lauantai 7. lokakuuta 2017

Tramhunting in Hungary & Romania

As said, I had a chance to join the group of dedicated public transportation fans from Ostrava to their trip to Hungary and Romania. The idea behind these trips with the transportation group is to explore the public transportation of a target city, and as a big part of it - to photograph the vehicles. I have become a bit familiar with this crazy hobby, after I met a certain someone called Ivo.

The point of joining the trip was not only to enjoy the company of my dear Ivo (who is studying in Jyväskylä right now) but to visit two countries where I had never been before. I had a little knowledge about Hungary and Romania before the trip since the desicion to join was made two days before the departure, but sometimes spontaneous trips are the best ones.

All information about the trip I had was the place where I need to go in Ostrava if I want to have a free bus transportation to our destination, Szeged (HUN). So my task was to purchace a train ticket from Warsaw to Ostrava. It was not possible to do it in internet though, since I was crossing the border of Poland to Czechia. I went to Warsaw's railway station and bought the ticket, it was appr. 30€ (+-0). It would've been cheaper to students, but because my Polish student card was not valid yet, I could not get the discount.

My journey from Warsaw to Ostrava was without troubles. When I reached Ostrava, I had few hours to spend there before the bus departure. It was my fourth time in Ostrava and I feel like I'm starting to know my way around there already quite well. (Speaking about transportation, no city yet have had so user-comfortable way how to buy a ticket from the vehicle than in Ostrava. You simply show your wireless debit card to the machine, and you have the ticket after that. So simple, so easy to use, full points from me!). I found my way to a tearoom where we had been with Ivo few times before. Luckily they had a menu in English since my Czech is still in the level "mluvíte anglicky" - and they even let me to pay with euros, since I hadn't have time to withdraw any Czech crowns.

I moved to the home of trolleybuses, from where the bus was going to leave. The organizer of the trip Petr was there. Luckily he was able to speak in English and explained me about the schedule of our trip. This was my biggest concern, because I knew that I will lack the common language with the group. Few of them were able to speak English, some of them bit of German but mostly just Czech. Well, at least I got some practice speaking my very basic "nemluvím česky ale trochu rozumím" Czech!

The bus was leaving at 11pm, and we spend the first night in there. Luckily I have some experience of sleeping in buses (thanks Onnibus), so I knew that the key is to put lot of warm clothes. I slept the night as comfortably as possible and on the next morning I woke up in Hungary! There we met Ivo, who had took a flight from Tampere to Budapest, and from there a train to Szeged. This was probably one of the weirdest way to be reunited again, but as we are adventurous souls, proč ne?

Szeged is the third largest city in Hungary and it is located in southern Hungary. We spend the first day there discovering local transportation system, traveling with historical vehicle and enjoying the local treats, such as Fröccs (wine mixed with soda) and Langos (deepfried dough with smetana and cheese). There was a surprising moment when I happened to see a tram with a text "Turku" on it. (Turku is a city in Finland, and not just an ordinary city - my place of birth and home for several years) We did some research about the tram, and got to know that in fact Szeged and Turku are sister cities! The world is so small.  In the end of the day we continued to Romania.

Since Romania is not a part of the Schengen-area, a border control came in to our bus to check the passports from all the passengers. After this formality, we were allowed to continue towards our second destination; Arad. We arrived to our (quite luxurious) hotel and went to explore the "folklore" of the city by going to a pub.

In the next day we had again some programme with the local transportation company. We had the opportunity to explore old trams and to go for a ride with an old train. It was actually really cool since it was only for our group to use. We felt ourselves like very important people while traveling towards our destination - by using common railways with our special train.

Next day we went to Timisoara, another city in western Romania. There we were supposed to go to the tram-museum, but when we got to the place we noticed that there was another event going on. The event was called Art Expo, they had a modern art exhibition - which I really enjoyed. There were also trams in the area, so our group was more or less satisfied even though one tram was "ruined" with art.

After three intense days with trams, trolleybuses and beer, it was time to head back to Czechia. We left Ivo near to the airport of Budapest and started our journey back to Ostrava. On the way we stopped at the border of Hungary and Slovakia, which was divided by a huge river.

On next day I traveled back to Warsaw. I had a straight train connection all the way from Ostrava to Warsaw, but I had three different tickets to this journey. As my Polish discount is only available when traveling in Poland, it was wiser to buy few separate tickets. First ticket was from Ostrava to the last station in Czechia. Second ticket was from the last station in CZ to the first station in PL. Third ticket was from the first station in PL to Warsaw.

I had really nice time in the trip, and afterwards I have to say that I changed my opinion of their crazy hobby. It is not that crazy, it is actually quite fun to travel somewhere to travel with local transportation! It is an effective way how to see the city where you are, and to enjoy the culture and the company at the same time. I am thankful that they took me to their trip, and shared their passion towards their hobby. And, I think it was not the last time I'll attend a trip like this!

Till next time,

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