The Train From Hell

After delaying my journey to Belgrade so I could spend one more night in Hostel Mostel in Sofia, I got up nice and early to catch my 9 hour train. I arrived at the wrong station, attempted to communicate with 8 people until I found the right one and then proceeded to spend 20 minutes trying to buy a ticket. But still I stayed determined and went for my platform. A man grabbed my suitcase from me and only said “follow”. In my pure panic I attempted to protest and retrieve my bag but he was having none of it. But instead of him stealing my bag or luring me to a murder alleyway, he then dropped my bag on the train I was catching. I had a moment of real gratitude thinking a kind stranger had helped me and then real life punched me in the face and he demanded money. I paid him what little I had as this was clearly not someone I wanted to argue with.

I boarded my train and settled in to my little area, when the announcer informs us all that without moving an inch, we were already running 2 hours late. I accepted my fate of a terribly long journey and just wrote for a while to keep my mind occupied. However this was soon interrupted by an unsettling man sitting across from me and proceeding to stare intently at my chest. Not a couple subtle glances but instead glaring as if his life depended on it. I was however relieved of this uncomfortable situation by a woman that I can only assume he was with, seeing what he was doing and beating him with a newspaper.

I slept some, watched a couple episodes of downloaded Netflix and continued to journal. All of a sudden the train began to violently jerk every 10 seconds. Then stop. Then reverse. Then return to normal. Then speed up rapidly. Then repeating that full process for a good hour. This was obviously not a good sign but I just had to embrace the chaos as questioning a staff member was not an option. Eventually the seats filled up somewhat and a woman with a baby sat next to me. Now this isnt going to turn into a crying baby situation, in fact it was a very well behaved child. What was unique about this situation was that with a few Bulgarian words, she passed me her baby and left! I later came to learn that she obviously needed the toilet and wanted someone to watch her child. But in the moment I felt sheer panic as I had inadvertently acquired a baby – certainly not the usual travel souvenir.

Instead of taking 9 hours, the journey took 14. I dealt with money grabbers, creepers, domestic disputes, babies and the cherry on top; all toilets overflowing and becoming unusable. But I made it in one piece and never gave up, it was just a reminder that not all things travel will be shiny and fun. However the good moments will always be worth the work.

3 thoughts on “The Train From Hell”

  1. Very reminiscent of my train journeys in India! Loving reading about your travels Jess, keeping me entertained in my first few days in Berlin!


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