Christmas in Romania – part 4: Mocanita Steam Train
Mocanita from Viseu de Sus is the most famous narrow gauge train using a steam engine in Romania and the only one in Europe still in use. Mocanita Steam Train is also the only way to access Vaser Valley, a mountainous area, with century old forests, mostly untamed due to a complete lack of transport infrastructure and human settlements.
Our trip started with our “conductor,” a young lady dressed in the official uniform joining us in the cabin and checking our tickets. After we all proved we were legit, she offered us shots of “horinca” (Romanian hard liquor) and toasted us to a great trip! The drink helped warm us up but it certainly didn’t compete with the wood-burning stove we had in our cabin. The trip was slow and peaceful. We made a couple of short stops before taking a break for food at a rest area. Of course, there was a lot of food, mainly meat. You could either purchase the trip tickets to include the meal or you could buy the food on the spot. There were fire pits available to warm us up, since the weather was fairly cold. There were carolers singing traditional songs around the fire and there was plenty of space for the kids to run around. The place also housed a small museum, where one could learn more about the history of the railway and the area. The trip back was long, without stops. All in all, I would recommend the trip during fall or summer when the weather makes for a better scenery and picnic break.