Our train from Budapest to Sofia took us through Romania with time for a short stopover in Timisoara. We took the opportunity, and it has proved to be a great choice! I love it when we have enough flexibility to be able to make such decisions and have unplanned adventures. Come Check Out Timisoara!
The train came to a screeching stop at the Timisoara North station. A scruffy station welcomed us to Romania. There was construction work blocking the entire main entrance to the platform. The floor inside the station building was nothing more than dirt and rubbish. Beggars and vagabonds hung around the station, and empty bottles and cigarette boxes lay around everywhere. It wasn’t at all a pleasant welcome!
Our host advised us to take the number eight tram that will deliver us right to the door of our apartment for the two nights we will stay in the city. The tram rolled through old cobble stone streets lined with old buildings, all looking as if they needed some maintenance. You could see that these streets were once very pretty.
As we got off the old tram, there was a man standing near the stop. He smiled as he saw us load our heavy backpacks onto our backs. The man greeted us and told us he was our host, Horio. We followed him across the road, then through a large wooden door into the outdoor living space of a large family home. It was lovely! There was a large flower and vegetable garden and a typical Romanian home stood proudly overlooking it. A fiery, but friendly Maltese Poodle greeted us with barks and leaps. No matter who entered, the little white poodle would bark ferociously. Our apartment was spacious and clean. I was so happy to see something worthy of being call a pillow on my bed. The last five places we’ve stayed, I think I have had exactly three feathers in my pillowcase, and no matter how I tried to puff it up or fold it, it was simply non-existent. This time, however, it was luxury.
I love Timisoara! Although some areas look a bit neglected, it is a beautiful city with colourful towering churches, lovely squares, green parks and walkways all along the Bega river. Tiny pubs and restaurants line the walkway, overlooking pedal boats drifting in the water. Every few blocks there is a park with a memorial or artwork amongst the trees and flower beds. What impressed me the most is that everyone seemed to enjoy the city. There were children running around, playing soccer on lawns or in the playgrounds. Others just sat, enjoying their surroundings. Horio later explained that it was summer vacation in Romania and that everyone was making the most of it.
During our stay, we also visited a museum that taught us about the Romanian Revolution of 1989 against communist rule. There were photographs, news articles and other items from the revolution displayed everywhere. We even watched a movie about it. The movie was narrated in Romanian and had fast subtitles in English. Timisoara was the city where the revolution started in Romania. I had never seen a film about a war, or even pictures really. This was an eye opener for me and gave me insight into how the people of the country suffered to be free. They were willing to give their lives in order to be free from the dictatorship. It was inspiring!
As we wandered around after having watched the movie we recognised many squares and buildings, now knowing the importance of them.
Another train carried us away from our beloved Timisoara. The overnight train will drop us at the Craiova station at 4:00am. There we will wait for another four hours and then, after two more train hops, we will be in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Until next time,