Stops 27 + 28: Timisoara and Bucharest, I definitely needed to Bucharest…get it…? Hello, is this thing on…?

Minibus to Timisoara, door to door service baby!!! I could have got the train to Vrsac, crossed the border then got a train to Timisoara and THEN walk over 30 minutes to find the hostel, but that tires me out just saying it, so for an extra $10 I took the upper class route and got crammed into a minibus with random people. One of whom started up a conversation with me and immediately went on his phone, answering with irritated yes’s as soon as I began to speak. What was the point of starting up a fucking conversation then?!? The highlight of this trip was the Romanian border official chucking my bag to one side whilst checking the other bags. When he said “Do you have anything to declare?” I nearly replied “Yeah, you just broke my fucking laptop!”

But the laptop wasn’t broken and I made it to Hostel Costel! They seemed cool enough and I was sharing a room with Andrei, a Romanian guy who spoke good English and was easy to talk to. I spent the day chilling out and decided to attack the city tomorrow before moving on the day after that. So I chilled until the next day, where I took loads of photos and played tourist for a while.

When I got back there were about 6 Romanians aged between 16 and 21 in the common room playing computer games. I watched for a while and then said I was grabbing some dinner, when I came back they had spawned a load more of their kind and there were now about thirty of them, but now most of the kids there were between the ages of 10 and 13. I felt like the old man in the room but luckily in the bean bag room near the kitchen there was an Australian couple I could latch onto that I’d briefly met earlier so the evening had potential to be above average…

The bloke’s name was Mitch and he had a Conor McGregor beard that suggested he could fight, I could have done with him and his beard when I was in Serbia! His girlfriend’s name was Tessa and I couldn’t quite place her. She was very eloquently spoken and looked European (maybe French?) But had no hint of a foreign accent. When someone says they are from Australia you can’t exactly say “No you’re not; where are you really from?” So I accepted the fact that I would never know this mystery and chatted to them about life until some Romanian’s came over with a drink called Palinka, I do not recommend it…

What’s Palinka? Tell me in 100 words or less or I’ll block you…

Palinka is a Romanian fruit brandy that is pretty fucking painful. The Hungarians like to claim this drink as their own as well, but I like Romania and feel like I have an affilation with the country now. So I’m happy to support the team in this match…

Well done, you stay unblocked, for now…

Yay for me I guess… So we drank until 1 in the morning and I recommended to Tessa and Mitch to go to El Diablo hostel as they’d treated me so well. And in case you were wondering Tessa had Zimbabwean relatives, which was why she spoke almost accentless. Every so often I heard a southern African twang once I knew and we talked about Robert Mugabe (I read his autobiography many moons ago…) and we made (well, I made) obscure 90’s song references until it was time to go to beddybyes.

I couldn’t sleep, turns out I was suffering from problems related to the casual punch in the face in Serbia and needed to stay still and rest, which was annoying because that meant I was going to miss Moldova since I have to make a flight in Turkey on the 26th of January. It was also annoying because the hostel put the price up on me twice even though I was the only person in the hostel. Originally I was paying 40 leu (pronounced ‘lay’), then on the third day I got bed bugs so the girl at reception moved me to another room. They then tried to charge me 55 leu ‘as it was a better room’ so when I told them I didn’t want to move and I’d rather move back into the room the girl said she’d only charge me 45 leu. I wasn’t in the right mental state to argue so I let it slide…

Bad choice. I should have learned from my time in Thailand not to let things like that slide. As the next day they then charged me 50 ‘as that was the normal price’. I decided that even though I wasn’t 100%, I needed to leave as I felt they were taking the piss, which is a shame because I got on with the owner (at least I think he was the owner) well.

<*update: I spoke to the owner about this a few days ago and he was apologetic about the situation and didn’t know I had been overcharged (which I assumed anyway) there are no hard feelings and I’d be more than happy to come back. The bed bugs (which are more common than you think in hostels. It sounds a lot worse than it is…) have been killed as well and they won’t be having issues with them anytime soon. Like I said they are common and very easy to get rid of once you are aware they are there. So don’t panic, it is a decent place to stay. Now that my concussion has gone and I’m thinking straight again I’d recommend the place without hesitation>

So night train it was, and it was fucking horrendous! No beds as they were full (when I got to the platform some dodgy looking steward tried to sell me a bed for more money but I politely declined) so I got about 4 hours of broken sleep on the seat, with a couple of crazy people shouting random shit in Romanian nearby pretty much for the first 4 hours

But I got to Bucharest relatively alive, and the hostel wasn’t far away from the train station so it was easy to get to, apart from the ice and snow. It was cheap to stay here so I stayed 2 days instead of 1 and to be honest, did FUH CALL!!!

There was a nice girl at reception who checked me in and let me have breakfast there even though I’d just arrived. I’ll remember her in my will! There was also a cool guy there called Holden who had a similar sense of humour as me. He was volunteering at the hostel, as was every fucker there…I think I was the only person stupid enough to be paying for a room! So I stayed, chilled out, got cold and eventually it was time to leave Romania.

I got told that I needed to get a train to a border town called Russe on the Bulgarian side, then from there swap trains like a Benny Hill skit until I found my way to Veliko Tarnovo. Did I do it? Find out after the break…

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