Horse and Carriage country-Romania

Trip Start Feb 05, 2009
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Trip End Dec 16, 2010


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summary:

After Balaton lake days we have been on the move again, crossing 3 countries…now at the Krim, Ukraine. We spend some more days in Hungaria, quick visit to Budapest, wine sipping in Eger and eating a traditional goulash meal! Crossing into Romania, a country I fell in love with from the start. The land of the horse and carriages, fruit stalls at the side of the road, grannies chatting in front of their houses, hills, sunflowers, Dracula history and lots of hospitable people! Dancing on Andre Rieu, Romanian campfire night, exploring the Danube Delta, little ferry accident and lots of free camping! Feeling better, learning the language. A country I would love to come back to one day! Multzimir!


It has been only 2 weeks since I wrote the previous story, but it seems ages ago! Back when we were still in Hungaria…leaving Balaton Lake. After some days of work and relaxing it was time to move on again. As the LP (Lonely Planet book) mentioned Tihany village ‘too cute to be true’ we stopped to see and judge for ourselves. Being full of tourists and little stalls to sell, it was no more then nice. The chilly pepper shop being the highlight of the town! And Mira did find her green hat there!

We camp at the other side of the lake, at a great lookout spot, on our way to Budapest. Lovely sunset, perfect opportunity to eat on the roof terrace for the first time! Sightseeing Budapest, divided by the river into Buda and Pest. We spend most of our time in Buda, visiting a beautiful church (thanks girl!), donating to the Hari Krishna and enjoying another (wrongly made) Café Latte. Pest doesn’t seem too appealing, but could be we did not see the best of it. Mira takes the opportunity to go to the hairdressers and we eat a typical Hungarian meal in a sleazy restaurant! Maybe it’s me, but this city does not appeal to me much, one day it needs a (longer) second change. We end our city-evening with a cocktail, as there is a no 0%-alcohol tolerance for drivers; it is great that we have our bed with us!

Next stop: Eger, a little town known for its 100+ private wine cellars. As we like wine, this is a place to visit. The cluster of cellars is just at crawling distance from our camping. At first the town seems boring, but after some good wine, food and discovering, this is what the LP should describe as ‘too good to be true’! In the morning I take the change to go to the thermal pools, so up at 6, in  the hot water by 06.30….aaaahhhhh nice! We end up staying there a bit longer, one of the reasons being: cloth shopping! By change we find this great place with cool cloths for good prices. As I have not bought anything in the last year, after a bit of persuasion from Mira, I decide to go for a dress, skirt and t-shirt! And Mira goes for 2 dresses as well. Us girls wanna look cool sometimes ;-)) Pap, Mam, this is definitely a place you would love!

Time to leave Hungaria…But just before we cross into Romania, we have a traditional goulash soup, and I can keep the little pot as a souvenir! It is a thing I developed over the years, Buying/keeping things from the countries that people use in every day life. Things I will use (one day) when I have my own home somewhere.

As soon as we drive into Romania, I fall in love with it. Cannot really explain, but I just do. The scenery is amazing, hills, horse and carriages everywhere, fruit stalls at the side of the road, old grannies chatting in front of their houses…and many people can speak (some) English and Romania Limba (language) is similar to Catalan, the language Mira speaks fluently. Makes it much easier to communicate then in Hungaria, with a language that should resemble Finnish, but does not really. Veikya! (Difficult).

Our first night in Cluj-Napoca at the campsite for a hot shower, which we get in the morning, although it looks like back to high school, taking a shower in one open space with the other (female) camping guests ;-) We are on our way to Transylvania, Dracula area. Visiting the Turda salt mine on the way. Nothing spectacular, but it is huge and funny to see that they are building a theme park inside it! Romanian way of attracting tourists I guess. Sighisoara, known as Dracula village, is worth a visit, unfortunately we cannot stay long, many more miles to drive. I find it difficult dealing with this deadline and itinerary sometimes. Doesn’t leave much space for unexpected things and lingering around when it feels good. Knew about this before we set off, and trying to accept this, but today find it very difficult. Following Mira’s idea, we choose 2 highlights in every country, not spending (much) time in between. I tell my mind to accept.

Near Brasov we park next to a little ‘pensione’ in the village Harman. I go ask to see if we can park on their premises, no, but some guests there, Mihaela and her husband Sorin, offer us to use their bathroom. We end up drinking Romanian wine with them, dance on Andre Rieu (Petru, her father has a whole karaoke sound system with him!)! The ‘pensione’ is like a little Garden of Eden behind the gate; To all of you wanting to visit this country, stay here (I have the address)! We are invited for breakfast, are given a Romanian road map and leave them full of gratitude and the promise to stay in touch. Multzimir for all!!!

We are in Burgerland area, where there are more then 200 churches built within defense walls, as a place where people and food storage were safe at times of battle. In Harman the German ‘church keeper’, glad to be able to speak German again, told us ALL about it!

Although I like towns and cities, I longed to be in nature for a bit, going for a hike or something: away from people and cafés. On recommendation by locals we go to Busteni. Guess he told many people, cos it is packed when we arrive! We hike to a waterfall, but it is well tramped path, where the snack stalls are awaiting us as the end it…not exactly what we had in mind, but it still feels good to walk and be surrounded by trees. There will be more and higher mountains waiting for us in Kyrgyzstan, where we go for longer hike.

Just as we were thinking about where to stay the night, a local tells us about a huge free camping area, even takes his car and leads us the way. How nice! The area is amazing, along a little river, in between mountains. Perfect Rainbow gathering spot! It is weekend, so lots of locals around for bbq & campfire. We end up parking next to a Romanian family celebrating a wedding. With my newly learned Romanian words I start chatting, beers are given and before we know it, we are dancing and eating with them through the night: a Romanian Saturday night out in nature ;-)

The area is known for bears roaming around. Lots of signs to warn people, as just before it had been in the news that 2 people were attacked and killed. The next morning the neighbors find their watermelon spilt and I see a huge garbage container thrown over: Bears??!!

On our way to the next highlight: The Danube Delta. This is a huge area bordering Ukraine, where the Donau meets the Black Sea. It is the 3rd largest Delta network of waterways in Europe with supposedly over 10.000 bird species and fauna. Before we get there, we pass through Braila, where we have to take a ferry across. A small ferry, where cars have to park up to get as many on board as possible….hummm. So we go on, and the guys insist on us reversing in between 2 cars with little spare space. Result; I scratch a new car. No photos to show you, but this is what happened: The women go mental! Demand money and/or go to the police. Ok, we go to police. As we get of the ferry, the ferry-guy tries to rip us off by charging 4x the price, One of the women helps us out and tells me the correct price. At the police, the guy tries to send us away, just a scratch, does not want to make the papers. In the end papers are made (insurance work) and the women turn super friendly and even try to get the ferry-guy fined!

On our way again. There are lots of designated free camping areas around. This evening our spot is at a lake side. Not the best water, but of course I wanna jump in and cool off. The days here are hot and sunny! In Tulcea we have to leave the van and jump on a hovercraft into the Delta. Together with a German couple, we are the only ones getting off in Crisan, a village: one lóng street along the waterfront. The next day we decide to join a Belgium group on a day tour into the Delta, sharing a boat with dry-humor guys, bird spotting, mosquito killing and lots of water lilies. Great to be on the water, fun to see the pelicans. Heaven for bird spotters, a nice day trip for me.

Time to make our way towards Moldova (as we cannot cross straight into Ukraine) and leave lovely Romania. We will see us again one day ;-)

Besides our sightseeing things, how are things a few weeks into the trip: We are still looking for the best travel pace, who is driving when, how many hours to make daily. Until now the travel days have been hard, too long and left no space to relax. Cooking in the dark, exhausted in the evenings. We now came up with a new scheme, starting earlier. Living together in our moving house is working out, aside some communication problems. We are alike, yet different. So adapting is necessary is certain things. Talking is the key, which we do. I learned to be less chatty in the mornings, try to be less controlling and overenthusiastic in certain things. I learn to eat slower, with more awareness of the taste, eating less, not yet with a regular interval, which is necessary for me to truly deal with my eating problem. Also talked about this and with the new travel scheme (however silly it may sound) this should improve as well. Difficult to keep the food diary, but reading a special book now, this keeps me focused.

At the time of writing we are already in Ukraine, at the Black Sea, but little time/energy to write and no time spend in an internet café until now…so our Ukraine adventures will follow soon(er).
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Comments

tomcom
tomcom on

Missed us in ukraine
Hello Angelique,

It's a pity, but we missed each other in Odessa or ore generally in Ukraine.

i left at the 7th of Sept. from Lvov in the Westukraine, very nice city, which i can recommend.

i stayed before for several weeks in odessa at my girl-friends place. And wnet then to the European Rainbow Gathering in the Karpathian Mountains, very beautiful. it's a pity you have such a tight schedule, otherwise we would have find possibility to meet up, i guess. Anyway I am now back in good old Marburg and will finish my degree, finally.

Enjoy your trip and get loose on the schedule, go as far as you can in your scheduled time, but don't hurry to much if you're not the type of traveller who likes that.

i enjoyed the pictures, especially from Romania, anyway I have to catch uop with your tour blog.

sinituulia
sinituulia on

Hey!
dear Angelique!
Romania sounds and looks really amazing! Cant wait to get your Ukrainian story, one of those countries i adore and hope to return one day. But that'll have to wait, and theerfore it will be lovely to visit via your stoyr and pictures!

Me, Anttoni and Olivia are currently going through all sorts of vaccinations and getting ready for our trip in many other ways... This is the news: heading out to Nepal in october (most likely. the departure date still not confirmed) and staying at least for two years! I will be working for the UN, first based in Kathmandu, later probably off to the field in the provinces. Very excited and pleased about this lovely change for us all!

I have started a blog, although most of it is still in Finnish, but based on previous experience it will turn more into English as soon as in an English speaking environment. Do visit if you get a chance.

http://kathmandulights.blogspot.com/

And do visit us later in person, when you driving past!

Lots of love from us all, take care, sini

charon_1
charon_1 on

Groeten uit Amsterdam
HI there,
Great to read your stories; feels like I'm there! Big hug, Charon

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