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  • Writer's pictureMonica Tudor

Visit Romania - part 2

How did this happen? I forgot to write the Visit romania part 2. What a holiday that was!

Let's try to write it in the same style as the previous blog.


Why am I writing this?


Errr.. yes, because actually I dragged my friends to Romania and I showed them some beautiful sites. I have so much to tell you.


Places visited with my friends on their first trip: Bucharest, Sibiu, Balea Lac and Sighisoara


Wait, what?! Did you add another place to the list?

Yes, I did.

There is a story related to why we visited Sighisoara: when we arrived at Balea Lac, it was snowing. When we woke up, the car was under half of metre of snow. After playing with the snow whilst clearing the car, we realised that we don't have what else to do there since we were dressed for late autumn, so we checked out and after a bit of research, we booked a night in Sighisoara and we drove there in some really poor driving conditions.



Length of holiday: 9 days including flights


We took a flight on a Saturday and came back the following week on Sunday.


Cost


In my previous post, the estimate was around £400 for flights, accommodation and other transport.

The flights were a bit more expensive, especially when you add priority bording just to take a trolly on the plane with you!

Also, we couldn't get the bus from Sibiu to Balea Lac and back so we ended up hiring a car in Sibiu. I would say the total cost was closer to £500, so still very good for 9 days.


Journey


Everything started on Saturday morning, with a flight from Heathrow airport in the afternoon.


Bucharest


What can I say, we really had the perfect weather with 28 degrees C and blue sky.

Being The Bucharest Days, a very long boulevard in Bucharest was closed to traffic, so we enjoyed a few walked and ticked off a few touristic attractions.


The Opera


What a beautiful building! I am Romanian, but I've never been inside until that day. Cost for the visit inside: £1. Pretty cool right?




Palace of Parliament



We didn't go inside because it was closed for visiting for a few weeks, but we went on the outside of it. It's a pretty impressive building.

We just walked there from Calea Victoriei via Piata Universitatii and Piata Unirii. The crazy dead straight boulevard leading to this Palace of Parliament has fountains all the way, so it's a very pleasant sight.

A lovely park is around and the famous Romanian prezzel shops were everywhere. I recommend the Nutella filled ones (£0.8) from Luca. Yummy!





The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant


From icecream to a lovely walk around the very old houses phisically moved there from many parts of Romania, this museum was not dissapointing at all.

I suggest to go there only if the sun is shinning since most of it is outside.

The entry price probably stretched to £2.





The Triumphal Arch


From the museum, we hired electric scooters and headed towards the Triumphal Arch.

Bucharest is called Little Paris and now you can see why. We have an Arch (smaller than theirs), we have river Dambovita which crosses Bucharest (smaller than theirs) and we have many old buildings in danger of falling at the next earthquake (yes, we have eathquakes).





The Old City (the night live)


As mentioned in my previous blog, if you find yourself in Bucharest, you must go into the City at night since it transforms.

Of course, we didn't miss this opportunity! We had a great night enjoying the music, the Romanian beer and a no-nicotine, all fruit shisha which was super fun (we did read later that even without nicotine, they are still not good for you. Oh well, YOLO!).






Therme Spa Bucharest


I said it will be spectacular and I didn't dissapoint!

We had drinks in the pool, sitting at the bar with seats under water, jacuzzi, lots of saunas and a Baravian Sauna experience in 100 degrees C from which Caroline bailed out after 2 minutes.

Apparently people fly to Bucharest just for a spa day and then they fligh back. A bit crazy!






Herastrau Park (renamed to King Mihai I Park)


If you like running, a loop of the lake is 7k. It's flat and very pretty.







Sibiu



We arrived in Sibiu by train and then we had a short walk to our accommodation which was in the heart of Sibiu in Piata Mare.


A few facts lifted from the internet: "Founded in 12th century by the Saxons who came in Transylvania, Sibiu or Hermannstadt by its German name, was the largest of the seven Saxons citadels. There are some superlatives related to this place, such as: the world’s first homeopathic laboratory (opened in 1797 by Samuel von Hahnemann), first hospital on the Romanian territory (attested in 1292), the first pharmacy from Romania (attested in 1494), the oldest museum in Romania (Bruckenthal, opened in 1817), Sibiu’s first theatrical performance staged in the Great Tower in 1778 and not least the first book written in Romanian language in 1544."


It's a very impressive city. We went inside one of the towers, visited the Brukenthal Palace, have some traditional food and traditional beer and then we went to sleep thinking that we don't have enough warm clothes for the adventure which awaits us in Balea Lac.







Balea Lac


Driving from Sibiu to Balea Lac via Transfagarasani road takes your breath away. It's stunning!


"We were wrong, this is better than the Stelvio, this is the best road in the world!" Jeremy Clarkson - Top Gear


This road is not for the faint hearted and can be quite intimidating to drive in places.

At some point, we spotted a small red object hanging in midair. We soon realised that this was a cable car. At that height it is not a ride for those suffering with vertigo!

We didn't take the cable car because it was not working and because we were driving. It would have dropped us exactly at Balea Lac.


We got in Balea Lac early afternoon and we realised that we might be snowed in over night and we might not be able to leave anywhere for a few days. Well, we took a chance!


The food was great but definately nothing vegan on the menu.

Polenta with cheese was the only vegetarian dish which didn't agree much with Michelle, but she didn't have another choice. There are no restaurants around. We were basically isolated, on the top of a montain.

The wine was not chilled, but luckily, the stuff was able to put it in the snow outside for a few minutes and done, great service!


In the morning, after snowing all night, we were stuck! We heard that a snowplow is due to arrive around 11AM. We had our bags packed, we scooped off the snow from the car and waited patiently to escape this place. As I said, we were not prepared for winter in September. Our trainers were not waterproof nor warm.


Around 1pm we were saved. The hero snowplow arrived and the road was sort of drivable now. Please watch the video and you will understand the conditions of our escape.






The video:





Sighisoara



Last (impromptu) stop on the agenda was Sighisoara, a UNESCO Heritage Site, home of Dracula.

That's right, Dracula was born here and we visited his house. It's a very cosy town. Everything is so pretty. We would definately go back there if time wouldn't be an issue.







Conclusion


Did we enjoy this trip to Romania? Yes! Big yes!

Spending time with friends and creating memories is the key to a happy life!


Where next?

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