An epic journey across Romania was enjoyed on our last adventure this included sleeping on the night train from Cluj-Napoca to Constanta on the Black Sea. The trip was to enable us to stay in Mamaia on the way to The Danube delta for a return trip.
This train journey started late in the evening in Cluj after a few nights enjoying my favourite Romanian city. The train was late which was nice as we were cutting it fine.
Cluj station or gara was nice and seemed safe even at night with staff about directing whatever. The journey was over 400 miles took just under 15 hours to complete and cost under £40 each for the privilege.
The Night Train
The train arrived at the time the CFR website predicted eventually then alighted to the booked carriage. To stick to budget we got tickets for a shared room, 6 beds with 3 on each side of the room. Each passenger needed to collect a sealed bag with bedding to use. This was clean and white and perfectly fine for one night.
Disappointingly there was no bar or restaurant, something we were banking on for a nightcap. The train conductor seemed annoyed we asked despite it being advertised, eh seemed to be angry and shouted, have learned since Romanians like to shout. Was advised many times reading travel forums not to rely on these things and carry refreshments yourself. I was disappointed in myself not to have a 4 pack of Ursus my new favourite lager so got to bed early.
The Great Railway Journey
We slept most of the way from Cluj to Bucharest but the train passed through Transylvania including Brasov for a stop to pick up more passengers. This journey required a change at Bucharest so 30 minutes before arrival the conductor woke everyone up so they can return bedding and get ready to leave the train.
Bucharest station was busy and our connection left no time for errors. One annoyance was the size of the platform numbers, they were very easy to miss but all’s well that ends well.
The next train was the direct one to Constanta during the early morning. It was pleasant seeing the countryside of this part of the country and all the small town stations on the way. We crossed the Danube and knew Constanta was imminent.
Constanta station was OK, as with most stations it had a steam engine outside. We opted to head to the apartment we had booked and tried to get a taxi. We were quoted a variety of prices, some really were taking the piss with extreme prices. My advice is to ask a few before accepting.
- Check CFR website for up to date times.
- Website also has times in each station so you can have a smoke or let your dog have a potty.
- Take enough refreshments as restaurants are open hit or miss.
- Prepare to hear about deadly drafts if windows open on carriages, not sure but many older people believe a draft can cause the flu, toothache and other problems.
I thought there would not be much sleeping but slept very well and for most of the journey. I did cheat a bit and took a melatonin tablet to help me on the way. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. It is primarily released by the pineal gland. As a supplement, it is often used for the short-term treatment of trouble sleeping such as from jet lag or shift work.
I enjoyed taking the pain out of travel by using night trains and very keen to repeat the experience. The daytime trains were great to see the scenery as detailed in my Cluj to Brasov post.
Future plans to do this include an extended inter-rail trip on the continent. Short listed destinations include; Vienna, Venice, Berlin, Prague and The Hague. I will be travelling with a dog in tow and will be blogging when I find time, especially now I have a new lightweight laptop.