Adventures on the way to Baia Mare – Julius Hirseland

Tuesday afternoon, last stop before the Romanian border. Nyírábrány.
It’s hot outside. Very hot. 40 degrees.
With me in the compartment, two older Hungarian men – and a bottle filled with a yet unknown spirit. The door opens – border control. The guy is maybe my age, sports short hair and has a grim expression on his face. “Passports!”. I hand him my ID, he nods and leaves for the next compartment.
It is still hot, I look out of the opened window. The grass is yellow, the rails are rusty, the little shack near the tracks is nearly collapsed and the air suffocates under its own weight.
I am bored, I listen to song of the crickets and the noise of a far away road, trying to fight against the sleepiness which is overcoming me.
The two men talk in Hungarian, they are not sober anymore. I stare out of the window, the grass slowly turns even more yellow and the rails seem to to be unstoppable in their quest to be covered completely in rust.
Suddenly the men leave, the train starts to move. Slowly.
I fall back in my soft seat and start sleeping immediately.
But not for long, as I wake up the train stops again.
I am in Romania!
Being curious I step out of my compartment and leave the train to look around and take the first breaths of Romanian air.
The station is quiet, the conductor stands outside and smokes a cigarette, an older man sits on a bench staring in the air and watching his grandson jumping around the platform. Some other men sit around a table playing board games.
It is still unbearable hot, so I flee back into the shade of the compartment and before the train departs I fall back to sleep.
I wake up to the monotone sound of old wheels grinding on even older tracks. I can smell the darkness outside which is only brightened by the dim lights of the farmhouses.
It does not take long until the train arrives in Baia Mare, my destination and home city for the next seven months. Still a bit groggy, I grab my backpack and climb out of the train onto the nightly platform, where I get welcomed. Shaking hands, exchanging nice words. I was driven to my future home. I dumped my backpack in the corner of my room and went into the kitchen to meet my flatmates. A lot of people, a lot of names – people I will learn to appreciate in the next days – but for now they are just strangers.
I went to take a shower to wash the exertions of the journey away. Tired but happy I fall into my bed to sleep a long and recovering sleep.
The next day I will meet all the other people, tomorrow begins a new episode of my life.

Bună ziua Baia Mare!

Julius Hirseland