Mir Siebesieche gönd mit de Siebemeilestiefel uf Siebebürge!
Our great idea: professional hitchhiking
Yeah, our plan was just great. The day before we left we were sure about getting to Praha on our first day by hitchhiking. No, getting to Munich was not enough for us – the world’s most professional hitchhikers. Tuesday morning we tried to start our trip at the highway entrance Zurich-Nordring. It was pretty cold and it started to rain. Our thumb was already freezing but as we’re not pessimists we didn’t give up that fast. The whole morning we tried to get one of those 3000 cars but only 2 of them were stopping and didn’t even go in our direction. What was wrong? Our whole illusion fell apart! First two hrs we were standing at Zurich-Nordring and the next 2 hrs we were hanging around near the Glattzentrum. No way! First we were standing on the sidewalk with a Prag-sign, then we had to change it to Munich. Later on the sign said «Bregenz» and finally we tried it with St. Gallen and Winterthur. We didn’t even make it to Winterthur. A guy would have taken us to Chur but that was not really the right direction. Damn bastards, those drivers!!There was no other way than getting an Inter Rail ticket for 2 zones for CHF 400. Such a ticket is not even a bad idea – like this we’re able to see 6 countries and cultures in just 10 days. We would have never managed this by hitchhiking. You can do something like this if you got like a month of time or so.
Our journey to Munich was pretty interesting! There was this weirdo who was talking about the difference of Diesel- and electrical trains. The only reason why he was traveling up to St. Margrethen was ‹cause he loves electrical trains and our train was one of ‹em. Also he was a fanatic German fan. He recommended us his great Bahnkarte – the German half-price ticket. I never saw a guy being that fanatic about such a rubbish!
Then I had the silly idea to test out my pepper-spray with tear gas in it. I remember the store in NYC where I got that spray from and where everyone was running out of the store as I just tried to test the spray. Again I was just spreading a tiny little bit of that spray and everyone started coughing in our train. It was so cool to see 20 people coughing and no one knew what was going on. They even called the control officer and asked him what was wrong with the ventilation. He tried to give an explanation and ended up in telling those tourists that there was some «Bremsstaub» getting into the ventilation and that this shouldn’t happen as it was a «high-tech» train. Well done! Good explanation.
Finally we managed to get to Munich in the evening without getting arrested in the train. We were hanging out in that city for about 4 hrs before taking a night train to Praha. Just enough time to go to Beate Uhse’s superstore and to get drunk in famous Hofbräuhaus. We were choosing the right table next to some crazy Americans. There was a nice girl from Connecticut sitting next to me and over the table there was this crazy couple straight outta Manhattan. Next to Souvy there were some really boring people. The American guy started to throw all those dirty jokes at them. «You’re in the wrong spot, you d’better go to a funeral!» «Why don’t you go home?!» «Look at them! No wonder they lost the war!» «Tell you what: if they don’t get drunk immediately we need to change the table!» He was kinda mean but he was absolutely right. Those people were really in the wrong spot.
At 11pm we took our night-train to Praha. Lucky as we were we had a six-seat compartment to ourselves and like that we could get some sleep.
In Praha main-station all those sickos who tried to get us into their pension bothered us. Finally we just went to a standard hostel international that was right in the center. It was near the nice place with the Jan-Hus monument (Pomník Jana husa), where there were all those tourists staring every full hour at the silly «Glockenspiel» of the Staromestská radnice (Rathaus). Our hostel was next to Roxy nightclub on Dlouhá St. and it was 310 CSK per night.
Our first day in Praha we did pretty much everything what a standard tourist does. We went to see the Wenzel, the entrance of the Narodni Muzeum, the Karlsbridge and the whole Mala Strana side of the city. To get out there we just took the subway and got off at a place we didn’t know at all. Out there it was a little bit more fucked-up what we were happy about. I was really looking for some fucked-up areas in Prag but inside the town we couldn’t really find it. Downtown got too rich by all its tourists. At least we found a fucked up area similar to old Bahnhof Letten where we took a piss. Then we were hangin› out in a park listening to our music and playing hackie-sack. Later on we went to see the St. Veits Dom on the Hradshin-hill in Mala Strana and St. Niklas church, Prags tallest Barock-church and I tried to listen to the speech of a tourist tour. As soon as the bitchy guide-woman saw me she started to stare at me and was like: «Do you belong to this group?!» «No! But am I allowed to listen to you?!» «No, you’re not!» – This woman was just such a fuckn ashtray; I didn’t want to argue with her any longer. We walked down to Karlsbridge and met some stupid Swiss girls who tried to show us the way to the next subway station but they didn’t know the city at all.
That first night in Prag was great. First I thought it’s going to be a boring night as we met with those two Canadian girls from our hostel to go together to a Beatles-concert. Then it ended up in an interesting night. It was a place with good food -the meal was like $2 and a beer like $1, not too bad!- and a whole bunch of Csekish people. Yeah, we were the only non-Cseks out there. The band started to play and play and play and they just knew every single Beatles-song. There was this crazy girl who started to jump around and dancing like crazy. Later on there were more and more Czechs starting to dance and like this even we got up to dance. I was never dancing to Beatles before but that night we were dancing like crazy like everyone else did. Csekish people are pretty «partytauglich»!
I didn’t want to get too drunk so I tried to share a beer with Souvy. As soon as the Canadian girls saw that, they started to shout at us: «part-timers! part-timers! Damn weak Swiss-boys!» We didn’t care about being weakies so we were just sharing another beer. Like this we actually drunk the same amount of beer like those damn chicks but they still shouted at us: «part-timers! part-timers! Damn weak Swiss-boys!» and «at a place where a beer is a dollar you just don’t share a beer! That’s just the worst thing you can do!» We even tried to make our reputation worse as I said: «you know, I’m a weaky but I got a real real hard one!»
That was really a funny night. On the way back to our hostel we got stuck again in another pub where we met those Russian people. As I knew the most important sentence in Russian («Liublju tu bja!» – I love you) I tried to flirt with that nice Russian chick.
Then we saw some guys getting caught by two cops just because they were climbing up the national monument. I just planned to do the same thing but we were lucky that they got caught before us.
Actually, our second day in Praha, we got caught. – not on a national monument but in the subway. We just planned to see the suburb-ghetto of Praha and went all the way out to the last stop by subway. Sure we had a ticket but why the fuck should we stamp it – a freakn tourist cannot know everything, hehe! And why the f.. should there be any control at the last stop far outta Praha where there are just locals and no single tourist to rip off?!
We ended up paying the fine of 200 CZK each – that’s about CHF 9 – no reason to mind about. At least it’s 6 times cheaper than the fine in Zurich’s trains.
Later on we got to those skyscrapers, I mean, at least some big buildings where there was that fat shopping center.
At least that’s not such a touristy area like all the other spots in Praha and we felt home. We went to buy some weird baby-drinks and sat in front of the mall and tried to start to flirt with those 15 year old Csekish girls – She was sooooo nice!! I tried to make her a nice present and gave her one of our baby-drinks «Smoula, Smolko» with a nice picture of a Snorf (Schlumpf) on it. She tried to explain us what was a «Smoula» and what was a «Smolko». They didn’t speak one single word in English and we didn’t speak one single word in Csekish. Was kinda hard to find out that a Smoula is a Snorf and a Smolko is a combination of Smoula and Kola! They were laughing about our silly present but I even went back to the store to get her another one and to get one of those silly drinks for dear Cristina – hope she’ll appreciate.
As our trip to Prag’s suburbs was not such a success we went straight over to the other side of the city – this time we didn’t «forget» to stamp our ticket! Out there were some interesting buildings and a big amusement park. There was a big hall with the world’s most interesting exhibition: Pragodent. It was a huge exhibition for dentists. We didn’t really belong to that exhibition but still they gave us a funny balloon with a rose in it. Souvies balloon was already burst and we didn’t know any word in Czech but still we tried to pick up two girls with our two roses. No success! They even destroyed the second balloon!
Then we went straight to the next pizza place. It was a really nice restaurant and they had good food. It was not that cheap as it was just about 3 times cheaper than in Switzerland. You know, Swiss people always need to compare prices with their own country and if something is just 3 times cheaper than in their own country, that’s just not enough!
There was this couple in the corner and the girl was staring all the time at me. I don’t know why but there must have been something weird about me. It was so funny – every time I was looking over to her place she was looking over into my eyes. Every time her boyfriend was turning his back to look over I wasn’t looking into their direction. It was such a weird eye-conversation!
We were already leaving the restaurant when I felt like going back to their table to ask the girl what was going on. I shouldn’t have done that as it ended up in a big shame! I tried to ask her why she was laughing all the time and staring in my eyes. We couldn’t speak any Czech and she had really a hard time to speak some English. So we just had a weird conversation and it was really time to get out of this place, as we were ashamed.
That night we both felt sick. There was this big ache in both of our stomachs. We both felt the same ache at the same time and it must have been something we were eating the second day in Praha. Was it the «specialski» – the awful Czech-speciality cake -, was it the Smoula-Smolko Coke or was it just the harmless Hamburger from McDonalds (was no good idea to go there)?! All I know is, that this stomachache and «thinshit» followed us during the whole rest of our trip… pour guys – those sensitive Swiss-guys! That night we spent the whole money that was left to go to a bar and have a Vodka-Redbull to kill our bacteria in our stomach!
But – no way! Those bacteria loved to stay in our stomach the whole trip!
After another night in the hostel we had to leave Praha to continue our trip. We’ll be back one day – Praha’s a nice town!
Friday afternoon we arrived in Vienna. We just planed to stay there for that day as we both are kind of racists – we don’t really like those Austrians and especially we don’t like their silly accent. Sure, Vienna’s nice, but you know, people are still the most important thing in a country. This sounds kinda mean but I don’t want to hide it. All the time we had to laugh about their accent and we tried to imitate them. Sure, if I was an Austrian I would laugh about that silly Swiss-accent – I admit that!
We passed the nice pedestrian area and looked at all those artists who got those puppets that dance to the music. This show is the most common one in Vienna. There were even religious groups who tried to attract with that kind of show.
We went out to Prater and we were not really enthusiastic about that amusement park as there were not a lot of people. My commentary about the tiny landmark was: «Can I help to brake it down?!»
Sorry, again I’m making fun about those Austrians but who gives a shit about that Prater-thing.
In the evening we had a great plan and it was probably the first plan that was working out on that trip: We had our stuff in a locker and we just went back to the train station to pick it up, take one of the last two regional-trains and just get some stops out of the city to find a place to camp. It would have been a big thing to find a place to stay over night but like this we didn’t have to care about the night at all. We took S6 and got off at the third stop. There was a tiny hill next to the station and we just set up our tent behind those bushes. And our tent resisted the rain even though it was a cheap Migros-tent.
In the morning there was a train leaving back to Vienna downtown at 9:48 AM and at 9:45 we were still hanging in the tent. Then we were jumping up, grabbing our stuff, … oups! The bell was already ringing and the train was on time! … We tore the tent apart in about 1 minute and were jumping over the hill as the train got already into the station. That was close!!
In Suedbahnhof we had right away a transfer and went straight over to our next country: Slovakia. We went to visit the place where Lajda is from, Bratislava.
We were so happy about our first stamp in our passport as in most countries you don’t get any stamps anymore.
After just an hour train ride we got to Bratislava. First you see all those awful suburbs and there is not much more than fucked-up apartment-blocks. As nearer we got to the city it got better. Actually I liked Bratislava, it got a nice old-town and I just love those dirty street-trains. It’s a pity that we could just spend like 4 hours in that city but we had to continue our trip as we still planed to get to Romania one day.
On our way to Budapest we got ripped off again in the train as we had to pay again that silly complement fee for EC/IC trains. They even tried to let us pay a second time as soon as we crossed the border over to Hungary but we started to protest and didn’t give any single penny.
At 7PM we got to Budapest. Souvy had never heard about that city and I told him that it’s worth it to make another stop in that city. And really it was worth it! It’s a huge city with everything in it and you can compare it with Barcelona or even with New York. It’s also one of those fast, aggressive and trendy cities. I just love such cities!
Hungarians are nice people even though it’s hard to trust them when you get off the train and you’re surrounded by all those people who try to sell you some accommodation place, «good» exchange rates and all kind of shit. There was this guy who tried to get us into his hostel. He looked sympathetic and decent but I just don’t like people terrorizing you as soon as you get off the train. Some of them just try to help you and are serious about it but usually they try to get the cash out of you. And besides, I love to arrive in a new city without knowing where I am and where I’m going to. It’s nice to discover a city on its own and be lost in a way.
There was another woman getting up to us. She tried to sell us her apartment for the night but I guess she tried to sell her body rather than the room! She was like: «What?! You plan to stay in a hostel – a dirty stinky hostel?! I got a much nicer room for you…»
Finally we didn’t go to any of those places. We went to ask the girl in the tourist office and she recommended us a hostel – Again, her tourist-office booth was not official, she was working together with that hostel and would have never recommended us another hostel than hers. «All the other hostels are just summer-hostels, they’re closed now!» Ahaaaa, that’s how it goes! But still, she was a nice person and the hostel looked decent. We could already use our first word in Hungarian: «cöz» – thanx. She was cleaning the floor and we made it dirty again with our shoes and so we said «cöz», then pointed on the floor and said «cos!» (what means «dirty»)
She was like: «where do you guys know this from??!!!» – funny!
The hostel was a cool place even though it was kinda far from the center and it’s toilets were just too fuckin› small. There were some cool rhymes on the toilet wall though: «Here I sit – Broken hearted – Came to shit – But only farted!»
It was already kinda late and we started to walk towards the center to get some food. It was already like 10PM and we couldn’t find any place to eat. A guy recommended us a bar – Portside – where you can eat but it was such a trendy pub overfilled with people. A cool place to hang out for a beer but not to eat something when all the seats are taken. Finally we got into a nice place with a really nice girl at the bar and with good Italian food. The people around us were all talking Italian and it reminded me of NYC where there are also all those different cultures and only a few native people.
We spent our whole night to get some food and we were really tired when we got back to the hostel. There was this cool guy from Oman in our room. I didn’t even know that there is a country in our world called Oman. We couldn’t fall asleep as the bunk beds started to shake. Yeah, he had sex with the Canadian girl and it was not just sex, it was really rough hard porn (hehe!). I listened to their conversation – sorry ‹bout that, but I couldn’t fall asleep, it was so interesting – She started to talk about HIV and asked him: «Are you?» He was like «No, I don’t think so!» and she didn’t say any word till he asked her «Are uuu???», that was the question she was waiting for and she was positive about it. Then he was like «I do trust in condoms!» He did a big mistake – you know, she was not even pretty at all. But it’s his decision. Next morning I asked him: «Rough night, hu?!» and he was like «what?! did you hear?» Sure we couldn’t fall asleep on a shaky bed like a boat on stormy waters.
Next morning we had to discover Budapest. It was a Sunday but still there was a lot going on in that city. We went over the huge Erzsébet hid bridge and I made a silly ass-photo from there. On the other side of the bridge there was a nice monument on top of the hill and we were climbing up there. There we met again the Israelian girl we were talking to the day before in the train from Bratislava to Budapest. Later on we tried to go again our own way as we didn’t want to do the same thing she planed to do and as we couldn’t fool around if there is a girl around.
Souvy got kinda mad at me when he was in that phone-cell and tried to call his sweetheart Moni. He was looking for me to get the phonenumber but I was already behind the cabin starting to piss inside the cabin after making the whole place insecure with my fat fart. That was a little bit too dirty! I’m a bad boy, I know!
Later on we were calling Cristina from Romania. The mother was on the line and we told her that we’re coming to visit them Monday night ‹round 6PM. She was like «Good! You’re welcome!»
There was no night-train from Budapest to Cluj-Napoca and we had to find another solution. We planned to take another train leaving Budapest at 5:05PM and getting to Cluj at 1:34AM. We had a crazy idea: We planned to sleep homeless on the streets of Cluj. We would arrive there in the night, put our stuff in a locker and then go to sleep somewhere out on the street or in a park. Sure we would have managed that even though it was really a crazy idea. Arriving in Europas poorest country and going to be homeless in a city we never saw by daylight before.
Then we got forced to change our plans…
We were in time at Budapest Keleti pu. train station to get on our train to Cluj, Romania. In a rush we were changing 500 HUF (Hungarian Forintt), that’s just about CHF 3 with this Arabian guy in front of the exchange place. Then we had to run to catch our train. We already planed to get into the train, then I thought – hey, let’s ask that officer if it’s the right train. He didn’t speak any word in English but said something like «Polski, Poland!» Ooups! Wrong train! We run back to the information booth where the lady told us: «This is the wrong train station!» … Holy shit! Was it that hard to figure out that Budapest Keleti pu. is not the same thing as Budapest Nyugati pu. ??!!
Our train was gone – our chance to get to Cluj that same night was gone and our plan to be homeless in Cluj was gone! We were sad! Would have been a good idea. There was no other train going to Cluj that night. Again something didn’t work out!
You know, we never give up! Souvy and I took the timetable and had a new plan in the next 5 minutes. There was a train going do Bucharest at 6:15PM and we could change trains right after the border in Arad and then get with another train to Alba Iulia that same night. Like this we would be just 100 km away from Cluj and we could get a regional train the following morning.
Strike! That’s the new plan!
We caught that train and pretty soon we took our sleeping bags and started to sleep in our 6person compartment.
We knew from all the other countries that crossing a border is not such an easy thing… but could you imagine how hard and scary it was to get into Romania?!
There were about 5 border-officers tearing us out of sleep and we were sitting there half-naked in our sleeping bags and had to listen to Romanian orders we couldn’t understand. Then they tried to talk English to us. Souvy needed a visa and he didn’t have one. So they started to rip him off. He had to pay $40 or 65 DM but he didn’t have any of those currencies. Finally he ended up paying 30 DM and 300 Schilling. The woman couldn’t give any change and as Souvy noticed that he paid too much she was like «Is just a little more. If you’re worried about I pay you a coffee!»
At least I didn’t need to pay any visa as I entered with my American passport.
Then, another guy came to discuss about our ticket and told us that it’s not valid in Romania he even wanted to charge us the EN-train-fee that we paid already in Hungary. Sure, on our ticket it doesn’t say anything about SNCFR but on our InterRail map Romania is included in zone D. We were arguing with him for about 5 minutes and then he had enough and went to call his «camarad» – but we didn’t see him anymore, probably he was just bored to argue with us … they couldn’t rip us off.
Another and another guy came to inspect us and finally another guy got into our compartment and shook our hands. Actually he just tried to make some business with us and exchange some Romanian Lei.
Then another guy told us that the train will not stop in Arad and we should get off in Simeria. All rubbish! If we would have stayed in the train, we couldn’t have got off until Bucharest and that’s not where we planed to go.
The train was stopping in Arad. We had to act fast, take all our stuff and jump off the train.
Then we were in that station-hall, it was ‹round midnight, it was our first time in Romania and we have never been in a country like this before. We didn’t even wear our contacts and we didn’t see that good what was going on! All I saw was those poor kids from the streets – they were like 5 years old! – lingering around in front of us and begging for money.
Around us there were lots of weird people. It was a scary situation as we were probably the only «tourists» and as we didn’t speak any single word in Romanian.
All the same we were not much different to all those people because we were hanging on the floor with our sleeping bag over our legs and some dirty pants – we looked kind of fucked-up and this gave us some cover. Actually I was not really afraid because I already realized that Romanian people are really nice personalities.
It was just such a weird situation to land in Arad at midnight and to see what a big difference Romania is to all the other Western countries of Europe.
Our train to Alba Iulia had 60 minutes delay as it came all the way from Poland.
We managed to get to Alba Iulia at 4 o’clock in the morning. Our plan was to camp somewhere at the end of the city and to continue our trip to Cluj in the morning.
As it was not that easy to get out of the city we just went with our tent next to the train tracks and main street. At least 3 trees covered us. Again we were lucky – we didn’t get bothered by anyone even if it was a really crazy idea to camp in such a place. Probably those people have never seen a tent in their city in their whole life, as there was probably never a tourist in such a city.
In the morning we tried to catch the train to Cluj at 10:45 but that was not that easy as we thought. A train came with half an hour delay and I was asking one of those nice farmer-opas: «la Cluj?» and he was like «nonono, blablabla!» and pointed into the direction of the other train that came from the wrong direction.
I just love it! – Since we were in Romania everyone was talking Romanian to us. I like this even if I cannot understand anything. But in that situation it was no good – we took the wrong train and went down to Vintu de Jos. There, I started to understand the Romanian timetables – they always put the whole route on their timetable and it’s hard to figure out where the train really goes to. We had to wait another 2 hrs and our train left at about 1:30PM. It was really interesting to hang around at that train station and watch all those interesting people. There was even a dog with one leg – I mean, he was missing one leg.
Finally we got into the right train and were on the right way to Cluj. 100 kilometers shouldn’t be that much but that distance took us about 4 hrs. It was worth it to look out of the window. Just crazy, how different this countryside is if you compare to all the other countries we have been. Just everything is kind of fucked-up. There is more rust than metal and you can see new buildings that have never been finished. If you look at those farmers with their horse-«Karren» you got the impression of being 100 years back in the past. Since the crisis in 1989 they didn’t do anything anymore for their infrastructure.
Our train was also fucked-up. I’ve never seen a toilet like this before. It was soooo dirty and stinky! The doors of the train just stayed open during the trip and we enjoyed to go surfing. It was not even dangerous as the train was that slow all the time. No wonder we arrived in Cluj after 5PM.
The suburbs of Cluj are also pretty fucked-up but as soon as you get into the city you see that it’s way different than the countryside.
We got out of the train station and tried to get a city map but why should they sell a city map if there are no tourists. There are no tourists like in other cities, there are just those religious «tourists» who try to help the «poor» Romanians or there are peole like us who got a friend or relative in Romania.
We ended up asking a woman at a ticket booth about how to get to the Gradina Botanica (botanical garden). We bought a ticket and all we paid was 2000 lei (remember: 1 CHF = 10’000 lei). We hopped on bus number 9 and started to talk to some really nice people in the bus. A young student wanted to invite us to stay in his student-apartment and invite us to a party the following Wednesday. There was another nice person, a woman who tried to explain us how to get to Str. Mestecenilor. She told us that she’d get off at the same stop as we had to. The bus stopped and we got off – but where was the nice woman?! She was still in the bus as the actual bus-stop was further up. We didn’t want to loose her and started to run. We really needed to meet her again as she offered us some of her Pufuleti – and they were really good! Pufuleti seemed to be a specialty in that city as everyone was walking around with a bag of that good puff-rice. That woman was a big help. She was not sure about Mestecenilor and started to ask 3 other people. They all were discussing around and all of them tried to help us even if they didn’t know where the place was. Those people are soooo nice!
Finally we managed to climb up Pasteur St. and we found Mestecenilor. But where was Cristina’s apartment?? We couldn’t find any single house-number. I just went up to a front door and tried to find out which number it was. Souvy already shouted at me: «Hey! Let’s try another door – That house doesn’t look like it’s inhabited!» I thought: why not check it out, entered the front door, and the first thing I saw was the mailbox with «Viehmann» on it! We were lucky!
Yeah, we were at the right place – and we were welcome too: Pepi, Cristina’s father, opened the door and was like: «Ohh, you must be my daughters friends! Come in, feel yourselves at home! Here’s the shower, here’s the place to put your stuff… I need to go somewhere but my wife and Cristina will be home shortly. Just feel at home!» Jesus! That was a nice welcome!
I was soooo happy to see again Cristina. Actually, we didn’t meet her a lot that summer in Zurich and it has been just 3 months since she left Switzerland, but I was missing her all the time. I remembered her nice face and couldn’t get her out of my thoughts. There’s something really special about her and she’s a real nice girl. Probably she thought, we’re kinda crazy to make such a big trip to come to visit her even though we don’t know her that well.
That night she took time to spend the whole evening with us to show us the city. That was really nice!
We met a good friend of hers, Marian, who even spoke better German than we did as he spent a whole year in Germany.
Altogether we went out to eat in Schnipi, a nice «Schnitzel-Pizza» place that needs some support as it’s not the only Pizza place at that corner. We all had good pizza and a nice salad and for us it was a pleasure to invite them as those prices seem sooo cheap to us Swiss-people. In our country we would have paid 5 times more. The taxi-prices are even crazier. You can ride a cab from her place to the center for about 50 Rp.! Just crazy. Taxis are even affordable for Romanians even though there is a lot of stuff that is not affordable for them.
Next, they showed us a really nice place, Flash – next to Piata Unirii, kind of a snobby place like Kaufleuten in Zurich – I never thought that something like this would exist in Romania. It was not really necessary to go to such a place but I guess Cristina enjoyed it, as it was kind of something special.
Finally they showed us the nicest spot of the city – the hill across the Somesu river with the nicest view over the city. Really wonderful place where you can go to hug with your girlfriend…
Our second day Alina let us sleep till 9AM and I slept so deep! Pepi took us with his car to the botanical garden and organized a nice woman – she was a biological professor and knew a lot about all those plants. It’s a really nice huge garden and that woman just wanted to show us every single plant.
Actually we planned to go to see the city as we had just this one day to see Cluj. But that woman took so much effort in showing us the place and she was so nice that we just had to keep on listening.
In the afternoon we still had some hours to explore the city. I love Cluj! People all seem to be nice and it’s not that hectic like in other big cities. We haven’t seen a lot of Romania yet but I noticed that there is a huge difference between the countryside and the life in a city like Cluj or Bukarest. I think the people in such a city don’t live too badly. They all find a way to survive. It’s just sad that you can find all the stuff from western Europe in the stores but they just can’t afford it. We were shopping around and we noticed that there is some stuff that is like 10 times cheaper than in our country and on the other side they sell music CD’s for the same price like we get them in Switzerland. Crazy!
We bought some cheap liquors in plastic bottles and some weird Romanian cigarettes like «Bran», «Carpati» or «BF-Biofilter». Nice souvenirs for back home. We were looking for some vodka in a tetra-pack, what Cristina always told us about, but we could just find some 1 liter packs.
At 3PM we went to pick up Cristina at her school (Colegiu G. Cosbuc on Avram Iancu) and she showed us where to get those good «Pufuleti»! We were happy like little kids when we had that delicious thing in our hands. And a pack is just 1’200 lei!
Christina invited us to eat at her place and she offered us some good «Krautnudeln» and Zacusca- the delicious tomato-obergine thing you spread on your bread. Mutsumesc!!
In the evening we went out again as Lavinia, a friend of Cristina, celebrated her birthday. Again we went to Flash.
That was our second and last night in Cluj. It was such a short stay in Romania but it was so nice and interesting. No wonder I’m writing so much details about those two days – I was really impressed about that country. Just everything was so different and it was even more interesting as we didn’t know anything about Rumania before. Now I even plan to buy a book about that country to learn some more about it. Is it really because I’m interested in it or is it more because I’m missing Cristina?
Pepi was so nice – he even drove us with his car to the train station. Family Viehmann is so nice. I’d really like to go to visit them again and next time not just for two days.
Then we left the city with a night-train at 1:20AM. Felt kind of sad! Really, I need to tell you again, Romania made a deep impression on me while I didn’t feel a lot while we visited all those other countries.
Our trip back to Zurich was pretty fast. We planned enough time to get all the way back but there were such good train-connections that we were arriving already Wednesday night in Bregenz. The night from Cluj to Budapest we slept really deeply. Our last night we spent in Bregenz. It was like 11PM and we were just walking like 200 meters away from the train station to pitch our tent right next to Bodensee. It was in a public park but who cares about our tiny tent!
We mixed some drinks with Romanian liquor and went to bed.
Next morning we tried again to get down to Zurich from St. Margrethen by hitchhiking but again – no chance! We had to take the train. Do we really look that scary??
That was really a crazy trip! Crossing 6 countries (Germany, Czech Rep., Austria, Slovak, Hungary and Romania) in just 9 days…
3 nights we slept on the train, 3 nights in a hostel and 3 nights in our tent – nice combination.
Besides, we couldn’t get rid of our stomachache till the end of our trip. Don’t know what it was wrong in Prag that made us feel sick the whole second part of our trip.
Really, it was fun to travel with Souvy. We got along and had all the time something to fool around and «Umechalbere»!
Now we’re tired…
Philip & Suvi
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