Sorry for the lack of updates during the weekend, I was quite busy (working both days and in Algonquin Park in between).
July 22nd was quite a big day for us. We had to get up very early in Bucharest, around 5am. Our train was leaving around 7, and we had to get ready, get across town, and grab some breakfast before we were off to our next destination. This morning I was able to fulfill the request of a friend of mine, Brent, and eat McDonald’s in a foreign city. Desi and I both enjoyed some burgers in the Bucharest train station:
The burgers were alright, but they definitely did not taste the same way they do back home. The beef tasted different, as if it had less flavour. Anyhow, we finished our breakfast and caught our three-hour train north. On this train we talked with some fellow passengers who were kind enough to teach us some Romanian words and grammar. Also, the scenery was simply wonderful:
When we arrived in Brashov, we ran into a taxi driver who was willing to take us directly to our hostel for 10 Lei (about 2 Euro). We accepted the offer, and on the way there he asked us if we needed to see anything around town. He offered to take us to two castles (one which we were planning on going to) for 30 Euro, which also seemed like a great deal – and it was. After we checked in and dropped off our backpacks, and headed back down to the taxi. We drove for about a half an hour out of town to our first destination, Bran Castle:
Bran Castle is famous for the Dracula myth and legend, so it was on our list of places to see on our adventure. The castle itself was quite small and simple, though some areas within were quite nicely decorated:
There are many great photos from that castle in the gallery below, and we enjoyed our visit. It was set up in such a way that you walked a certain roped-off path at your own pace that took you through the majority of the castle. When we finished our tour, we visited the gift shop and bought some post cards to send home as well as a bottle of red wine as a souvenir. In retrospect, the wine was a bad idea simply because now I had to carry it across Europe and back, but it survived no problem (and so did my back). Our taxi driver waited for over an hour for us to return to the base of the castle, and took us to our next destination, Rashnov Castle:
Rashnov Castle required a much steeper climb than Bran Castle. It took a lot out of us to make the climb, and we stopped at the top to recover for a few moments. The view from the castle was simply astounding, however:
The castle’s courtyard was not restored or kept completely tidy, and this added a level of authenticity that other areas of our travels had been lacking. Here’s a view that really shows this from the castle’s interior:
After our visit through Rashnov castle we headed back down the same way we came up, but this time I took notice to the variety of wildflowers that were growing on the tree-covered hillside. Here’s a gallery of some of what we found:
When we arrived back in Brashov, we decided to use the time we had left in the day (it was late afternoon by this point) to see as much in the city as possible, as well as reserve our train for our travels on the following day. Walking the streets of Brashov was fun, and the buildings were really interesting to look at. Here’s a typical view of a pedestrian street in Brashov:
We also visited the Black Church which was quite elaborate and very beautiful. Sadly, there were no-photography signs everywhere and the church was fairly packed so I didn’t have the chance to sneak a photo. There are many other cathedral photos from later in our adventure, however. I did take some nice photos of it from the outside, and here’s one with a black and white treatment at night:
Our adventures in Transylvania were amazing, and very tiring. We had done so much with so little sleep but I know that we’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Memories to last a lifetime!
Edit: During our evening in Brashov, we walked to the city’s outer wall and back. On this walk, we sat on a park bench and enjoyed live opera music coming from a nearby amphitheatre. The walk was one of the most romantic moments on our trip, the fading sunset and beautiful music set such a wonderful mood. I had taken a short video with my camera, which you can take a peak at here: