A Short Break to Medieval Romania
25 Feb 2020
Travel Journal by Charlotte Nelson
I have always wanted to visit Romania, my mum used tell us stories as children that in Romania you could hear the Wolves crying in the Forest, that most people used Horse and Cart to get around and it was ‘the last truly medieval Landscape in Europe’.
We flew from Luton with Wizz Air, as the flights are extremely competitively priced. We flew to Bucharest and then caught a bus to the train station. From there, we caught a train from Bucharest to Brasov - a wonderfully well-preserved medieval and baroque old town. The train journey took around 3 hours. We were lucky to get on the train as they do not have many services to Brasov and the train was quite full. I would recommend booking in advance next time. Although the journey is long, we took a bottle of wine and a good book and enjoyed the great scenery on an adventure across Romania, through the Carpathian mountains and into Transylvania. The train isn’t as comfortable as our services in the UK. The toilets were undesirable and dirty but overall the ride was comfortable enough.
We arrived in Brasov and took a taxi to our hotel. In hindsight we could have walked but we were tired and weren’t sure of our location. Romania is such amazing value for money. Our taxi was around £3 and the train was around £11.
We checked in to our hotel right in the centre of town, the hotel was called Safrano Palace, a perfect location right in the square, lots of wonderful eateries on our doorstep. It was snowing and magical. You can't miss Brasov's most prominent landmark, the 'Black Church', so called after being charred in a great fire in 1689. Travel back in time at the First Romanian School Museum or visit many of the buzzing cafes and enjoy music in the square.
The next day we took a taxi and hired him for the day to make our way to discover the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and delve into the legend of Dracula at Bran Castle. A real fairytale landscape, quite spooky in places but overall impressive. On the way back to Brasov we visited the bear sanctuary and explored the excellent work the locals have done to protect, save and look after the bears, most of which had previously come from the circus. We visited colourful towns and fortified churches poke through the treetops.
That evening we chose to eat a traditional Romania meal at a top local restaurant, we had stuffed cabbage rolls and Romanian meatballs. It came with a big bowl of crusty bread and butter. It was delicious and at around £7 per person you can’t complain! We then headed to a local bar to sample the beer.
Our next day we walked around Brasov, we went in the cable car up the mountains. The views were incredible. Once at the top we were warned of bears, lynx and snakes. There was even a bear print on the hut of a BBQ door! They were licking the grease from the meat remains. The locals had told us they came out in the morning to a mother and her cubs sat on the verandah soaking up the morning sun. Bearing in mind it was the middle of winter and snowing when normally they would be hibernating! After this we went through Strada Sforii (the narrowest street in Europe) and did some shopping in the many shops and markets.
I could talk all day about my experience in Romania, the locals are warm and friendly, it is excellent value for money and not particularly touristy. I absolutely loved it, and would highly encourage you to take your own adventure to Romania.