A Travellerspoint blog

Romania

Back in Bucharest

2 November 2010

overcast 37 °F

Curt in Bucharest

Curt in Bucharest


Finally not an early morning!!! And finally a run – there hasn’t been one in 4 days so the park a few streets away gives some nice scenery for an hour.
park walkway in Bucharest

park walkway in Bucharest


The dinner our first night was so delicious we can’t wait to get back to Caru’ eu bere. The grub is just as delicious with meatball soup for me and bean and bacon soup for Curt. The chicken and cheese crepes provide the next course followed by crema de zehar and cappuccino’s. All this is about the equivalent of $22. I think Curt will be sad to leave the Romanian food today. The hostel gives us a ride to the airport for 15 euro and before we know it we are bundled up in coats in Germany again.
wood bridge in bucharest

wood bridge in bucharest

Posted by ErinDriver 12:17 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Sighisoara

1 November 2010

sunny 42 °F

Sighisoara

Sighisoara


The bad part of the party came when we had to meet at 0900 for more touring.
Vlad the Impaler's birth place

Vlad the Impaler's birth place


We walked around Sighisoara and saw the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. His father was Vlad Dracul which in Romanian means devil.
Deer building

Deer building


It is a very charming town with a beautiful clock tower. This building was called the Deer building because of the head sticking out the side.
covered walkway[i

covered walkway[i

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The town has a covered staircase for when the snow is bad in the winter and at the top is the school.
school in Sighisoara

school in Sighisoara


It sounded like our party the night before – the school had loudspeakers on the building blasting out American pop music. The kids were all outside smoking cigarettes! It was quite an unusual sight.
Lower Sighisoara

Lower Sighisoara


street of Sighisoara

street of Sighisoara


After passing around upper and lower Sighisoara we were released to shop or have a coffee.
Beer from Halloween party

Beer from Halloween party


Due to last night’s events were went looking for a cappuccino. We found one along with another crazy sighting. At 1000 on Monday morning this coffee/pub was filled to the brim with people smoking and drinking beer. Definitely not expected!!
Old Lady's way

Old Lady's way


This is called Old Lady's way because it is covered and flat, making it easy for older ladies.
guard tower

guard tower


street in Sibiu

street in Sibiu


Sibiu was our next stop and the European Capital of culture in 2007. It looks similar to Nurnberg but has a wall around it like Rhotenberg.
big square

big square


They have a big square and a small square and similar towers to the other places we have been. For the first time on the trip there is time for lunch. Curt is able to get some meat with cabbage rolls and I meet by hunger for pizza. The weather is gorgeous and surprisingly warmer than Germany. The tables outside are in full force and it may be the last time I get to eat outside this year!
ursus beer

ursus beer


By 1600 we are back on the bus and don’t get to Bucharest until 2100. The drives are long but the landscape is so charming. The Carpathian Mountains are beautiful and we pass cows in the road, horses with wagons, cattle eating from hay stacks and tons and tons of stray dogs. The gypsy villages are also pointed out to us.
I get irritated with Go Romania Tours because our paperwork says our endpoint will be our hostel. So we expect to be picked up and driven to the hostel just like the start of the trip. Instead the guide says we can get you to this point and then take a taxi. Luckily the stop is right next to the taxis and we get one for about $1.50. The Romanian Lei exchange is about 4:1. Things here are pretty cheap.

Posted by ErinDriver 12:10 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Halloween Party in Romania!

31 October 2010

sunny 40 °F

Brasov

Brasov


Halloween Day in Romania!!! What do you do to celebrate Halloween after you have been visiting Dracula’s castle?
Brasov fountain

Brasov fountain


Brasov side street

Brasov side street


Brasov sign

Brasov sign


Hollywood sign in Brasov!
First though our guide walks us around Brasov- he tells us the story of the Black Church, black because of soot from a fire.
black church in Brasov

black church in Brasov


But the builder had an apprentice who ended up learning very quickly and became better than the teacher. The instructor didn’t like it so once the roof was complete he pushed the boy off to his death. He later confessed and was hung but the people put a statue of the little boy on the top in remembrance.
symbol of Romania

symbol of Romania


We saw the coat of arms for Brasov which is a crown for royalty and oak roots which mean stability.
Skinniest street in Europe

Skinniest street in Europe


We also got to walk down the skinniest street in Europe called Rope Street.
Pele's castle

Pele's castle


Next on the agenda is a bus ride to Sinaia and Pele’s Castle. This castle was a summer residence for the kings of Romania and a mountain resort.
View from Pele's Castle

View from Pele's Castle


Pele's castle vines

Pele's castle vines


Unfortunately every tour group seems to be on the same itinerary so we get stuffed into a group with lots of pushy Italians. We have to put on special booties to walk through the castle. It is very ornate and actually filled with lots of things to look at. There are mirrors in Moreno glass and wood carved furniture. Inside the weapons room we see a German sword that was used to behead people. Supposedly if you were killed with this sword you would go to heaven. The peasants were usually hung.
Bran castle[i

Bran castle[i

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By this time we are once again way behind schedule so we drive to Bran Castle – the whole purpose of the trip and get hustled through the castle. There isn’t really a place to get a good shot from a distance which is unfortunate.
Bran Castle on the walk up

Bran Castle on the walk up


The knocker to Dracula's castle

The knocker to Dracula's castle


Dracula's library

Dracula's library


Bran Castle spire

Bran Castle spire


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Somehow the same Italian tour group is with us, pushing us through the castle. Our tour guide does a good job of trying to keep our group together. But honestly the other castle was better. This castle is famous because it guards the entrance to the Bran pass, once the main route into Wallachia. It is called Dracula’s castle but has little association with him. It is said that Vlad the Impaler seized it in 1460 on and attack of the land of Bran. Queen Marie of Romania has lived in the castle but not Dracula. As opposed to Pele’s castle there is not a lot of substance. After hustling through the castle we are set loose for 30 minutes to try and find some food below the castle. By now that is what every other tourist is doing so most of the places had no food left. We ended with bread and meat from a shoppette.
Back to the bus for another excrutiating drive for many hours to Sighisoara. This is called the Pearl of Transylvania and the old medieval city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We are dropped at the Sighisoara hotel to get ready for the Halloween party.
Curt and 50's girl

Curt and 50's girl


I have not had so much fun in a long time. The party was in the basement with costumes, dry ice making smoke and tons of decorations. We first got what everyone was calling grappa in tiny little cups. Then when we sat down had a plate of appetizers like hard boiled eggs, cold cuts and vegetables. Each couple also had a bottle of wine which I’m sure led to the good time everyone had. They had a couple of shows outside – one had hot wine and the other which was Dracula’s wedding had champagne. I got to be part of the wedding :(
me with Dracula

me with Dracula


Everyone was dancing the entire night – at 0300 the party was still going. I think we were finally served the main course at 0100 and at 0200 the dessert. I think it wins as the longest dinner I have ever eaten.
Dracula

Dracula


The music was decent. They seemed to find songs people liked and played them several times – we heard thriller and love shack at least 3 times.
pirates at the halloween party

pirates at the halloween party


The costumes were great – from pirates, Rainbow bright, Waldo, hillbillies and of course, Vlad the Impaler.
Curt as Harry Potter

Curt as Harry Potter


I was a 50’s girl in a poodle skirt and Curt was Harry Potter. In the end hands down one of the best parties I have been to.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:46 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Poienari's Castle

30 October 2010

sunny 42 °F

Little did we know that the hard boiled eggs and bread we had at the hostel for breakfast would be virtually the only food we got for the day. The tour company, Go Romania Tours, sent a driver to pick us up and take us to another hotel to meet the group. We went on a hair-raising journey across Bucharest, driving on tram tracks more often than the road.
As is custom on tours with a bunch of people we set off about an hour late after waiting for other tourists at two different locations. Most of the day is spent on the bus and the first thing we see is a little pig crossing the road. This set the stage for all the cattle in the road and horses with buggies we would see during the day.
DSC02948

DSC02948


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DSC02953


We drove to Curtea De Arges but this also took longer than expected due to a traffic jam. This is in the region of Wallachia and here we see a beautiful monastery made of Romanian marble.
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DSC02968


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DSC02958


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DSC02979


This is a recreation of the original built in 1512-1517. After about 30 minutes here it is back on the bus. Around this time I had an experience I have never seen before – our tour bus was pulled over. The driver had to get out and talk to the Police but we were never able to figure out why.
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DSC03028


We drive again to Poienari Castle which is said to have some real association with Dracula and Vlad the Impaler.
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DSC02992


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DSC03026


To get to the top you must climb 1400 steps and it’s a doozy. There are stray dogs littered all over just like the rest of Romania. It is quite sad for me. One kind of bites at our leg, I think to get our attention to say he is hungry.
DSC02996

DSC02996


This castle has only 1/3 of it left, the rest crumbled down into the beautiful Carpathian mountainside. The citadel is small at the top but we find plenty of opportunity for photos.
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DSC02999


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DSC03012


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DSC03019


According to legion Dracula’s wife flung herself out the window of the castle, declaring this a better way to go than be captured by the Turks that were besieging the castle. Supposedly Vlad escaped over the mountains on horseback.
DSC03030

DSC03030


This girl was at the bottom of the mountain trying to sell alcohol and pretzels.
We were to eat lunch at the bottom of the mountain but due to our late start, traffic jam and waiting for out of shape people to climb 1400 stairs there was no time. Instead we had a soda and chips from a gas station before driving 4 more hours to Brasov.
The countryside of Romania is quite beautiful especially in the Carpathian Mountains. There a hay stacks all around and almost everyone you see is doing hard labor. The cows are in the road and the dogs are scattered in packs everywhere.
DSC03037

DSC03037


In Brasov we are an hour late for the traditional Romanian dinner at a place called Crama. It is supposedly a very old building that makes wine. We get to sample 3 kinds with dinner, have a plate of appetizers, then cabbage rolls filled with meat and rice, port chops and a donut for dessert. Since we were so late the dancing goes on while we eat.
DSC03042

DSC03042


The costumes are neat and the music is all up beat.
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DSC03061[i

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The men do a lot of yelling along with dancing. This is beneficial in trying to stay awake when I’m eating dinner at 2300 at night.
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DSC03067


Finally we leave and drag our bags to the Wagner Hotel. It has been a very long day but Romania is a very unique and interesting country.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:12 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Bucharest, Romania

29 October 2010

sunny 50 °F

Bucharest building

Bucharest building


The flight to Romania was on a tiny plane with propellers that had a stopover between Munich and Bucharest in Sibiu. When we stopped there we did not even know what country we were in and if we were to get off the plane. As it turned out they shut off the plane, had a few people get out and about 10 people stayed on the plane and flew the extra 50 minutes to Bucharest. I did find out that Sibiu is in northern Romania.
The Butterfly hostel picked us up at the airport for 15 euro so the ride to our lodging was pretty painless. Bucharest has its own arch de Triumph and Champs-Elysees that looks just like its model in Paris. It is also rumored to have the largest building in the world, The Building of the People which was a laugh when it was under communist rule.
River in Bucharest

River in Bucharest


Bucharest is still getting back on its feet and growing. Our driver and the owner of the hostel said cars are a status symbol and lately they have had a boom. However the streets aren’t large enough for all the parking and the city doesn’t seem to be doing anything to improve things. There also seems to be much graffiti all over the city and an inordinate number of stray dogs.
carv eu bere restaurant

carv eu bere restaurant


Our hostel is friendly and clean with good recommendations for dinner. We try to go to Dracula’s Pub for a drink but it is reserved for the night (it is Friday night before Halloween). We go on to the restaurant which is a beer hall called Caru’ eu bere.
carv eu bere sign

carv eu bere sign


It is a rare find in the atmosphere and the food are amazing. It was recommended as a traditional Romanian location and we snagged the last table for two of the night without a reservation. The Caru’eu bere beer was tasty and our appetizer was the best we have had in a while. IT was crepes rolled up with chicken, peppers and cheese! Delicious. Next we shared bean and bacon soup in a bread bowl. The main course (I am already full) was a meat plate with chicken, pork chops, kasekrainer (YES) sausage and potatoes.
romanian food

romanian food


The only disappointment was the pommes with cheese that were cold. As if all that wasn’t enough we had profiterole. We had a long and confusing walk back to the hostel but our tummies were happy.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:06 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

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