Sunday 3 June 2012
From Brasov we were really entering Dracula territory, from Transylvania to Wallachia. The mountains passes we drove through were steep and forested with the richest variety of greens imaginable – soft yellowy greens of the deciduous Spring growth and robust deep green of the various pines. Tall grasses are sprinkled with wild flowers of white, yellow and occasionally pink. Pretty as a picture.
The roads are better than in Bulgaria, but none the less suffer from the winter snow and ice, and many a time we were dodging both the oncoming traffic and the pot holes.
There is no doubt that drivers in these countries take the law and their safety into their own hands. Overtaking in villages and on blind corners seemed more the norm but never ceased to amaze us.
In the mountains at a popular ski resort near Sinaia is Peles Castle, a modern summer palace built by the first Romanian king, Carol I, in the 1850s.
It is a pretty castle, with towers topped with crosses, timber balconies, frescoed walls, glistening roof tiles and statues in the gardens, and on this sunny Sunday it was a-buzz with visitors, mostly groups of school-aged children with lots of voice and energy.
Just beside Peles Castle is the smaller but beautiful Pelisor Castle, built for Carol’s nephew and heir apparent Ferdinand and his consort Marie.
Incidentally, the village of Sinaia is named after the great Sinai Monastery on Mount Sinai.
Our last stop was to see Vlad’s Chindia Tower in Targoviste, a heavily industrialised town just 88km north of Bucharest. The tower and various remains of past castles sit in a lovely park and include a couple of well preserved churches. The Princely Church was open for us to roam and photograph.
Still Sunday, we enjoyed the family time in Chindia Park where an international puppet show was in progress, much to the delight of more high voiced, highly energised children.
We haven’t done justice to Romania, but we have enjoyed what we have seen. We reckon these are hard working people who are slowly getting order back into a country that was rampaged by many, the last none other than Nicolae Ceauşescu.