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Brasov + Rob jumps out of a moving train

by - August 3 2010

Romanian trains can be frustratingly slow. While the fastest sections of the track can be up to 50mph, the trains often go only 30mph or slower. The upside of this is that it is possible to jump off them relatively safely if the need arrises.

In my case the need arose because, after waiting for my delayed train for around half an hour, a train rolled into the opposite platform with "Bucharesit" written in the window. I guessed that the train had just changed platform and so not only got on, but also persuaded some French tourists to join me. Unfortunately after having been on the train a few minutes it because clear that "Bucharest" was the origin of the train not the destination. The train was in fact heading for somewhere in the middle of nowhere, it wouldn't be stopping anywhere else for about an hour, and I probably wouldn't be able to get on a train in the right direction for a day. Fortunately the train wasn't going very fast at the time, so I just opened the door, jumped out, and walked back to the station. I still feel rather guilty about the poor French people.

My destination was in fact not Bucharest, but Brasov, a stop on the way to Bucharest. Like every other Romanian city I have been to, Brasov is architecturally enthralling. The photos really don't do it justice. It also has some great traditional Romanian food. Banners around the city bear the slogan "Brasov, probably the best city in the world".

Like everywhere else I've been in Romania, Brasov has a group of Roma children who hang around the station asking for money, and reaching for your wallet when you attempt to buy a ticket. They can be quite aggressive, jumping in front of you and thrusting what often seems to be a dead baby in your face (the baby always seems completely limp and I've never seen one actually move, even though their eyes are always open - rumour has it they drug them). One rarely sees Roma outside stations and the other Romanians complain about the Roma regularly.