We were on an overnight train from Brasov, Romania to Zagrab, Croatia. As we rode away from the Transylvania mountains into rolling fields of farms, the sky lit up in a fire of color and the moon danced above the horizon. The beautiful evening ride turned into another hot night of trying to sleep. We were again assigned the top beds in the six person couchette sleeping room and although the the AC worked, the air blowing from behind the window curtain never circulated up to us. We arrived in Zagreb tired and ripe. Next, we needed to grab a bus to continue to our final destination which was still about two hours away. We decided to track down a post office to again try to lighten our packs full of souvenirs. Although there was some confusion about boxes, the cost to send things home was much more reasonable than what we found in Romania.
The bus ride to Plitvicka Jezera was unremarkable but really made me miss traveling on trains. We read online that the regional busses stop at the two main entrances to Plitvice Lakes National Park so we ere surprised when the stops were a small hut on the side of a busy two lane road (which would be considered a highway by many countries in the world), surrounded by woods. We exited at the second entrance and started walking the three kilometers down the highway to our guesthouse. The walk was making me nervous because there wasn’t a shoulder and it’s hard to watch traffic when my pack cuts down visibility. We decided it would be best to hitchhike if possible. A few minutes later, Continue reading
Our train arrived in Bucharest after a five hour mid-day train from Veliko Tărnovo. We walked to our hotel, Villa Romana, and were surprised to find a locked door with only a phone number. Because we don’t have working phones (which is becoming very annoying) we had to find one to borrow. A salon next door was closing but luckily we were able to catch one of the employees. When I called, the receptionist asked why we didn’t coordinate a check-in time as requested on the booking confirmation. We were then instructed on how to enter with a hidden key and told which room to occupy. While waiting for the receptionist to arrive and collect our payment, I re-reviewed the email and saw the unusual request hidden amongst the regular jargon that booking.com sends. They obviously don’t make it easy to find because another couple had the same issue a few hours later (and we were able to help them by using google hangouts since we were then on wifi).
Also while waiting for the check-in process to complete, Sara looked at a lonely planet guidebook that was available in the room. We planned one night in Bucharest but otherwise had no idea what we wanted to do in Romania. The guide confirmed Continue reading
Threatening rain created an eerie spectal of our journey from Sofia into the heart of Bulgaria. As we wound through narrow valleys, mist clung to the mountains creeping lower as we ventured deeper into the wilderness. The rain intensified as we pulled into the Veliko Tărnovo station. The tiny station in the middle of the woods was totally dark, without even a streetlight to guide us. Through the pouring rain we found a bus stop, but all the bus information had been ripped off or was impossible to read by the light of our flashlights. When a couple locals joined us in the bus stop, we tried to ask for help but the language barrier was too great.
After a few busses headed the wrong direction passed, a small bus going our way arrived. We asked the driver if the bus was going to the stop near our hostel to which we were met with a blank stare. Continue reading
We arrived to the city of Sofia after an exhausting night of traveling through Greece. We excitedly exited the train station feeling the cooler air and walked several blocks to our hostel for the night. Will actually found Hostel Mostel had single rooms in our price range. We checked-in to a bustling lobby filled with the typical backpackers. The receptionist was extra inviting and took about fifteen minutes to get us acquainted and excited for the city. We were only planning on using Sofia as a stopover point, but the welcome made us happy we had arrived.
As we walked to the single rooms which were located a short walk away in an apartment block, we learned that our room not only included breakfast, but dinner as well! Excited to save some money, we joined the other backpackers at 7:00pm back in the Hostel’s main common area. The hostel employees were serving out three meal options: spaghetti, lentils with rice, and fried egg with and Asian style salad. As an added bonus, we could wash down our choice with a glass of beer. Is this what we’ve been missing by not staying at Continue reading