In the centre of Romania, surrounded by the Southern Carpathian mountains, lies a city with more than 250,000 residents.
The train from Sibiu arrived into Brasov around 5pm and I met up with my band of merry men. We had dinner together and chatted into the night.
The next day I decided to get up early and hike the mountain behind the city. It’s a pretty easy climb, but with the ice all over the path, some parts can be daunting. it took about an hour to climb up to the top of the hill and perched above the city is a large steel sign; Brasov. The view from the peak is absolutely amazing, it’s fantastic to see the sights of the city and the Carpathian mountains on the horizon. I sat on the top of the hill for quite a while before attempting to make my way down. Having trekked up the front path, my map displayed a route down the back, so I decided to to venture this way. Immediately, this became a bad idea. The stairs were iced over and so I had to clamber across the rocks; but I slowly, and carefully, descended. I reached a clearing behind the mountain and had to decipher the signpost to work out my way back to the centre. According to my map, I was just around the corner from one of the narrowest streets in Europe and I have to say, I was more than disappointed. Having lived in Exeter, England most of my life I know Parliment Street is known to be the second narrowest street in the world measuring between 0.64 metres (25 inch) and 1.22 metres (48 in.), whereas Strada Sforii, or Rope Street, measures between 111 and 135 centimetres (44 and 53 in); quite a difference in my eyes. My next sight was my own Church, Biserica Sf. Nicolae (St. Nicholas Church). I was going to go inside but there was a sign on the door which stated there was an event going on, so I didn’t venture in. Instead, I strolled around the city, stopping off to look at the Black Church, Catherine’s Gate, and Şchei Gate.
The next day, my troop and I, now with a few other stragglers, collectively decided to rent a couple of cars and take a drive along one of the most beautiful roads in the world; Transfăgărășan. After a lot of desicion making between the six of us, we were able to find a rental company. We marched towards the office and got all the paperwork sorted. As a safety precaution I chose to use the loo before we left for the day and as I left the toilet I dscovered my pals had departed without me. Checking the door of the office, I found out I had been locked in. A couple of seconds of immediate panic followed, and then I realised I’d have to find a way out. I called one of them, in the hopes they could come collect me. Instead I had to wait until they had picked up the cars, so I put my head down on the table until the owner came back for me. Eventually, I was rescued and I jumped in one of the cars and we headed out on our drive.
It’s a very long and windy path, snaking its way along the mountains and ascending up to over 2000m. We stopped off along the way a couple of times to look at the views and around 9pm we reached a good spot on the side of the Bâlea Lake. As it was almost pitch black, we turned around and made our way back to Brasov, stopping off on the way to ogle Vlad the Impaler’s castle; Poenari Castle. At around 1am, we finally parked up in the city.
As we had rented the cars for 24 hours, we had to make the most of them and so, the next day we took another drive, to the neighbouring city of Rasnov. Hiked up the mountain, as I did in Brasov and we dawdled around the citadel there. On the way back, I requested to be dropped in Bran as I wanted to check out the home of Dracula himself; Bran Castle. In all honesty, I wasn’t overly impressed with the castle, it was too well decorated for my liking. The history however was interesting to read about and I sneakily joined in on a couple of tours. I did like the layout of the building and some of the architecture but ultimately, I left after about an hour or so. I boarded a bus back to Brasnov and hung out with my troupe.
Doing some research for this post, just to find out names and the like, I came across this little ditty: Brasov is twinned with many cities around the world including 4 that I have visited already; Tampere, Finland; Leeds in the UK; Trikala, Greece and Nuremberg, Germany.