Bucharest Gara de Nord. Time for another train trip across the country! ImageImageImageImage
I'm on the 6.45pm overnight train to Satu Mare in the north-west of Romania in a private sleeper. The train hasn't even departed yet and the starion board already shows a 15 minute delay - quite typical for CFR in the summer and I expect more delays on the long way north! ImageImageImageImage
And we have departed!
Scenery on the way to Ploieşti - the first stop on our way north. ImageImageImageImage
Time for a snack! A private sleeper ticket on CFR does include the possibility to bring along your own food and drinks. Couchette tickets also have this perk, although you may have to share your charcuterie board and Moldovan bubbly with your fellow passengers in that case. Image
The windows are enormously dirty so proper photography is quite hard. We have now arrived at Sinaia, Romania's most famous mountain resort. ImageImageImageImage
In the Carpathian Mountains between Sinaia and Busteni.. ImageImageImage
And a video of the stretch between these two stations.
Departing Busteni. Due to the cloud cover not all the Carpathian mountain peaks are visible.. still a gorgeous railway line!
Some last images before night falls as we ride through the Carpathians towards Braşov, passing by an old double deck train going into the opposite direction.
Braşov's North Korean style station. And my last update for today as I'm off to sleep soon after this glass. Next travel update tomorrow morning from Transylvania/Crișana depending on the time I wake up. ImageImageImageImage
After a great night of sleep: Goodmorning from the Romanian-Hungarian borderlands! Although this train goes to Satu Mare, I will get off one stop before at Carei station in about 30 minutes from now. We seemed to have caught up our initial 20 minute delay so it's on time again! ImageImageImageImage
Departing Valea lui Mihai. Next stop: Carei.
Carei station. The train continues to Satu Mare - where I will go to as well later today. But first time to explore Carei a bit. And to find some coffee!
Walking into town.. ImageImageImageImage
Carei and the surrounding area has always been multi-ethnic. The Hungarians (a majority here) call the city Nagykároly, the Germans Großkarol. There used to be a thriving Jewish community too. You can see it back in the great variety in the places of worship. ImageImageImageImage
Of course the communists also left their legacy in Carei. ImageImageImageImage
In a nice park in the centre you can find Carei's main sight, Károlyi Castle. Named after the noble and mighty Károlyi family, it was originally a baroque castle. When it got damaged by invading Ottomans, it was rebuilt in a predominently eclectic style. ImageImageImageImage
Inside, there is a museum detailing the history of the castle, of Carei in general, and of the Károlyi family. There is currently also a small temporary Salvador Dalí exhibit. ImageImageImageImage
Some impressions of the castle and museum. In some rooms old furniture and decorations can be seen, in others there are certain items showcased telling about the town's history (in this case of the last picture for example about local pharmacists/medicine making). ImageImageImageImage
A bit out of place in the otherwise very nice museum is this smug dude (Panczel Zoltan Tibor) who felt the need to kill half of Africa's wildlife and to showcase it here in order to overcompensate for his micropenis or whatever. Classless. ImageImageImage
If you are in a majority Hungarian area, there is of course some yummy gulash for lunch! Image
Some more impressions from Carei. Bit rainy weather today, unfortunately. ImageImageImageImage
Definitely a Hungarian vibe and some lovely old architecture in town, although many buildings sadly abandoned or in a bad state. ImageImageImageImage
Carei's railway station, in time for the 1.26pm regional train to Satu Mare. ImageImageImageImage
Waiting on the platform. Note the bilingual station sign! ImageImageImageImage
And there it is! R4335 to Satu Mare. Not too bad a train, quite comfortable and spacious!
5.30 RON (1.08 EUR) for the 36km ride. ImageImageImageImage
Not the most exciting part of Romania when it comes to scenery. Flat, fields and farmland - that's basically it.
Arrival at Satu Mare. The river at the midway point of the video is the Someş which bisects the city.
Satu Mare station isn't bad, but lool at the communist mosaic at the abandoned bus station nextdoors! ImageImageImage
The leafy neighbourhood around my hotel. Should I try the "porc, vin & bere" restaurant? Sounds like a good combo! Satu Mare actually has a top-rated Filipino restaurant (my Twitter/website name is Tagalog!) which would be my first choice but it's closed as they're on holiday :( ImageImageImageImage
Some Satu Mare impressions. Like so many other Romanian cities a mishmash of buildings from different historical periods and styles. So basically Habsburg pretiness next to communist ugliness. ImageImageImageImage
As I'm a bit tired I'll explore the city tmrw and just have dinner now. Garlic cream soup with homemade salty pita bread, and an absolutely massive pork knuckle (not visible: the mountain of fried onions behind it). Bit expensive for 🇷🇴 provincial town but huge portion and tasty! ImageImage
A bit unrelated to the trip - but how awesome is this 1950s Hungarian radio in my hotel room! I want one too! ImageImage
A day of sightseeing in Satu Mare! First up the Județean Museum (county museum). It may not look much from outside or even inside the foyer, but it's surprisingly large and nice! Multilingual signs and interesting historical and ethnological exhibits. Well-worth a visit! ImageImageImageImage
PS. @dmdebruijn - bit of background history of Jewish life in Satu Mare. ImageImage
The brutalist side of town.. ImageImageImageImage
Some Satu Mare impressions. It's a surprisingly pleasant city which reminds me of Cluj about a decade ago. Lots of nice cafés, restaurants, laidback vibe etc. ImageImageImageImage
Satu Mare in food and drinks. Excellent brunch at ZION (Turkish style eggs in yoghurt), beer at The Line, and the typical Hungarian snack langős with sour cream, cheese and lots of garlic (pic 3-4). ImageImageImageImage
View over Satu Mare from the old firemen's tower. ImageImageImageImage
Catholic Satu Mare, with the main Cathedral (1-3) and the smaller Calvaria church (4). ImageImageImageImage
The main Orthodox church (1) and the synagogue (2-4), which was unfortunately closed with not a soul to be seen around. Fyi @dmdebruijn. ImageImageImageImage
The county art museum, which focuses on the works of Aurel Popp & his students, is also well worth a visit. If a museum seems closed, ask the guard to call the caretaker to open it for you! They often see so few visitors that the caretakers are just chilling somewhere outside! ImageImageImageImage
The "Satan" communist apartment block (1), Al Bundy's shoe store (2).. you encounter funny things when walking through Satu Mare. ImageImageImageImage
Satu Mare is nonetheless a pleasant city to walk through. Too bad the main hotel, the gorgeous art deco Dacia Hotel (previously known as the Pannonia) is still being renovated with its beautiful facade hidden behind a covering sheet. ImageImageImageImage
Time to head back to Bucharest. No train (sleepers are unfortunately quite sold out in summer if you don't book 1-2 weeks out) but a domestic flight. At least my cats will appreciate me being back half a day earlier & the extra XP to shore up my Flying Blue status are welcomed. ImageImageImageImage
Satu Mare Airport isn't much to write home about but they do have a bar selling some craft beer and lots of old-school Fishbed fighter jet pictures on the walls. ImageImageImageImage
On the ATR 72-600 back to Bucharest. ImageImageImageImage
Taking off from Satu Mare..
And after a short flight, Bucharest Otopeni Airport. One advantage of arriving at the domestic terminal is how quick the arrival process is at this airport. Deplaning to the 783 bus for the city centre in just 5 minutes! ImageImageImageImage

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More from @PaliparanDotCom

16 Jul
After a tiring work week, let's make a little day trip out of the city again. This time I'm on a little Transferoviar train to Slanic, which seems relatively empty compared to the packed trains going to the coast.
We have departed!
The first 50 minutes or so is the railway line to Ploieşti, the main south-north axis out of Bucharest on which I have travelled too many times for it being anyway near exciting. Let's just pretend It's Tuscany and my yuk Starbucks coffee is Italian, and it gets a bit better.
Read 32 tweets
15 Jul
Another great example of the (un)practicalities of train travel. I'd absolutely love to do a train trip like this, but it takes forever and the costs (can be a tenfold of a budget flight..
Of course, there is a lot of unfair competition (subsidised aeroplane fuel, high costs for rail) - and I'm sure part of it will be tackled by the EU with their 'new green deal'. A level playing field is important, and basic infrastructure is one of the most important gov tasks.
I just hope that it won't mean that this will remain the benchmark to which aviation is being brought back (with punitive taxes) while train travel remains expensive. One of the main EU benefits has been the ease of travel, breaking boundaries, making it affordable to all.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul
Just to show the scale of the massive #floods in western Europe, here you have the confluence of the rives Our and Sauer (which forms the 🇱🇺 🇩🇪 border). Left, the picturesque view in normal times. Right, a picture made by a family member just minutes ago..
The water level in the River Sauer (called Sûre in French) was 608.1cm at 11.30am. To put it into perspective, the vigilance level is 350cm and alert level is 425cm.
Elsewhere in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate the situation seems to be even worse. In Belgium it's also precarious - with even a city as large as Liège now being partially evacuated.

Read 4 tweets
17 Jun
Time to fly again! Destination: Russia. Otopeni Airport is rather empty apart from some disappointed North Macedonia fans heading back to Skopje on a Wizz charter. Unfortunately no Air France for me today (une autre fois, ma chère compagnie aérienne) but a TAROM flight to start. ImageImageImageImage
The current aviation crisis summed up in one picture. It seems like this airport cafe has been closed since the start of the pandemic with all that dust... Image
First flight: a short TAROM hop to Chisinau on an ATR 72-600. ImageImageImageImage
Read 63 tweets
13 May
After all the Croatian fun it's time to go home - by train. First up: the EC train to Vienna. To blend in better with the Balkan surroundings, the OeBB carriages even have quite some grafiti on them.
As the scenery during the first few hours is exactly the same as on the Graz-Zidani Most-Zagreb trains on the inbound, I won't post anything and just take a nap. Below is a thread what you can expect to see if you take this journey, in case you missed it.

The Slovene border guards are on it again at Dobova with thorough checks. They even kicked out my friendly Croatian compartment mate for not having a negative corona test - despite the fact that this is not needed for transit! Poor guy.. ~1 hour delay and counting.
Read 43 tweets
11 May
Day 5 of the Croatia trip. After indulging in cevapi for dinner and bureks for breakfast it's time for some exercise. A bit of biking and swimming on the island of Čiovo it is for today! ImageImageImage
Cycling the narrow roads of Čiovo.. ImageImageImageImage
Goal of the bike ride: this beautiful church on the cliffs above the water, which I would have completely missed out on if not for a great tip I got yesterday from a knowledgeable local. Absolutely stunning, peaceful location. Image
Read 39 tweets

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