Bulgaria in 26 Hours

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Apr 09, 2011

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Flag of Bulgaria  ,
Saturday, September 25, 2010

So, I have officially seen most of rural Bulgaria by Train. 

I took an overnight train out of Istanbul heading for Bucharest, Romania. The train was easily from the 1950's. The conductor was as well. We hit the border at approximately 2 am. They woke all of us up with yelling to get off the train and have our passport stamped. I wish I had the clarity of mind to snap a few photos of what I saw, but I was mildly delirious at the time. 

Basically the train was on one side of a chain link fence, and the border office was on the another. And there were no holes in the fence to pass through.

So everyone, from young people like me to old ladies, were either scaling the fence or crawling under it where it had holes in the bottom. We then waited for 30 min while a sleepy border agent snapped our passes and then crawled back to our train. 

As the day passed I noticed that our 10 hour train ride seemed to be taking longer than expected. Upon asking the driver, I understood that some of the tracks in the central part of Bulgaria had washed out- forcing us to "go around" it. 

This turned our 10 hour train ride into a 26 hour one. I'm not sure we didn't actually end up in Greece for a while to get to Romania. 

Nevertheless, the people on the train made it fun. My original sleeper car room had a party of 5 Romanian students, but early on I bribed the conductor to give me my own sleeper room. Nothing against the students- but we all were much happier with this arrangement - I had a night's sleep and they had an extra place to put their bags.

I also talked to a car full of British environmental activists.  What's funny is that they were all in Edinburgh the same time I was but NOT for the fringe- they were the ones throwing eggs at the Royal Bank of Scotland (see my previous entry).

Finally, more than a day after I left Istanbul, we all made it into Romania...

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