Day 17: It’s been a dramatic and eventful journey to Bulgaria but a whole twelve hours ahead of schedule, Jess is a Wanderer is at the beach in Varna!
Waking up to a 6am alarm, everything was planned. We’d get an Uber at 7 to the train station and the train would leave at 07:35 taking us all the way from Brasov to Bucharest and ultimately on to Sofia. From Sofia, we’d take the 22:55 train to Varna, arriving at 07:40 and spend a few days on the beach. Sounds perfect, right?
At 06:50 we realised it was a Sunday morning and in fact – like many other countries around the world – no Uber drivers were available. It was a 2km walk to the station and we had 40 minutes, carrying all our stuff, to make it. We bolted out of the Airbnb we were staying in and raced down the road. All the taxis that passed us had fares already and no-one was willing to stop when we resorted to hitch-hiking! Eventually, we hailed a taxi and all was well with the world.
Sort of. Fast forward to somewhere in the middle of the day on September 17th and you’ll find us squashed into a sweaty, sticky, cramped cabin travelling at a snail’s pace somewhere in the countryside between Romania and Bulgaria. In our cabin was a gentleman who should not have been there (he didn’t have a seat reservation), an Austrian chap, a Polish girl and us. I was seriously contemplating jumping off the train it was that hot.
We all had the pleasure of sticking to the leather seats, as well as each other. The window was fully open but the still air from outside wasn’t entering at all. Moreover, the sun was at its peak shining right through the glass and cooking us alive. I’m not sure I’ve ever sweated so much just by sitting still. If you’ve ever been in a greenhouse on a hot day, I bet you’ve not stayed long. We had this for 4 hours when the Polish girl queried our travel plans and then told us that at the next stop we could leave the train and wait 40 minutes for the next one going in the opposite direction which would take us straight to the beach. This Polish girl was like air-conditioning and hopes and dreams personified. Instead of a mammoth 24 hour journey, with 14 hours ahead of us remaining, we now only had 6 hours to go before hitting the Black Sea and golden sands of Varna.
I hope someone will give the Polish girl the same life-changing advice that she gave us! I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I’m not sure we’d have survived the journey had we done the whole original plan. It was truly dire. Fortunately, we had some soggy cheese sandwiches to keep us sustained throughout the journey and our water was the temperature of a hot-tub so that was a real treat…
En route we had arranged an amazing little Airbnb to stay at. Our own beach-front apartment WITH WASHING MACHINE for a whole three days. Life could not be more perfect.