I’m sitting at the railway station got a ticket for my destination…a little nod to Simon and Garfunkel there.
Today I leave Romania. It’s been a very enjoyable and interesting trip and I’m glad I did it. The travelling is something to be reckoned with though. I’m at the station waiting for the train to bring me to Bucharest station. From there I’ll get the train followed by a shuttle bus to the airport. I’m not going to do the bus trip this time. I have plenty of time so I can relax…a bit.
So what did I think? I really liked Brasov, it’s a pretty city and it’s cheap to stay, eat and get around here.
It’s a bit of a trek to get to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle). The roads are rough and at the moment there are a lot of roadworks so it took roughly 40 minutes to get there.
The castle is well worth a visit but I’m glad I did it out of season. It’s 40 lei to get in (under €10) and for the torture rooms it’s an extra 10 lei…this place freaked me out. It was like stepping into a fridge, I was the only one in there and when a floorboard creaked I jumped the height of myself! My favourite part was the time tunnel – a multimedia lift and tunnel…like the Wonkavator but Dracula style! Again it’s an extra cost at 20 lei – but worth it.
The Saxon Fortress is on the way from the castle to Brasov. It’s 12 lei admission and 5 lei for a tractor train to bring you up to the fortess. At the same location there’s a Dinosaur Park which sounds interesting. The fortress is full of little shops lining dusty lanes. There are musicians and loads of cats.
The views are spectacular, you can see the city and the mountains. This whole area is very popular with hikers and in the winter skiers.
From my hotel I could see the Tampa mountain – complete with Brasov sign (think Hollywood!) So I went up to top and stood behind the sign.
There’s a cable car to bring you up or you can walk. The cable car is 10 lei one way, again the views are stunning. I walked back down hoping to see some of the bears or foxes mentioned on the signs – no luck but I did see a couple of squirrels. It’s a stunning walk especially at this time of year with the leaves changing colour. It’s quick dangerous in places though with slippery rocks and very uneven ground and this was in the dry weather.
I didn’t do much shopping but I strolled around the old town. I also went into a big department store that contains outlets including a Sephora. There were a lot of security guards there and I don’t mean like the Sligo Penneys guy who pretends to be a shopper but every knows he’s not. These guys are in uniform with batons!
That was one thing that almost put me off coming. When you Google Romania you see a lot of mention of thieves so I didn’t bring my camera with me just in case, of course now I’m kicking myself, but in another way it was nice to actually look around and experience the place in real life and not through a lens.
The people are friendly, most of them speak English and as I said before it’s fairly cheap. I loved the place I stayed it apart from the constant cigarette smoke smell in my room. The room was clean though and there were some English TV channels. The breakfast was excellent and was complimentary. Lots of choice including salads, eggs, hot dogs, ham, breads, yogurts, cereal and cake.
You’d need to be quite physically fit to get around the castle, fortress and mountain. There are a lot of steps in the castle and the rest are steep walks.
So that’s Romania in a nutshell. Very enjoyable and I would recommend it.