We started our Romanian adventure in Timaȿoara. We stayed for three nights here. Most people only spend one, so it's easy to see everything you need to see in Timasoara in a day. BUT we needed a day of rest (I had to do some CEUs and license stuff) and the wifi at our hostel was lightning fast and we were out of the Schengen area, so we cooled our jets a little. We stayed on the main square in an apartment that had been transformed into a hostel. The first day we walked to the main park and through the other main plaza. This square was under construction so unfortunately was not very picturesque. We were incredibly tired from our early start and long train from Budapest, and so after our few stops around town we kept ourselves occupied until it was a decent hour to go to sleep.
The center of town
The following day we went to the local museum, the Muzeul de Arta, which was sadly a disappointment, and then walked through one of the old neighborhoods to the regional brewhouse, Timaȿoareana. We had lunch, and then walked along the river to the most attractive site in the city, the Eastern Orthodox church.
Interesting street art
And the last day, I went for a run and went to lunch and besides that I was taking a class, writing and maybe watching some Netflix.
Sibiu was the next city on our Romanian adventure. Sibiu is a quaint, charming city. The main tourist area is the old city center, on top of a hill where there are restaurants overlooking two main squares, an art museum, and a couple different churches. While in Sibiu we also visited an outdoor folk museum which had an extensive collection of mills, and took a dip in the famous Romanian (not Roman) baths. According to the Romania tourism website, Romania is “home to more than one third of Europe’s mineral and thermal springs.” The baths we visited are abandoned and flooded salt mines, so they have a very high salt content which promotes floating. Jared was excited since he is ‘buoyancy challenged.’ He was finally able to experience floating! We spent about two hours there, which is probably all you need, and then hopped on the train back to Sibiu.
Little cafés and shops lined the stairs going down from Old Town
On the street coming up to Old Town
Windmills for days...
At the Romanian baths
This is a unique church near where we were staying that was supposedly designed after Hagia Sofia
Leaving Sibiu, we took the train to Braȿov, the de facto cultural capital of Transylvania, and therefore commonly associated with 'Dracula.' The nearby Bran Castle was never home to Vlad the Impale (the inspiration for the Dracula character), he only supposedly passed through there a few times, but nonetheless the castle served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker's famous vampire. The castle was incredibly busy, but had an interesting layout and provided some photo opportunities. We managed to catch an afternoon bus to Bran on the day we arrived, so we had two full days for other diversions in and around Braȿov. In Braȿov proper, we visited the Black Church (named because of discoloration after a fire), the world’s narrowest street, and the old city walls. Also, during our daily discussion of where to go for lunch, a child in a small motorized car ran into me. I almost fell on top of him and I think he was as surprised as I was. There were no injuries and no formal report was filed. I have a feeling his dad revoked his license, though.
Looking up at Bran Castle
The city just seemed tucked in between the small mountains
In front of the Brasov city sign- post accident- as you can see I was unharmed
Prejmer is one of the many fortified churches in Romania. Frequently, fortifications (walls) were built around existing churches. These forts were just large enough for the entire village to live within during invasions. This was something unique that we had not encountered anywhere else, and it was very interesting to see and to imagine what life would have been like when the whole village was inside. Cramped, dark rooms lined the walls of the fortification, connected to each other by a maze of stairs.
The church steeple peeking out over the walls
The passageways were narrow
The path between the exterior and the interior rooms allowed the citizens to use weapons to protect
In our day in Bucharest, we went on a 4 hour free walking tour which covered most of the highlights. Unfortunately, many of the historical buildings were destroyed during the communist reign during the 20th century. The tour also gave heaps of information about Romania’s history. I was quite ignorant of the political and social past of the country, so it was interesting to get some insight into the culture. Somehow we didn't take many pictures.
This is now an indoor mall/café area but it used to be two streets!
A Romanian Papanasi- it was creamy and delicious!
We left Bucarest bright and early in the morning to fly to Turkey!