Rahova to Prague

This post should be about Rammstein – the cause, and Prague – the effect. I do believe that my life is based on this very simple principle. I visited many European cities because of them. I traveled and spend quite a lot of money just from seeing them. But one passion, lets to another. And faith made the year of 1997 to be the year when I found the 2 passions that would change my life.

Winter of 2004 – Rammstein were touring in Europe once again. Wanted to see them back in 2002-2003 and the closest and the cheapest cities were Milan or Ljubljana. Unfortunately, in 2003 low cost airlines were not invented in Romania. And I was a student. And we all know how the student life is — moneyless. But I knew that they would have a tour again and started to study hard and managed to obtain a monthly scholarship — $50 a month back then. Not much, but I managed to put aside a penny after penny.

And then the news came – Rammstein Reise Reise Tour 2004 was announced! Unfortunately,Romania was not on the map and had to choose the closest city. The closest, the cheaper. Luckily my aunt had been to Prague and got friend-ad with a local. She bought me the tickets and I started with my own the first travel arrangements.

Do you remember your first trip abroad? I surely do mine. I as was saying flying was damn expensive, even for a scholarship student. So the only option was by bus. Round trip Bucharest-Prague in 2004 was $90 if correctly remember. Next was accommodation. Online and Interned were not strange to me, but I was afraid not being scammed.

I would pay a lot to see again what the hell I typed on Google, what were my keywords I was searching for accommodation on Prague: cheap hotels, hotels close to Rammstein? Don’t know but what I know was that I landed on hostelworld.com and after a close and attend a reading of the reviews I decided to book – travelers hostel Prague – my first ever hostel. And many more would come..

Everything was booked — concert tickets, bus ticket and the hostel. One extra thing was need — extra-money. I had the money for the trip — managed to put aside ~ 350 euro-but in 2004 Romania was in the UE. Fortunately, Visa from Czech Republic was not required and It was a Visa on arrival. But in order to cross the boarded, we obliged to have 500 euro extra to show it to the border man. I did not have rich friends or relatives and the only solution my father come to it was to lend money for an exchange location. Now, beside the first time traveling far I had another one — not getting robbed.

And finally the day has arrived — it was a gray winter day. The snow was too shy to arrive in Bucharest, but the fog was not. Arrived and the departure place – Rahova Bus Station – a dirty and quite dubious place even then. Putted my luggage on the bus and stayed with an eye on it until the bus begin to start the journey. I was on off to Prague. I started to feel a little better and tried to pull out of mine had the black tights; a long way was to be. Around 30h by bus. Half of it only in Romania. Big country – bad round a no highway. Things haven’t changed too much in 10 years. Still no highway on the road to Prague.

Half way done – time for passport checked and the cross boarder money checking. Imagine 5 buses – Imagine only one border man. Don’t imagine the time needed. Hours…. After small problems we were on the round again. Passed near Budapest by night and I was really impressed how the city looked from a distance; said to myself that it should be the next destination. I am always thinking of my next destination while I am traveling.

Next the Hungarian-Austrian cross-border. We all had to get out of the bus and I was damn cold. Had to wait in line as in the Nazi camps for our passport to be stamped. And there were not in a hurry at all. 1 hour in the cold and back on the bus. Not for long as we stopped at a gas station – the WC in the bus was not working and the stops were quite often. Why I remember this stop – they had Ritter chocolate – I was a fun of it and there were quite expensive in Romania. Actually, everything was and still is compared to the wages.

I forgot to mention one thing – the person I was next to. I don’t know why, but I always get to talk about the trips. Don’t remember the name but I do remember she was going to study literature – she was already I studied in Brno. Luckily she gave me precious information about what to visit in Prague.

And here we are – after 30 h – Florenc Bus Station Prague – and the Prague story and how I fell in love with the city, beer and the Australian accent is to come. NEXT.

Of course now the price for a flight to Prague is affordable; 150$ from a round trip from Bucharest to Prague is quite a nice deal; but if I would have to choose from the comfort of the flight and the above experience, I would always choose the experience.

by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.