Riding That Train

Throughout the year and half I’ve been writing on this blog, by far the most popular article I’ve ever written was Choo-choo! Riding the rails ROMANIA style about some of my adventures on CFR Romanian Railways. It was a lot of fun writing that piece but I assure you that it is only a fraction of the many interesting experiences I’ve had while riding the trains in this country.

As we all know, the prices have gone up recently to ride the train and things aren’t quite the same as they were in the “old days”. But it is still possible to have a good time on CFR, as I discovered on Sunday when I rode the train from Baia Mare to Cluj. Originally I was supposed to ride a bus back to Unicorn City but now I’m definitely glad I forked over the extra money to take the train.

Below you can see three of the people I met. The two guys in the film were both Romanian, although one is of ethnic Hungarian heritage. They were passing a two-liter bottle back and forth between them and it didn’t take long until I realized it was some homemade tuica, about which I’ve written quite fondly before.

Those two generously began sharing the tuica with me and we began to chat and talk. The guy with the open shirt (regrettably I forgot his name) was the one who made said tuica in a small town in Judetul (County) Salaj and told me the requisite story about how it was entirely pure, no sugar added, and all the rest which proves its quality.

I never carried a camera back in the “old days” when I used to ride around but with the film project going full-swing, now you too can see a snippet of some of my adventures on the rails. By the time I filmed the clip below, my two drinking buddies were quite sloshed.

If you listen carefully, you can hear him speaking Italian to me. I told him about 500 times that I was American and not Italian but the more he drank, the more he kept insisting on talking to me in Italian, even though he was 100% Romanian and spoke Romanian just fine with his friend. So between the drinking, the Italian (which as you know, I understand but don’t speak very well) and the long ride, we had a lot of fun.

Somewhere between Baia Mare and Cluj, the train stopped at some anonymous place in the countryside. My buddies all hopped down to smoke and then… well you can see the rest below.

Much thanks to Eniko, the young lady you can see in the film. She speaks excellent English and is a student here in Cluj and gave me some real insights on what it’s like for the current generation here in Romania. She also helped me translate some of the drunker ramblings of my other two buddies :)

Not only did the four of us have a good time chatting and telling stories, but it was yet another great experience to hear the different perspectives and stories and attitudes from the different generations and what they thought about Romania.

Enjoy the clip and don’t forget, just because CFR is more modern and more expensive, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun!

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