Monday, October 16, 2006


On Saturday morning we headed out around 9:00am to travel by Metro, the underground subway, to the train station. We changed Metro lines and arrived at the train station without any problem. Once at the train station we located our line and only had to wait around 20 minutes before the train pulled in. We were soon on our way to Timişoara, in a first class car. We were sitting in a private car with three other people. This was great since it cut down on most of the noise and through traffic. It was an eight hour train trip and the countryside was great! Here are a few pictures from the train window.

We had been told that there was a diner car and we had been anticipating eating a late lunch there. Nope. No dining car. Thank goodness I had brought "snacks" with us. With my family this means I had packed: 8 homemade biscuits with country ham, homemade chocolate chip cookies, 3 bananas, grapes, cheese popcorn, cheese sticks (kinda like cheese-its, only long and skinny), and chocolate. The bad thing was we only had two water bottles with us. YIKES! We had to do a little water rationing but we made it.

We arrived in Timişoara around 7:30pm and jumped in a cab to the hotel. Cost of the cab was 5 euros. Remember this price. This is around $6.00 USD. The hotel was clean and the room great. We went back downstairs and had a fantastic supper in the hotel restaurant. They brought us menus in English, then when Steve started talking the waiter asked him if he needed a Romanian menu. He's such a "show-off"! ;) I'm so PROUD of him too! After supper we headed back up to the room and got everything ready for the race and went to bed!

Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel and Steve and Maria walked over to "check out" the starting line while I showered. He was able to sign in and get his number. He also found out the race was going to start at 10:00 instead of 10:30! They came back to the hotel and Steve changed and we headed out to the finish line where everyone was gathering.

In the square, where the finish line was, they had music playing and the entire atmosphere was festive! The range of runners was a wide one with both elderly and people turning out in jeans and casual tennis shoes. Maria helped Daddy to warm up by chasing pigeons and racing back to me.

After a slight delay we headed over to the start line. For full coverage of the actual race go to Steve's Running Blog. (You can left click on the colored words) It'll be amusing since they didn't STOP TRAFFIC for the runners unless you were one the first three!

After seeing him off, Maria and I walked to the 5k mark to cheer as the runners passed. When Daddy passed he was looking good and happy to see his "girls". Afterwards Maria and I headed back to the finish line to see the first place runners come in!

Steve came in at 1 hour and 47 minutes. I like to say he was the top "American" finisher! :) He received a medal, a goodie bag and a certificate at the finish line. He was pleased with his time and overall we all enjoyed the morning at the race.

We headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and a late checkout. Then lunch and some sight seeing. We just wandered the streets and looked at the old churches and buildings. It really is a beautiful city.

After supper we went and "hung out" in the lobby of the hotel, doing sudoku puzzles, until time for the train. We headed out of the hotel around 9pm and caught a cab. Steve was talking to the man in Romanian and he asked how much the trip would cost. The driver said 5 lei which is less than $2 USD! Then the driver just starting making conversation with Romanian. I realized that he thought we were Romanian and that's why we got the lower cab fare. It took about 4 sentences before Steve broke down and told him we are Americans. He was still speaking in Romanian though! We still got the "good" fare too! Go Daddy - You're the MAN!

The train was already at the station and we went ahead and boarded and found our sleeper car. It was only two bunks and they were narrow, so we made Maria a pallet on the floor and climbed in bed. We were asleep by the time the train started moving. I like sleeping while traveling anyway, and to do so in an actual bed with my PJs on is outstanding!

We arrived in Bucharest around 7:30am and took the public back to the apartment. Steve went into work so he wouldn't "waste" a vacation day. Maria and I skipped gymnastics but we have finished school. She is working on her language lesson homework for tonight!

I think we may be in for some future train travel to some of the surrounding Romanian cities or even to some nearby countries. We'll see!