500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's going to be an interesting 24 hours...

Yesterday was a relaxing day, just like we planned.

It's tough when you're visiting a new country and you don't want to waste any time. There's too much to see and do and we don't want to miss any of it. But, we've learned that you need to take some down time. Yesterday's weather wasn't the nicest, so we took our time in the morning, got caught up on some computer things, and after lunch I had nap.

Around 3:30pm, we hopped in the car and drove the 5 kms (3 miles) in to the town of Hunedoara where there is a big Kaufland grocery store. We stocked up on snacks and munchies for our 12 hour train ride tonight.

Then, it was off to Ruth's birthday dinner. Our host here at the guesthouse had told us about the Rustic Restaurant, one of only two worthwhile restaurants in Hunedoara. It was only 5:00pm, but the place was busy enough.

They found us an English menu, and our server spoke enough English to get by. Her English was way better than our Romanian!

They bring a whole pot of soup!

The pot of beef vegetable soup was less than $3, and enough there for Ruth and I to each have a bowl. Very tender beef in the soup, and lots of it. They make great soup in Romania!

It says right on the menu that a meal might take up to 40 minutes because everything is made fresh. No problem...we're in no rush. Ruth splurged and ordered the lamb chops for her dinner, priced at 35 lei ($11.50 CAD, $8.50 USD), while I ordered the Moldavian stew, at 19 lei ($6.30 CAD, $4.75 USD).

Ruth's birthday dinner.

Kevin's Moldavian stew.

My stew was mamaliga (like a corn porridge) topped with pork and sausage, cheese, and cream. Delicious, and I was stuffed!

Ruth had two glasses of red house wine, and I had a half liter bottle of beer. Total bill including tip was 100 lei ($33 CAD, $24.50 USD).

I can't figure why more people don't visit Romania.

We drove by Corvin Castle just to get a photo of it lit up at night.

Okay, so the next 24 hours is going to be kind of interesting.

We'll pack up this morning and take the rental car back. We have to return it to the town of Sebes, about an hour from here. We'll wander around Sebes for a while just to see the town, but we're not giving the car back right away. We've technically got it until 5:00pm, so we're going to drive to Alba Iulia train station where I will drop off Ruth and our bags. 

She'll wait at the train station with the bags, while I drive the 15 minutes back to Sebes. Then, return the car rental and hop on the local bus by myself and go back to the train station. This way, we don't have to worry about taking the local bus with our bags. Much easier.

Our train is scheduled to leave at 6:52pm, and arrive in Iasi Tuesday morning at 6:49am. We've booked an AirBnb in Iasi, and our hosts there have offered to pick us up at the train station at that early hour!

So, a 12 hour overnight train trip, covering about 550 kms (342 miles). It must make a lot of stops!

We booked ourselves a private sleeper cabin for two, at a cost of 437 lei ($144 CAD, $106 USD). The entire trip will be in the dark, so there's no chance of seeing any scenery. But, we've got some movies on the laptop. Hopefully there will be somewhere to plug it in!

Travel days are always interesting, so hopefully everything goes according to plan!

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Cyber Monday deal on this Acer Chromebook laptop. Unbelievable, really. It's sure to sell out at this price...


And in Canada...






18 comments:

  1. You can probably guess that I'll be watching pretty closely to see what you think of the sleeper cabin arrangements. Their schedule doesn't sound too dissimilar from VIA's. Almost 24 hours to get from Montreal to Halifax? Not exactly an express.

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    1. We came to the conclusion that we thought the trip on the overnight train in Romania was as good as if not better than our VIA rail trip a few years ago, minus having the private bathroom. Still didn't sleep much but it seemed like a quieter ride. Part of that might be that our berth was in the middle of the coach rather than at the front like on the VIA rail train with the wheels almost under us.

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  2. Listened to Romanian peasant music by Bartok on the radio this morning!

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    1. We sometimes hear them playing music in the plazas, not sure if it is peasant music or not though!

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  3. A great deal for dinner, and it looks delicious. The sleeper cabin should be an interesting experience...

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    1. It was a great deal and a very good meal too.

      The sleeper experience went better than we were expecting. :-)

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  4. Glad Ruth enjoyed her birthday dinner and have a safe trip on the train! Look forward to your next post!

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  5. Every woman should splurge on her birthday! Happy Birthday, Ruth!

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    1. Not just every woman but everybody should! Thank you for the birthday wishes.

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  6. What a great deal on the train! Hope it's a great experience for you. Can't wait to hear about your next adventure and I'm thinking more people will now consider Romania after your commentaries and info on costs. Everything sounds so reasonable and there is plenty to see and do.

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    1. We think that it was and we set our expectations low so we ended up being pleasantly surprised by it.

      Unfortunately we don't have a big enough audience to have that much of an impact on tourism here but we certainly hope that perhaps a few of our readers will make the trip here. It is definitely worth it, price wise and tourist wise!

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  7. Happy, happy birthday Ruth. So glad you had a lovely day and dinner out with a supportive, wonderful husband. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you Dianne! It was a lovely dinner out with Kevin. :-)

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  8. Sounds like Ruth enjoyed a very happy birthday and a good dinner to boot. I've done a couple of overnight train trips and i have to say it's different. I did sleep but not too soundly. One train involved being awakened in the middle of the night for a Customs passport check. It only took a few minutes but was a little disconcerting. Another train overnight was on the luxurious Orient Express and that was pure pleasure! Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you Mary-Pat and yes, I really enjoyed my dinner out.

      Well this train ride wasn't the Orient Express but it wasn't a bad one either.

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  9. Replies
    1. Not sure that I would call an overnight train ride fun but it wasn't a bad one.

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