Slow Road to Crete: Based in Brasov


A Long Driving Day


Rather than erect the 2 tents after a long driving day and break the journey, we decided to do a loooong driving day and get to our AirBnb in Brasov, Romania.  830km but 3 drivers.  we struck camp and set off10 mins ahead of schedule at 8.50 a.m, despite my having to completely repack the roof box so we could close it.  I’d done the Hungarian and Romanian road tolls online last night.  We stopped about 3.00 desperate to use the toilet, so had soup or omelette.  No Romanian Leis yet, but fortunately could pay the EUR11 for 3 dishes and 3 drinks on a card.  Going to like these prices!  Or so I thought, they were never to be matched until Bulgaria.  Roads pretty slow through Romania as no motorway … a very limited transport infrastructure.  

Tired and in the dark we struggled to find our apartment … I expertly navigated us to the bins … it was on a map the host had sent!  Thankfully it was ground floor for all the unloading.  And we pretty much unloaded everything, thankfully a large hall with cupboards to stash it all.  We even managed to dry out the tents over the next few days … the smaller we erected in the lounge, where K slept.  The big one went over a washing line I strung up outside.

Flat was fab … bath and shower.  Comfy bed.  Coffee machine.  And …. a washer / dryer.  And all for £40 per night.  we’ve been paying EUR30-35 for the 3 of us … so a no brainer really.

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Tent drying, but kept CO2 out!

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Dirty laundry is comfy!

A Slow Day


J and I got up rather late … not sure what time K was up.  But she’d managed to have a cold shower (tap round the wrong way … must be perfect plumbing in Germany) … I had a long soak in a hot bath! 

We set off around the mountain to Brasov.  Actually more like up and over the base of the mountain next to us.  Must be a mountain and not a hill as it had beware of the bear signs and a cable car.  First stop was an ATM.  I took out 1500ROM … seems like such a lot, but roughly 5ROM to £1. So many notes … there is even a note for I ROM.  Then lunch … despite moving away from the main square, the soup was double the price of the roadside country caf of yesterday.  Not for the first time have locals told us they cannot afford to eat where the tourists do.

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View of Brasov from our FLAT (LOL) walk around the mountain. 

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In holiday mode, so a mojito.

We wandered the old town.  5th largest in Romania.  Lots of history.  Attractive, but didn’t wow us.  Perhaps we are a bit architectured out.  German is widely spoken here. Saxons were brought in to run the area.  

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The so called Black Church as it had been burnt at some point, hence the name.  Some lovely Ottoman carpets too … saw others in another church.

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They adopted Lutheran teachings and changed the Black Church layout to reflect.  Services are still held in German.

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Kerstin translated some of the German sayings … such as when your’e older you can look back with wisdom.

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The narrowest street was a disappointment … more like a London underpass … graffiti and urine!  Actually none of the latter, but ugly.  Graffiti allowed … but this ain’t art.  Bristol has a graffiti festival where art is created.  They missed a trick here.  

School went back today.  The youngsters looked smart in blazers as they queued calmly for cones of chips.  Only a few in MacDonalds.  And no litter, they put their rubbish in bins.  As if!!!!  We read that they take flowers in for their teachers at the start of term … we saw a number of high school children with bunches.  Can’t see that ever happening in city centre Bristol where I taught! 

Chance encounters often give a really warm feeling.  I spoke to a lady briefly by the wine.  Then she was by the beer.  Romanian, but lived and taught in Leeds for 30 odd years. She taught French and after years of reluctant learners moved from secondary to higher education.  


Not All-Bran


As we arrived in Bran, it tipped down … coffee and local honey cake (Yum).  We took turns to go into Bran Castle.  I walked CO2 round the other side of the castle and saw the old customs house, Bran chapel, the first hydro power station in Romania … the Queen had had it put in and it benefitted the whole village.  The castle did have some info boards on Dracula … Bram Stoker based his book on Bran Castle.  But what was particularly interesting was the information about the post 1900 royal family.  Queen Marie did it up around1910 and it had a homely feel … none of the room were large.  Her daughter Ilena lived here until 1945 when the royals were banished.  Both queens were skilled and talented.  Marie successfully negotiated a unified Romania after WW1 in 1925.  Ilena was a pilot, artist and finally a nun in the USA.  Strong ladies.

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We set off for a short walk not too far away near Zarnesti.  The rains had stopped … just along a river, said I!  But to a viewpoint which should have been a clue to the ascent.  A bit of a steep climb up and the paths I’d selected for the down was missing or cordoned off.  So a slightly longer walk than planned.  But so worth it for the views.  This is what we came to Transylvania for … and it delivered.

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 Rather than get her feet wet, the agility dog flew across this pipe.  Several times as we made her do it again so I could take a pic! 

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