Last winter I was lucky enough to spend some time in Romania in winter – for the first time ever! After celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Buila-Vânturarița with friends and exploring the nearby Cozia Massif with Wilbert, I headed to Brașov to revisit the Piatra Craiului Mountains with some friends, old and new. Since the winds were too strong on the main ridge we restricted ourselves to do the Piatra Mica circuit. But as you will see, it was well worth it! So here it is: the Piatra Mica in winter.more “The Piatra Mica in winter”
Oh dear. It’s March. In fact, it’s spring! This means I’ve been back for over four months and still I haven’t written my reflective 2018-post. Of course it is a bit ridiculous to publish it this late but since I kept a things-I-learned-list I would like to share these insights with you. Also it is a good exercise for me to get back into writing blog posts. It’s not that I don’t write; in fact I do little else. The deadline for my guidebook to the mountains of Romania is end of April and I have no clue how I am going to finish it in time. But I will. Besides that, I’m working on lots of exciting new projects that I can’t quite talk about yet – but what I can say is that I never dreamed the Roamaniac adventure would roll on like this after the guidebook part! In short, I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment, so here is a little distraction from all these frightful facts for myself, and for you from whatever it is you need distracting from.
I intended to write a reflective post after my first month in Romania, but then all of a sudden two months had passed – and then three. This doesn’t mean time flew – it didn’t exactly. Last year’s start was tough – this one was tougher. When I look at my walks list I am not impressed – I only managed one three-day hike in June, for instance. In terms of kilometres it looks a little better – I did about 240km which is almost half of what I did in total last year and the year before – so it looks like I’m getting somewhere. Although that said, I have no idea how many kilometres I have ahead of me. I can only hope that I’m about half way, since in another three months winter will force me out of the country.
Something incredible happened to me today. I was staying at a friends’ house but felt very uncomfortable there for various reasons. Too big, not so clean, no internet, moderate to bad 3G reception, just one lousy shop, quite a long bus ride from Brașov, etc. So I panicked.
Fortunately, I didn’t just panick – I started listing alternative accommodation around Brașov. I also started looking at AirBnBs again even though I had already done that a few weeks ago.
Suddenly I found myself staring at an AirBnB which I hadn’t seen up there before – and it looked too good to be true. Like a proper fata morgana: nine euros per night for a beautiful little two-bedroom refurbished house on the outskirts of Brașov, close to the Piatra Mare mountains. Bookings per week only – but that’s a good thing for me since I want a base I can return to without having to drag my luggage from one place to another all the time.
Braşov was called Kronstadt by the Saxons for a reason. Many reasons, in fact. To start with, Braşov literally wears a crown: the old city centre is surrounded by a ring of hills; covered in forest on the eastern side, boasting two ancient defense towers on the western side and a fortress towards the north. This beautiful natural crown, which is turning golden at the moment, is worn by what must be one of the prettiest city centres in Europe. Braşov is a great base if you want to explore the surroundings or head into the mountains, but is definitely worth visiting in its own right. Here are five reasons why, for me, Braşov is the king of all Romanian cities; or, as the Romanians say it, Braşov – regele oraselor din Romania. I could list many more, but there probably is a limit to how long you want this post to be… more “Five reasons why I love Braşov”
I love Romania. I love trains. I love Romanian trains. Hence, I don’t mind arriving at the station early to just watch the train come in and hear the tune that precedes all announcements played over and over again. Here is some footage to give you an idea of the atmosphere at a Romanian station – Gara Braşov, in this case. Hopefully you will feel as thrilled as I do – although I am probably a bit of a train maniac. Enjoy! more “Sounds of Romania: the station”