How to Choose a Train

30 august 2007

You are in one Romanian city. You wish to travel to another and do not have a car or for some other reason decide you wish to use the rail network to facilitate your journey . May the Lord bless you and keep you ;)

Option 1: The Sageata Albastru or Blue Arrow. This is an extremely modern train, complete with air conditioning, Muzak and everything else you might ever desire should a peaceful journey in an ass-mangling hard plastic chair be your preference.

Note: There is absolutely no way of knowing which train is indeed a Blue Arrow train. You simply have to know somehow through osmosis. All of the Blue Arrow trains are listed as "Inter-City" trains everywhere, including the CFR website. Good luck!

Option 2: The "Inter-City" train, thusly named because it travels BETWEEN or "inter" different cities. Yeah stupid name I know ;)

Use the website and find out whether there’s a dining car. It’s totally worth it. Not only can you get a hot, fresh meal there but you can sit sideways and truly enjoy the countryside whizzing by.

Option 3: "Acelerat" or "Rapid" trains. There’s literally no difference between these two except technically "Rapid" trains are slightly slower. You won’t even know the difference because neither one is either rapid or accelerated ;) .

The upside: Slightly cheaper than "Blue Arrows" or "Inter-City" trains.

The downside: Prepare for a freaking circus. Maybe that’s a plus, I certainly think so ;)

Prepare for legless bums begging for money, deaf/mute kids trying to sell geegaws and pictures of Orthodox saints, Gypsies hawking everything under the sun from Rambo commando knives to perfumes, other people selling everything from coffee to beer to sandwiches, lost illiterate peasants who cannot figure out their seat assignment, people having their babies shit/piss into bags in the hallway, goons blasting manele music, people smoking everywhere, impromptu parties with beer and/or homemade wine or alcohol, babies crying and screaming, incredibly hot or cold temperatures, snow/rain/hail blowing into the compartments, unspeakably horrible bathrooms, endless stops in towns that barely are big enough to have a name, inexplicable delays, etc.

Option 4: The Personal, which is a Romanian word for "all the horrors of an Acelerat or Rapid train plus even MORE stops at even SMALLER villages ;)

Good luck, intrepid CFR traveler!

Note: Do NOT try to make sense of anything. It will just hurt your brain ;)

Note to the lost American tourist I saw a few weeks ago: Do not try to understand why the train’s door was open as we raced along at 60 miles per hour, endangering everyone in the hallway. Give it up, foolish one!


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