Romania is famously known as the home of Dracula, Transylvania, and vampires. In reality, Romania has so much more to offer than just a quick visit to Bran’s castle.
We arrived in the capital after a very long day of travelling. We came from Velikio Tarnovo in Bulgaria, and after one bus not existing, to another being full, we were very happy to settle into our airbnb apartment. We were still travelling with Matt and Lucy, the lovely English couple.
First on the agenda was of course, food, followed by a walking tour. The walking tour was fantastic and the lady running it was helpful and more than willing to answer all of our questions. I was really impressed with Bucharest. It’s an active and busy city and the architecture actually blew me away. This also may have been because we weren’t expecting it at all.
From Bucharest we made our way to Brasov on an early morning train. Brasov is known as the gateway to Brans castle, as it is only a short bus ride away. It’s a beautiful little city full of cobblestone alleys and yummy food. We also managed to find a beer festival, but it was busy so we went to the local brewery instead. That was a good choice, as the beer was cheap and the food was yummy.
The next day we jumped on the bus to Brans Castle. To be honest, Odin and I were a little disappointed. It was very busy and although the grounds themselves were stunning, the castle itself wasn’t phenomenal. What was phenomenal though was the delicious cake-like-thing we ate afterwards! It’s like a pastry rolled onto a long thing and baked over a fire, then covered in cinnamon sugar. I just found out it’s called Trdelníc, and it’s Hungarian, so I’m looking forward to eating them again in Hungary. (Update: have been to Hungary, can confirm are still delicious)
From Brasov we said good-bye to Matt and Lucy and Odin and I made our way to Sibiu. We arrived in the evening and the main square was covered in a thick fog, illuminated only by the yellow lights surrounding the square. It was rather magical and romantic. We spent a few days in Sibiu and were again awed by how beautiful this little place was. Romania just kept on surprising us!
After Sibiu came Cluj-Napoca, where we stayed at the crazy Transylvania Hostel. Full of energetic young things, a pub crawl is on every night. We had only been on one, so after going to a delicious dinner at a traditional restaurant with one of the hostel staff, we joined in on the adventures. There’s plenty of cool and interesting bars around Cluj, as it is bustling University town. The following day, not nursing sore heads as we returned home at a sensible hour (the last bar allowed smoking inside…no thanks), Odin and I went on the free walking tour. I really can’t recommend free walking tours enough. It’s a fantastic way to see a city for the first time, and is often hosted by young people either studying or with a keen interest in their city and it’s history. With the right guide, the enthusiasm is contagious.
We weren’t sure where to head after Cluj, but decided to catch a night bus up to Moldova, to visit their capital Chishinau.
Romania really surprised us, with it’s beauty, delicious food and drinks, but also it’s history and inviting and welcoming people. Get yourself to Romania!