Steampunk Diaries – August 14th, 1878
Grigor and I proceed today back to Klausenburg to attempt a train. Only one train was scheduled, but unfortunately for our purposes, a private hire. The station master promised to see what he could do, and presently I was to meet one Geroges Nagelmackers, President of Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. The train was his hire, and and being used to explore routes for a new venture in mind. Monsieur Nagelmackers conceded to mine, and my servants, presence in an empty coach on the condition that we join him for dinner and a few hands of twist afterwards.
I readily agreed to his condition even though it would take me many miles out of my way. As the next major stop was to be Bucharest and then Varna, I felt no doubt in being able to find transportation back to Europe from either city. Or if circumstances demanded, crossing the Black see to the great Turkish city of Istanbul.
Several other guests were present, company investors and their wives. Grigor managed to find himself company in the baggage car along with my encumbrances. I believe the poor boy felt ill at ease occupying the first class car, but no doubt the eyes of Mademoiselle Fortier’s maid helped console him in some small way. For my part, I found the company wonderful, food exquisite, and scenery beyond description despite the war damage evident.
We arrived after several days travel into Bucarest, making quite excellent time. As this had been my first visit to the great city, Grigor escorted me to Dealul Spirii, where he spent an hour worshipping at the Spirea Veche built by doctor Spiridon Kristofi just over a century ago. The city is still littered with the debris of war and human suffering. While the city never came under direct attack, sympathizers managed to cause some damage. In addition some buildings had been altered or removed to make way for ammunition carts and their carriages.
Finding that the tracks west were still damaged (a fact I later imparted to Geroges,) and no ships from Europe were scheduled for at least three fortnights, I resolved to travel along with the shareholders of des Wagons-Lits to Varda and perhaps onto Istanbul itself.