Road-tripping the East Carpathian beautiesSo we decided, even though all odds were against us, to go for a one day trip and try to visit as much as we can. Just before the whole season will be closed an the real autumn/winter begins. In our organizers was Sunday marked as a traveling day. Michal had the car, I had the local language knowledge - little but still and both of us are more than eager to explore and travel.
Morning started terribly early - usually I am waking up at 6:30 to make it on time to work - and around 7:00 we were already in the car driving through silent, gray and wet Bucharest streets. Vaclav, colleague of mine from Czech, testing the games in Bucharest for few weeks, was calling me...yeah I know, we were supposed to be there at 7. And I know how punktlich he is. So I was expecting his call:-) He called just to check up on us and to let us know, he is just checking weather and assuming the rain, he is not coming with us. Bine, no detour for us to pick him up and we can go straight north to the bowls of Transylvania.
Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarreled in all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men
"...Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarreled in all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men..."
Although there was not raining, the weather forecast was not that far from the reality. Weather. com was for once correct...along the way i slipped into the land of dreaming. No problem, when you are in the back seat and just enjoying the ride. Starts to be an issue when you suppose to navigate in the front seat. I really tried hard to stay awake and navigate. HARD. The dreams were stronger than me and clubbed my eyelids to deep state of sleep. When I woke up, Michal was not in his seat. Shock was replaced by surprise when I realized we are not moving. Still half a sleep I was scouting the surroundings...fog, trees, fog, road, trees, a hut, Michal outside the car, trees, fog, fog, never ending fog.
"Sleepy my darling?!" Michal uttered when stepping in. "Sorry man, I hope we are not lost or something. The weather is awful. Would not be surprised if you already turned back to Bucharest." No way, check the map and tell me where to go now. We should be close to Sinaia.
Our goal was to reach Busteni and from there track to Peleš castle, if weather would be nice we wanted to go uphill and use the cable cabin to reach the top. I grabbed our Romanian map in Lonely planet tour guide and finally woke myself up. There was nothing to miss and nowhere to get lost. Simply straight ahead from Bucharesst to Sinaia and Busteni. My plan was to ask someone in there where to head for one of the first European palace with central heating, vacuuming and electricity.
Peles castle alias palace itself is extremely beautiful and luxurious place I have seen so far. In the Renaissance style built palace to serve as a summer residence for king Carol I. and his wife Elizabeth. More than 400 craftsmen were working for almost 40 years to bring this jewel into the sunlight in all its splendor and magnificence. Although the main architect was Johannes Schultz (1876–1883) on Peles castle also 2 Czech architects left their mark. Karel Beneš(1822-1896) and more significant Karel Liman who designed the palace's towers.
Not only the outside is impressive and full of masterpieces. The Peles castle interior is made from gilded wood, wooden ceilings and paneling along with craftsmen work from all over the Europe. The main wooden work though is made in Austria and Germany. Italian glass, Bohemian crystal and many others decorates this Romanian gem.
Palace has 3 floors and the tour is priced accordingly - 1st floor for 30Lei, 1st+2nd floor for 50Lei and all 3 of them for 70 Lei. We have chosen second option and it turned out to be very good choice. For the second floor we were abandoned alone. Just me and Michal with our tour guide. Lovely lady in her 40 told us many stories and was more than willing to share and answer all our nosy questions. We spend more than 90 minutes on the tour and were pretty saturated for the morning. One quick pizza in Sinaia's restaurant and we were off on the road again.
Considering our gear, we were not prepared for what should come, but about that later...for now we spend 15 minutes walking uphill to realize racing competition is taking place just under the fortress. You could know that only cause of the map. All the surroundings was buried in a cloud an nothing was visible above certain level.
Michal is a gasoline head;-), owns motorbike and likes roar of engines almost as same as smell of burning tyres. So we stopped for a while (almost 30 minutes) to check out the competition.
Even though the weather was still giving us hard time, we were more than glad to hit the road in the morning. Cause these are exactly things we love to travel for. Unexpected events to lift your mood up and enjoying life as it comes. Once again we met Czech made machines and stormed the hill up the fortress we could not see through clouds.
Saxon fortress build in 13th century to guard Romanian lands against Turks and Tartars. Almost fully renovated medieval fortress is perfectly set just behind the mountains to guard lands and passes. Those were unfortunately for us covered in a thick whiteness of clouds.
On the way down to our car, the weather got even worse. Heavy rain with big rain drops started to fall from the clouds on our heads. Our light garments could not endure such a rainfall and get wet almost instantly. Wet jackets, wet shoes, wet trousers...fortunately our car was close to one of the opened pubs in town. We slipped in ordered a tea and strengthened ourselves for the last part of our journey.
....hmm seems like I already exceeded the traditional span of my articles and your focus also. Long story short. Those who made it in here will get one special tip for Brasov's best restaurant. Should you long for traditional Romanian meal in a cosy /romantic environment visit Bella Musica. Traditional ciorba de fasole served in bread is for decent 15 Lei. Other meals could be slightly more pricey though worth the service.
More pictures can be found on Picasa.