Travel for me is normally something of an adventure, broken tailbones, mini-taxi rides through Syria, and running down Mt Sinai. Somehow this trip which was meant to be about Vampires and Spas but it became a journey of self-enrichment. All travel certainly develops me but this trip was just a little different.
Catching trains in countries where few people speaks your language is an adventure and dragging a pack around with a piece of paper with the directions to the hostel and praying that that group of men following me are going to do anything as running with this pack is going to be a pain. Snoring roommates in hostels, smelling of dirty old boots and wet towels, and seriously I have never heard women snore so much!!
Sadly I lost my camera on the train after only three days in Romania so this post will be very void of pictures. But losing my camera and deciding that I was going to work on issues with trust proved to be a catalyst in my self-enrichment. I initially was so upset over the camera and then I realised it was only a camera. It wasn’t my passport, money or anything else, it was just a camera. The memories of this trip might fade a lot quicker than other trips but I didn’t have to attempt to arrange a new passport or getting my visa cards cancelled. Crisis averted so to speak.
Then the next self-enrichment ~ working on issues with trust. It first started as increasing my professional development and ended in me knowing I had to change certain portions of my personal life as well. So the remainder of my holiday was spent knowing that I would be single within days and I wasn’t over worried about that but the one thing I am failing at telling you is about Romania and Hungary!
Bucharest was a funny place, firstly I was told I wouldn’t want to spend too much time there and I probably could have spent days there. Dinner in the historic quarter at 2200 was a people watchers dream. I could have sat there for days and watched the people wander the little alleyways. I ate a very calorie rich meal at Caru’ cu Bere which is the oldest beer house in Bucharest. I attempted to visit the Palace of Parliament, the second largest building after the US Pentagon, but was told because no english speaking tour I couldn’t go in.
The next day I boarded a train for Brasov, the tourist heart of Transylvania, and everything I had heard about the beautiful countryside of Romania did not fail to impress me. Beautiful green trees lined the path and then as we came up to the Bucegi Mountains my love of rocks intensified. So while the journey outside the train was filling my heart with joy, watching the Romania’s on the train was time for giggles. Teenagers singing Justin Beiber songs, older Romanians with their little lunch packs with the vilest smelling meats and little bottles of some random but clearly toxic alcoholic drink. The old man was very drunk after 4.5 hours of drinking what ever it was.
Brasov was the base for going to Bran Castle (Dracula land) , Rasnov Fortress and Sighisoara (the birth place of Vlad the Impaler). Brasov itself was a quant little town that strolling around I could have again spent days here exploring the citadel, the churches and village square. One of the most interesting things for me was that Bran Castle was not the scary kitsch castle I expected. The views were spectacular and the walls inside were all white. There was nothing dark and dangerous about the castle so it was almost disappointing but the Romanians clearly have no interest in exploiting the Dracula byline as much as I was under the impression that they did. Sighisoara was filled with cobble stones and Vlad’s birth house was understated but the food served at the restaurant was so filling if not heart~attack making material.
Next stop overnight train, oh dear one must remember to book sleepers not just 1st class. But having my sleeping bag and luckily there was only one other person in the cabin meant I could lay down and sleep. Though I will recommend that if your going to travel through some of the most beautiful countryside do it during the day so you can see it all.
Perla Spa… well what do you say about a 3 star spa in Romania, it is full of rather tanned senior citizens who have no body image problems at all. My size 10 bikini was larger than most of the women’s size 20 bikinis. Not seen that much flesh in all my life. Yet again more super rich food and 2.5 hours worth of massages and a facial I was relaxed and very happy.
Last train journey to Budapest included a border police officer taking my passport and not being able to find me to give it back to me. Very cute little stamps in my passport with little train pictures on them. One thing that I must say I am impressed with is the directions given to get to the hostels I stayed out on hostelworld.com. I didn’t get lost once finding my hostels and even walking backstreets was well spelt out so you knew where you were going.
The first thing I did in Budapest was a walking tour, despite the rain it was one of the most fantastic things I have done. I have never done a free walking tour before and I know it will not be my last in any of my upcoming trips. The information you receive is brilliant. Budapest, beautiful is the only word for it. I do now wish I had planned to spend 4 days there instead of the spa in Romania. Live and learn!
Though Terror Haza (house) was a heart sinking moment. The history of Hungary is very sad and what humans can do to one another is shocking. In the basement where many people were tortured and died, I almost burst into tears, you can feel the horror of what had happened there. The house demonstrated the sacrifices in the name of freedom are never futile, the deaths have allowed for freedom and independence to emerge as victors.
Leaving Budapest was emotional given I arrived at the airport and was told my flight was cancelled. Rerouted via Frankfurt and would be arriving home 5 hours later than before. I did have to giggle as I had complained that Vienna airport was boring on the outward journey and now was going via Frankfurt which turned out to be a lovely airport. Guess I got what I asked for albeit with a delay of getting home.
The only question left now is ~ where too next?