Romania 19/07/2011

I packed and then set off to Heathrow. got there early and found the Weatherspoon’s. John was late as usual but the plane was delayed in boarding and then we were delayed on the ground but BA did provide a very good meal on the plane with gin and ginger ale. we arrived in Bucharest and got into two pre ordered taxi's to our hello hotel. We had time for an ursus beer before we went to the room which had an awful lot of space and nice telly very acceptable shame we only got 4 hours in it.
Up early and we popped along to the train station and got some sandwiches and some coffee from one of the numerous coffee machines. The train was good and by about 11 am we were setting off from siniai in the blazing heat. we followed a well-marked route with blue and white stripes. However we managed to get lost and attacked by dogs at a gypsy camp. We retraced our steps and I found the easy path and we were off again climbing to 2,200 meters. The route was nice though there were a few warnings about bears so I made a lot of noise with a stick to give them warning. Paula was struggling and as we got higher the clouds came along. I put my poncho on but the rain held off till we got to cabana babele. Then it really chucked down while we enjoyed our dinner, there was hail and an impressive thunderstorm and some Russians arrived seriously drenched to the bone. we didn't survive long before retiring to our 6th berth room. Slept very well.
Up in the morning and no sign of the rain we were warned off. So we used there nice toilets and had some coffee from the machine and a nice omelet before setting off. Whilst it didn't rain it was quite windy all day so could fairly chilly apart from when you were sheltered or going up hill as we hovered between 2000 and 2500 feet. Our first destination was the rather large cross on the hillside which was a bit of a tourist destination for all the folks coming up in the cable car. After that we set off past the rather large rocket ship or tv antenna to our destination cabana omu so named according to our Russian friend Anna because it had some rocks close to it shaped like a face. The walking today was fairly easy no big drops or climbs and although some dark clouds were in evidence through the day it didn't rain at all. Cabana omu was at 2500 m but I managed to go to 2517 by climbing the rock behind the hut. the hut was very nice but quite small with a very basic outdoor loo. However they did great lemon tea. And we then worked through their menu identifying the items on my phone then ordering them. So we had hot wine and beer and hot chocolate and soup and then finally muschi which Verena found amusing all night till lights out at 9pm. I had a room to myself but it was one built for hobbits, the door was literally only waist high, but you could stand upright and the beds were a bit short and you would have struggled if you had claustrophobia. These things didn't bother me but I didn't sleep well.
Was awake quite a while before the rest who finally emerged 12 hours after retiring to their room. Had a nice coffee and omelet then set off about 10am. It was quite windy but not as windy as earlier so a later departure was probably better. The route was incredibly well marked and we also found a bit of via Ferrata though the wires we found were not really necessary I still clipped into them anyway as I had brought a sling and karabiner. Going was a bit slow as folks were suffering a bit, but the walking was very pleasant. We descended into the tree line and anxiously tried to catch site of castle bran at any clearing. no encounters with bears thankfully and we emerged next to a ski resort and walked the last bit through a very affluent part of bran judging by the size of the houses. we covered about 10.5 miles in total. we had a beer ursus black in the local restaurant. and then found our hotel rooms after a quick look at the tourist stalls for bran castle. After a quick go at the very impressive shower we headed back into town and ate at the restaurant where we had had a beer. Unfortunately the traditional cabbage meal was off the menu but I did indulge in some polenta and for dessert there were doughnuts with jam and sour cream after that is was back to the hotel and a very pleasant night’s sleep on the couch.
Up very early and after breaking the hairdryer we had a nice breakfast in the hotel where I had the local sausage with mustard. then on to Bran castle it was good we got up early as it was a very very full of tourists later. There was a short walk up to the castle and the entry was very reasonable at 10 Ron about 3pounds. the castle was very photogenic and had been used constantly since the middle ages till after the second world war so had a lot of history. It was laced with passageways and secret stairways which were impressive and was occupied at one point by the queen of Romania who had been a British princess. It was a hot day and after photos and a tour of the gift shop we had a stroll in the gardens and then a local ice cream and some bread baked like a kebab. We then vacated the hotel and tried to catch a bus in vain so made the trip to Brasov in two suicidal taxis. We arrived at Brasov main square and checked into Casa Wagner. My room had 4 beds on two levels. we popped outside then for a couple of beers and to listen to the large concert in the square warming up. We then walked around Brasov a bit and found the wall around the city and went into a couple of towers. Then we had a beer and some food in the middle of the main street, or at least I had ice cream. Back then to the tables outside our hotel before a nice shower before going out to a restaurant called Die Stube. thlassesis was a German restaurant so we got to try a lot of beers in frosted glasses then I had a Dracula pizza. back then to our hotel as the concert was emptying and we had a final beer before retiring.
up for breakfast at 9am which was very nice in the hotel. it had conveniently decided to drizzle on the last day as we were travelling so didn't even need my poncho for the short walk to the slightly less suicidal taxi to the train station. The train arrived but appeared to be missing our carriage but they added a couple of extra and we got a cabin all to ourselves that seated exactly 5 which was convenient. We arrived back at the gard du nord and then walked the short distance to our original hotel to pick up a taxi and have a drink and said goodbye to Paula. The drive to the smaller airport was short but we couldn't spend our lei there. we flew then to Stuttgart and had a two hour wait so we had some schnitzel at a shop and some beer and picked up a paper for the flight home to London which was uneventful.


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