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ROMANIA-BUCHAREST

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BUCHAREST

Travelling with 3 more friends (Zack, Roger and Stephane), we left Barcelona on 2007 june 17th at 2 am. (with wizzair)
After 2h 15 min flying we arrived in Bucharest at 5 am (Romania is +1h) at Otopeni airport. there is another airport in Bucharest - Baneasa, but it's old and... dangerous! it looks really bad.
We took Bus 783 towards downtown and we arrrived finally at 7 am at Comfort Traian Hotel. the hotel is really good, comfortable and good price (25 €/night)( also with ac, really apreciated such hot days +- ) moreover we were allowed to enter on Sunday 7am until monday 12 pm paying only 1 night. The location could be better but wasn't so bad.
we slept for 5-6h and afterwards we took a taxi for a sightseeing because there isn't turistic bus in Bucharest (15€/each for 3h). with such taxi we visited the main buildings (old and dirty most of them) including people's house (2n largest building after pentagon built by Ceausescu between 1984-1989).
Is as big as ugly, well maybe not exatly ugly... but nothing special.
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Musuem of tipical romanian houses was our next destination. Close to a park is nice.
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... and nothing else, only the arc of triumph.
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Generally speaking Bucuresti is ugly and sad. Lots of poor people but also new rich with money. Decadent buildings and more or less good cars (big contrast) but also with lots of Dacia (the national car).
I didn't like people in Bucuresti some of them were nice but most tried to hassle you all day, specially taxi drivers: advice- deal the price before the trip.
the fact was that we were looking forward leaving Bucharest as soon as possible to explore other parts.
Sunday night, we went out but we didn't find any local to have fun :(. Definitely, Bucharest is not a funny-nice place.

Posted by gom 07:24 Archived in Romania Comments (3)

SINAIA

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SINAIA

On Monday 2007/06/18 we rented our car : Skoda Octavia Wagon diesel 1.9 (40 €/day – 150 € deposit). Good deal considering that to rent a car in Romania is not as cheap as you can imagine, roads are bad and cars are broken quickly.
Comment: Lei is the Romanian currency (1 € = 3.25 lei). They changed recently, 2 years ago 1 € = 325000 lei !!
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Well we took the car and started driving towards Sinaia. Driving in Romania is an adventure… roads are full of obstacles : thousands of carriages (they only have a few tractors , of course very old), lots of people just walking, selling, working… whatever. Roads are full of life and there are also lots of crazy drivers driving too fast in dangerous roads with lots of pot holes and irregular asphalt. However it's funny because you find a surprise every 100 m.
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We drove for 2h and a half towards Sinaia. Just there we eat in a posh restaurant lost in the mountain where we found more Catalans!! It was a surprise because it was a remote place. They knew Romania really well and gave us good advices for our trip, a curious advice: 'take care with bears in Moldova', they had found a bear in the middle of the road two nights ago. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we didn't find bears during our trip. Bears and wolves are still living in Transylvania mountains. Some restaurants offer bear meat.
Sinaia is a famous sky resort with tourist and an occidental atmosphere. It's specially famous for Peles Castle.
peles_cast..nsionar1.jpg Such castle was used by Romanian kings to have fun with their guests. Located in the middle of Transylvania is a really nice place.
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The castle is big and very nice, a worthwhile visit in Romania. Unfortunately it's closed on Monday and we couldn't enter.
Another interesting visit in Sinaia is its monastery where you can find traditional monks.
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After a few hours we left Sinai on Monday afternoon. Next step: Risnov.

Posted by gom 05:20 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

RISNOV

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RISNOV
When you are getting in from Sinaia side you can realize Risnov is a very poor city, what is a little bit strange because it's located between Brasov and Bran in Transylvania which isn't the poorest region in Romania.
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I can still remember a tennis court for posh Risnov citizens… unfortunately I didn't take a photo to show you how posh it was…
The main attraction in Risnov is its castle located at the top of the mountain.
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We had problems to find it cause of the deficient signs and the bad road but, finally, we found it!! We were disappointed because as every Monday it was closed though we found a freaky man who allowed us to take a few photos from the castle.
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The castle is an old fortification with the typical protection walls and a privileged view of Risnov plain and Transylvanian mountains.
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Posted by gom 05:39 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

BRASOV

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BRASOV
After Risnov we drove to Brasov (30 min), Bran Castle is really close to Risnov (20 min) but it's closed on Monday so we planned to go on Saturday.
Once in Brasov we bought something for dinner in a Carrefour (Carrefour is for rich there because is not cheap at all for Romania) before seeking for a hotel to stay, we found 2 quite expensive and finally we rested in a centric hotel not expensive at all but old.
Brasov's downtown is nice, clean and modern with the famous Black Church (not as nice as I imagined) and the beautiful central square.
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As soon as you are in Brasov you can feel the young atmosphere of the city, it was Monday night (traditionally quite everywhere) and terraces were full of youth. Unfortunately, once we got ready to go out was too late and most of people had left terraces to go home. Despite the low number of people we enjoyed ourselves playing billiards in an Irish pub with friendly stuff. For sure during the weekend you can have fun easily.
During night Brasov is nice (with the name floating illuminated on the top of the mountain) but is even better during a sunny day like that!! It's a dynamic a city closer to the western side than the eastern one.
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Black and white towers, piata unirii, protection walls, Black Church…
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but the most amazing attraction is to take the telepheric and up the mountain towards the letters BRASOV (Hollywood's style).
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The view is fantastic from there… spectacular photos were taken from the terrace.
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Definitely, Brasov is a lovely city, it was a surprise for me!

Posted by gom 08:46 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

SIGHISOARA

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SIGHISOARA
Sighisoara is a medieval city where you can still feel such atmosphere. Easily, you can imagine how people lived (and in some case are still living) there a few centuries ago.
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Vlad Tepes was born there, in one of the central houses (today is a restaurant),
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however the main touristy attraction is its old medieval tower from which you have a good sight of Sighisoara.
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To be honest, Sighisoara was a little bit disappointing… the city, streets, houses, all was nice but, maybe after my readings about it, I expected a little bit more (I don't know how to explain). Anyway, it not a bad place at all and I'm fully happy of my visit.
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Once finished our sightseeing in Sighisoara, we drove again with painted monasteries of Moldova in our mind. After several hours driving crossing lots of towns and also Targu Mures (we didn't stop but I can explain that suburbs were incredibly sad, I guess downtown is better) we arrived at Bistrita where we stayed on Tuesday night just to sleep a little and continue our voyage towards painted monasteries on Wednesday morning. I can remember how dangerous was to drive at night in those roads full of surprises (carriage without lights, people, animals, big pot holes, road works…) , fortunately nothing bad happened!!
BISTRITA: Nothing to do. Nobody between 20-40 because everybody is working abroad!! After 11pm only a few gipsy youngs (10-15) cleaning the streets. Generally speaking, they are not friendly, however we found a nice owner of a doner-kebap (argentinian-speaker) who explained us tons of things about Romania and Bistrita's region.

Posted by gom 10:49 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

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