Sherman, enjoying the sunset at St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Photo taken March 24, 2011.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? We're here at the park until late September!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We don't like cutting things that close!

We had a few hours to kill yesterday,  and our AirBnb host Gloria asked if we wanted to go see the Military Moldova History Museum. Sure. We figured it would be a one hour deal and we would head back home. We probably shouldn't have though. We were still a little tired and wouldn't likely get much sleep on the train.

Anyhow, we left our bags at her place and the three of us hopped on the Chisinau city bus downtown.

We hired a guide for the museum because it was so cheap. Gloria translated for us. Entrance fee plus the guide were around $5 for the three of us!

On the way to the museum.

Ruth and Gloria.

Stefane cel Mare (Stephen the Great) was King of Moldova between 1457 and 1504.

We didn't pay the photography fee, so no more pictures. It was a really well done museum though, and once again we were the only ones there. We could have easily spent another hour, and as it was we cut it too close for comfort to get on our train. 

Gloria headed off to work, and we took the bus back to her place to pick up our bags. By this time  it was 3:10pm, and our train was scheduled to leave at 4:45pm. Then, we had to take the bus back to the train station which was close to downtown. 

We walked in the train station doors at 4:00pm, and found the proper ticket booth for the overnight train from Chisinau to Bucharest. Wicket #1. The tickets cost 711 lei ($50 CAD, $37 USD) for the second class sleeper berth.

We would have normally paid the extra for the private 1st class berth, but Gloria told us (and I had read online) that the train is not busy and if you book a 4 person 2nd class berth you will likely have it to yourself.

There were several other people waiting in line, and the time was ticking down. It was soon 4:15pm, and we still didn't have our tickets . Our turn was next, and this lady came up and butted in front of us asking the ticket agent a question in Romanian. I didn't say anything to her because I figured it was just a quick question. Well I should have. The lady had some kind of a problem with her tickets and took up about 10 minutes of the agent's time. Even the agent was getting mad at her and shaking her head. That's it...no more Mr. Nice Guy next time!

We finally got our tickets and I went to pay and we were short by about 300 Moldova Lei. ($20). I had seen the sign saying that they take Visa, so I pulled out the card to pay the balance. Turns out the machine is not working!

So, I go running off to find a cash machine and take out another 1,000 Lei. Now of course, there's no time to go try and exchange our leftover Lei into Euros or some other worthwhile currency.

We get on the train with 10 minutes to spare and find our compartment! Now, we hadn't had time to buy any supplies, so I leave Ruth on the train and I go running out to find the nearest store to buy some water and drinks.

Back to the train, and it takes off right on time! Whew! We don't like cutting things that close.

In our compartment.

At the Moldova - Romania border, the customs and border police came on and stamped our passports and checked our belongings. While still on the Moldova side, the changed the wheels on each one of the cars by lifting the entire car up on hoists while everyone is still on board.

New wheels waiting to be installed.

From our window, we could see another car having the changeover done.

The entire process including doing the passports on the Romania side of the border took about three and a half hours!

Then it was time for bed. We made up our lower bunks, and sure enough we had the room to ourselves for the entire journey. In fact, several of the rooms in our car were empty.

Didn't sleep great, but that was expected. Arrived Bucharest Gara de Nord train station at 6:05am. We then had to take the 780 bus to the airport, which is where we are right now waiting for our flight to Munich, then connecting flights to Montreal and then Ottawa.

What a whirlwind 24 hours it's been!

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30 amp RV extension cord is on sale...great price!


And in Canada...




20 comments:

  1. Wow what a lot of travelling, glad you enjoy it. Not for us though.

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    1. Yep, it sure is and yes we do enjoy it!

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  2. Replies
    1. Yep, a little bit but once we were on the train we were able to totally relax.

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  3. I'm still fascinated with the wheel change over. Thanks for the pictures. I probably would have been in tears by the time the train rolled out. Cutting things that close doesn't work for me. So glad you guys got everything taken care of.

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    1. It was pretty cool but because it was dark out we couldn't get great pictures of the procedure. They do about four train cars at a time, two on on rail tracking and then shift over to another rail tracking where two more are done so we do get scooted around a little from on line to another in order for all the cars to get done. I found this video on YouTube that sort of shows the process. It is a short clip about 1 1/2 minutes long, just copy and paste this in the address bar to view it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOn0yh61awU

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  4. Hope the rest of your travels home go smoothly. I am in the rail transportation industry, and I am also fascinated by the changing of the wheels. I'm going to have to mention this to some of the guys in our maintenance department and find out what would be involved logistically. I think you had mentioned a different width of the tracks. I do also know that the wheels have to have their contact edges ground at different angles/patterns depending on what track they are running on, so that could be an additional factor.

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    1. Yes, the track gauge is different. Moldova is 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) and Romania is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). They call it a bogie exchange and here is some info on Wikipedia about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogie_exchange. I also included a URL in the above comment of a YouTube that someone took of the change over. It was very interesting.

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  5. Glad you made it on the train, I actually believe it is customary in other countries to not be nice in lineups. We Canadians are too nice sometimes. Very neat with the wheels being changed, it makes sense but I've never heard of them doing it while people are on the train.

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    1. I agree, sometimes we Canadians are too nice but I would rather consider too nice than the alternative. :-) Unfortunately we thought that she just have a very quick question!

      Actually from reading more about, we have found a number of different countries that preform these "bogie/truck" changes. It was neat to watch.

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  6. Close call but just another adventure to add to the list.

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    1. Yes, but a little too close for our liking! Glad that it all turned out well for us.

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  7. So I'm guessing the "truck" change over is due to the different sized gauge? Thought that wasn't until you got into the Ukraine or Russia. Interesting.

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    1. Yes, Moldova has a track gauge of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) and Romania's is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). Remember that Moldova used to be part of the USSR at one time!

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  8. Glad everything worked out ok for the train. Cannot believe you are taking another trip so quickly after you get back! Looking forward to the pists for your next great Barcelona adventure!

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    1. Normally we would have just kept on traveling for the whole winter but this year decided to come back to Ottawa to be with the family for the Christmas holidays.

      We are looking forward to our adventures in Spain and Portugal as well. :-)

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  9. Wow that was cutting it close. Glad you made the train and your flight...safe travels back home :-)

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    1. Yep, at little to close for us but thankfully we made it. Back in Ottawa now and enjoying the grandkids. :-)

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