Romania is such a fantastic country for many reasons:
a) Things are even cheaper than Hungary. Yeah for saving money!
b) Beautiful scenery (rolling green hills all over).
c) Mysterious atmosphere. Seriously, though, there’s something so mysterious about Romania.
d) People are very nice.
e) Lots of great second-hand shops (Budapest has a million as well, and I’m excited to do some shopping in the next few weeks).
Pete set up a small guesthouse for us for two nights before we arrived (super convenient). The guesthouse was more like a little cabin. Very cute! There was a little sitting room with a kitchen, TV (great English channels!), and . . . two bears on the wall:
I really didn’t like how those darn bears stared at me while we were hanging out down there. On the way upstairs to our room, we were greeted with a friendly boar smile (check out the hoof-hooks, as well).
One thing I forgot to mention about how wonderful Brasov, Romania, is the fact that they have darling buildings all over the city (along with my favorite European treat–pedestrian streets!). Brasov felt a lot like Ljubljana, Slovenia. There is a perfect square with a fountain in the center and cafes and incredible architecture everywhere you turn.
In Brasov, there is supposedly the narrowest road in Europe. I don’t really know what’s the difference between this road and an alley, but hey, it was a free little tourist experience, right?
We went on several walks around the area and saw some incredible views of the city.
See the “Brasov” Hollywood sign in the background? Funny, right?
We also went to a very tasty restaurant called Sergiana’s, recommended from a guy we met on the train on our way to Brasov.
We also went to the “black church” in Brasov. Very old. It was interesting because there were Turkish rugs hung all over the interior. I’ve never seen that inside a Christian church!
Our original purpose of going to Brasov was because it was near Bran, Romania: home of the Bran Castle (a.k.a. Dracula’s Castle!). Pete and I have both read and loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so it was fantastic to go to the castle that inspired Stoker. Although the man who initially is considered the “true” Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) never lived at this castle, it was still so exciting to go to the castle. I need to go reread the part where the character who visits the castle (name? can’t remember) for the first time. While we were on a very hot bus in the middle of the day, rather than the horse-drawn carriage on a bumpy road in the middle of the night, I still felt the mystery of the Transylvanian countryside. Transylvania (a region of Romania, not a separate country as I’m realizing people think), is a lushly green valley with rolling green hills and snow-capped mountains in the distance. I’m sure I’ve described other areas with this same description, but there’s just something about Transylvania. I can’t put a finger on it. It’s just mysteriously mysterious. That’s all I can say. Anyway, here are our pictures of the castle:
Remember in the story how the narrator described the castle as hanging off the edge of a cliff? Well, there’s that cliff for ya. It’s not as dramatic as I’d expected, but it still is pretty extreme. The castle is at the highest point of the city, but there are hills and mini mountains surrounding the area, as well.
Entrance to the castle:
Pete about to go up the secret staircase.