Can an intercountry bus station be at the locomotive museum? I checked, double checked several times and the directions on the bus ticket always lead to the same location: the Steam Locomotives Museum. Never mind that it says “McDonald’s” on the ticket. Whatever. It’s only a 20 minutes walk so I’ll head out early just in case.
Sibiu is a very picturesque story book town in the mountains of Romania at elevation 415 meters (1360 feet). It’s famous for its “houses with eyes”. But it’s getting too cold, especially without winter clothes. Off to lower elevation and hopefully, warmer weather.
When I started walking, the rain had ceased. But half way through, it started again. Oh well, almost there. Google maps took me under the highway, then I’m supposed to cross over several train tracks. How? I puzzled for a while. The only way to cross was to go up the stairs, 3 stories high, to the highway above. I carried my luggage, up the stairs, across, down the stairs. Rain getting stronger. I’m getting wetter and colder. No one on the streets. Dogs barking behind fences. Getting closer, but no sign of busses, people or anything resembling a bus station. A man comes out of his cabin and signals “It’s closed” (I assumed he was referring to the locomotive museum). I try to explain “bus station?” in sign language. “Not here” he seemed to indicate. Very obvious I’m not in the right place. There’s no place for a bus to even fit. WTF?!?
I texted the driver, who communicated with me the day before, “where is the meeting point?”. He texted me the address, in Cyrillic (later on, I learned that the bus company is Ukrainian, hence the Cyrillic message). Luckily, Google maps understands Cyrillic. I’m 40 minutes away by bus. No way I could make it on time. However, the driver said he was running 30 minutes late. Relief!
I thanked the museum guard, who gave me shelter in his little cabin while I was texting back and forth with the bus driver. In the rainy dark night, I resumed my hurried journey to the bus stop, not even bothering to dodge puddles of fear of being late. After 40 minutes or so, I arrived at a gas station where the bus, eventually, picked me up, 1 hour late. I was grateful for the delay because it gave me time to eat, drink and buy snacks for the road. Even though they refused to honor my seat assignment, the bus was warm and comfortable. I fell asleep almost instantly. 12 hours and 4 countries later (Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic), I arrived dry, warm and rested in Brno, Czech Republic.
Romania gave it to me coming and going. My entrance and exit were fraught with confusion, stress and shock. Luckily, it made up for the hardships in between with beautiful scenery, unforgettable experiences and good friends. Such is travel life.
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