for sure.
We hopped on the train, after it’s late arrival, to find someone in our seat. Not so much his fault, someone had completely taken over his little pod and shut all the curtains. We walked down to the next available 6-seat pod and set up house. We were undisturbed, other than by the ticket inspector, for the duration of the trip. It was bliss.
The train meandered through the Carpathian mountains very slowly but it was worth it. The views were sublime and my pictures don’t do them justice.
It’s nice to think that although this was probably the worst situation we had found ourselves in so far, we made the best of it.