Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Transylvania Chronicles -Days Six and Seven

6th September 2007,

Again I must apologise for keeping you all in the dark, my friends. I'm failing in my duties as a chronicler, but in my defence the last two days have been so much fun these pages have remained buried in the bottom of my trendy rucksack.

Yesterday it was an early start to Brasov, the capital of the Brasov county and charming medieaval city. The weather threatened to ruin the occasion, but smiled kindly upon us to make it a fabulous day. We first called in at Miercurea Cruic, a delightful village where we visted a small but very interesting museum on Rumanian books and publishing (more interesting than you might have thought!).

After a not-so-tiring journey on the coach this time we made it to Brasov, where the Black Church stands (religion is everything here!), for a delicious lunch (compliments to the chef!). We popped into the Black Church and then enjoyed some free time to buy some funky souvenirs. I got my "Smile from Transylvania" T-shirt, Mari got her chessboards (something she'll soon wipe the floor with me at!) and Manel got his cakes!

From there we headed for our 4-star hotel in Sinaia, the Pearl of the Carpathians. Sinaia is a charming place, but let me tell you a little about this hotel: a shower like an old man peeing, no plug for the wash basin, no mini-bar (4-star and no mini bar??) and dry bread for breakfast...but there was more to come.

Day Seven...Now, on day six of the tour, things got off to an unpleasant start with the receptionist trying to pin some damages to the room on the brothers from Madrid. Our first and very brief visit was to the Sinaia monastery, up in the mountains. Obviously it was quiet and the monks there might not have appreciated our keysters there gawping at them, but that's life I'm afraid - I've paid my leu!

Next stop: Peles Castle, the former residence of the Rumanian royal family. I have to tell you it's most exquisite place. In fact the tourists are made to wear slippers inside, and understandably so, because everything is carpeted. The castle is a bit like a British stately home, but with more statuettes, though equally impressive decor. Such a place always makes me nervous: all those valuable objects for me to smash to pieces with my rucksack!

The chef must once again be complemented on a gorgeous meal, this time of skewered beef and cheesy potatoes, but not before spoiling with the creamiest, yummiest soup on what has been a cold day. Good work, my friend!

The Bran Castle is another fantastic piece of architecture and was our second stop - it has to be so for the movies! The fact is, though, that Vlad the Impaler never actually lived there at all in his lifetime - blame Hollywood if you thought that! It's on a slope, which makes it a bit of a trek, but one well worth making culturally speaking. My favourite part was the secret passageway to the top floor of the castle. I think it's just the idea of it being secret that gets my juices going!

Oh, by the way, our maid had an excellent way of making the beds - just slinging the duvet over the sheets without tucking it in! If that's not 4-star service... Gave me a laugh all the same!

Time to switch out the ligh. Tomorrow it's a journey to Bucharest and we'll be passing through Snagov, where Vlad the Impaler is believed to be buried by the lake. Will the truth be revealed?

Yours with anticipation,

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