Jan 08, 2005
the next. It was so full that you couldn`t even get in. I had to back into another cabin so that the owners could empty it out and almost took out a girl sitting down. She spoke english so understood our predicament. They were meant to be sitting elsewhere too. We finally got in and started chatting. Simon was french and Martina was swiss and they lived together in Lille. They`d both been to Oz so had no trouble understanding our sense of humour and slang! The train crossed over into Bulgaria and stopped at a place called Ruse. The weather did the turn around and pissed down. The romanians with all the bags started freaking and unloading very quickly. They hadn`t been able to bribe the border guard so I guess they had to get off. The train started up and appeared to be going backwards. Small moment of panic. Extra panic when the ticket conductor came round, looked at our tickets and asked where we were going. Veliko Tarnovo, we all replied. Then the words we`d been dreading. `This train is not going to Veliko. You`re on the wrong train.` Shit, shit, shit. We all stared in disbelief. The lady in Bucharest had assured us the train was direct. The ticket guy was very understanding and stood to make some good cash on the side. We`d have to buy a ticket for this leg as our tickets were not valid. So we negotiated a price for all four of us. He told us that the track to Veliko had been down for two months because of bad weather. We found out we were heading three and a half hours in the wrong direction to a place called Shumen. Bugger.
We all broke out what little food we had got on with the journey. Not much more you can do really. Simon and Martina had some wine - new best friends. We noticed someone with beer so David went off in search and sniffed out a winner. 4 coldies. We all finished in time to get kicked off in Shumen. It was fairly late and we had to find accommodation for the night. Both our books had some info so we weren`t totally lost but had to walk for bloody ages to find the centre. The first hotel was too expensive and wouldn`t barter. The next was the one. Simon beat them down to 65 euros for the four of us in their best suite! We dumped the stuff and descended on the beer garden for some refreshments. It was all so cheap! We couldn`t believe it! A few beers, a couple of bottles of the local grape juice and some dinner and we were ready for bed.
Shumen - we came, we drank, we left.
We went to the train station in Bucharest and sat in McDonalds for 4 hours nursing 1 lemonade between us. We waited till the last minute, changed all our money and jumped on the train. We found our cabin but it was filled with someone elses baggage. Ours