The train leaves ever-so-promptly at 4:56 and we are underway. I am grateful that the train is warm (albeit a tad stuffy) and the setup is interesting. Our train is certainly a Soviet relic, and could have been used in From Russia with Love had its decor been upgraded. OI am also thankful that this little overnight jaunt to Bucharest is not a particularly common one, at least not at this time of year, and we have a 4-person bunk room to ourselves. I quickly stow my things, make my bed, and enjoy the warmth as the quaint snow-covered Moldovan towns pass by. There is no wifi and the outlets are poor, so I am forced to do my assignments on my phone, ad then be quickly bored after the sun sets. I am tired and eager to sleep, however I am determined to at least remain awake until the border, as I will likely need to be awake for the border procedure. When the time comes, the waves of people stamping and checking our passports on each side, as well as looking at our luggage, only takes a few minutes. However, what seems to take longer is the curiously wheel-switching operation that takes place in between the border checks. From what I gather, the rail sizes vary between the nations of Romania and Moldova, and so to travel in between a pit crew jacks up the train car, removes the wheels, and replaces them with the correct size. This process takes roughly two hours, during which I wish I had a book.
We continue on and I am ready to sleep. My dad, whose poorly-made phone takes hours to charge and minutes to drain, is borrowing my laptop as a battery. He has also been nervously (or restlessly) pacing since the process started and says something about going to the dining car to get some water, which we had been talking about on and off for the last hour, but the wheel-swap process had prevented him from going. He goes, and quickly comes back, saying they wouldn’t sell to him. He asks the conductor in our car and gets sent back to the dining car. He comes back with a crazed look in his eye, and I realize that he probably hasn’t had anything to drink in awhile. I tell him how to say “I need water” in Russian, hear him repeat it back once, making a mistake in every words, and send him on his way. If the lady’s not going to give him water, she’s not going to, I figure. She won’t turn him down for poor pronunciation.
Five minutes later my dad returns, and looks somewhat less like he had been chained to a radiator in someone’s basement for a year. He showed the lady a pill bottle and his splinted wrist from carpal tunnel and was able to get a glass of water. I curled up under my sheets on the cot and fell asleep quickly as the rocking put me to sleep.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.