Justins World

Romania in Review

Today was mostly sitting on a train from Sibiu to Arad, then dashing to another platform to make a connecting train to Timisoara. I had planned to go into the town of Timisoara to take some photos, but its cold wet and miserable. I’m probably also tired and grumpy and have a 5:30am train to Belgrade tomorrow. Its actually the Bucharest-Belgrade train, but from Sibiu it was 6 hours in the opposite direction to catch, so todays trip was all about intercepting the train tomorrow morning.
The main piece of information one needs to know about Timisoara, is this is where the revolution began, that took all of 10 days to topple the communist regime. Coincidentally, the town is a university town and also is much closer in ties to serbia and hungary than Romania itself. This was mainly due to the carve up done after the 2nd World War. As we know, that doesn’t seem to have worked well, anywhere land was assigned to a country after the war. What probably helped this revolution was the Ceausescu decided to go visit Iran for a few days mid revolution. When he came back on the 20th December 1989, he fled and was caught and tried before a military court and executed on the 25th December 5 days later. Enough history for today and apologies I have no photos of this town to share.
Onto trains again and despite the occasional peculiarity in schedules, the trains in Romania, as have the buses, trams, metro and the occasional trolleybus have all bee pretty good. Ticketing is always a dilemma. Even in Romania, drivers won’t accept cash, fortunately just about everyone sells tickets. The tram I caught today in Timisoara from the railway station to the pension (I think a pension is a hostel, with private rooms, usually in someones house) used electronic ticketing, although the paper ticket worked fine, once i found the machine on the tram to validate the ticket.
I’m sure if i got caught I coukd manage the fine, but thoughts of being dragged off to a foreign prison never seem to far away, so its always best to do it correctly.
As you’ll all have noticed, I have internet yet again. I’ve had free wifi in every place I’ve stayed at. In fact Romania seems to be getting its own NBN, fibre being laid all over the place. Amusing that our politicians argue about paying for infrastructure and refugees etc, rather than just doing whats needed. The romanians think its great that they are soming up to standard with the western world. As i tell them, their internet access is miles ahead of Australia, but then again so was Argentinas internet. Australia are probably still better than Africa.
Back onto public transport again. its great if it goes somewhere the locals want or need to go. And the biggest drawback and also the biggest policy is that Romanian tourism is highly undeveloped. Some would say now is a good time to visit before it becomes popular. And it will, because the country has a lot of things to see, many of which i couldn’t easily get to. Hiring a car seems to be the way to go to see the painted monastries of the maramures region or to see the fortified churches in Transylvania. I’m not sure the black sea is a highlight, but some seem to think its worth visiting old run down communists beachside resorts.
One thing for sure, is its been great to visit a country where I’m not seen as a walking money bag, taxi drivers excepted. They are the assholes of Romania (as quoted from at least 2 Romanians).
So the 10 days I’ve spent here was not enough, it was never going to be. If it was closer to home, I’d have devoted a whole 3-4 weeks at least to Romania. So tomorrow is only going to be a 1 day fling in Belgrade, Serbia. I had to cut countries off the list and this was one of them, but as the train runs through here I thought a day in Belgrade would be better than jumping onto a train 2 hours later to Montenegro.
So hopefully an update and some photos tomorrow night. Stop press… I’ve included two photos from late yesterday. One of a Sibiu turret on the old defensive wall and the other a view from the clock tower.

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