Dracula country

Trip Start Aug 28, 2006
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Trip End Aug 31, 2007


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Flag of Romania  ,
Monday, May 28, 2007

Kimby took off for home and continued on my way north out of Sofia.  Back to travelling on my own again, that transition is always hard.  So, I went up to the Bulgarian border at Vidin and had to spend the night (pouring rain!) and tried my best to get info about going into romania, noone seemed to know anything.  So in the morning I caught a cab to the car ferry and got dropped off at a guard gate in a no mans land full of fences.  I passed their immigration check and had to walk about 10 minutes on this fenced in road to the Danube river where I saw the little ferry waiting.  Hopped on and in 15 minutes I was in Romania.  Having no idea what the next step should be, the immigration guy was great and gave me a few options on how to get to Brasov. First step, to walk through this little town, Calafat, and find the but station.  This place, being a remote town, was even more back in time than bulgaria, horse carts everywhere, men in  felt hats with feathers and ladies in kerchiefs.  trundled through town, a gypsy kid hit my bag with a stick and cracked up and the bus station turned out to be a bus shelter full of old ladies eating cherries. So, I didn't make it to my destination, had to spend a night in Petesti which is by no means a tourist destination, but of course there was a mcdonalds!  got up early for a bus to brasov...this is the kind of travel that wears you out, standing in dirty bus lots waiting and waiting wondering if the bus pulling in is really the one you want. 
I broke up the journey by stopping at Bran castle, very pretty and a little spooky since they bill it as dracula's castle (but it really isn't) oh, I also was reading dracula at the time, so I kept finding myself looking at people's teeth for sharpness.  The only thing that threw me off there was the huge amount of elderly japanese tourists.
Brasov is a nice medieval city with a beautiful square, hung out there, ate romainian food (polenta and goulash).  took a day trip to Sinaia, a place with a gorgeous castle in the Carpathian mountains and ate out on a terrace full of flowers that also had a ski shop, I felt like I was in Aspen.  I also FINALLY had success at the post office, Kimby will appreciate this...the day before I was turned away again with my box, need to go to the customs office that closed a half hour before. Went to the customs office the next morning in the pouring rain and for the first time after four attempts, walked out of there without the box in my hand.  what a relief!!!
Headed to Sighisoara, a beautiful old citadel city.  I stayed in a zimmer (wasn't a widow) in a building from 1601. walked around all afternoon, this afterall was the birthplace of vlad the impaler, the original count dracula.  looked for bats or creeping mist at night, but it seems to me the place is clear of vampires.  The coolest thing is that people go on about their normal lives living in these incredibly old houses and you can walk down the main street in the modern part of town and you see 5 gypsy painted horse carts  in a row pass you full of a huge family...ladies with colorful scarves, big gold earrings and layers of skirts and men with big felt cowboyish hats...stuff you think doesn't really exist anymore, but there it is...just people going about their normal day.  romania is a cool place, with some beautiful old towns, and it is huge, so I feel like it is a place worth coming back to.  But I am on my way to vienna, so jumped on the train to budapest.
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