Okay, lets wrap this trip up. This is the third and final installment from our trip to Romania!
After leaving Bran, we took a bus to Brasov. Upon arrival we were dropped off in a random bus station, not quite sure of our goal. After a few failed attempts at finding (agreeing) on which street to start walking down, we settled on hiring the taxi to take us to the center of the old city of Brasov. Given our state of confusion, we weren’t exactly sure where we needed to go so it took about 3 different taxi drivers to find one who spoke enough English and knew the area we wanted to get to (or cared enough to help us).
The taxi dropped us off in a nice park and after walking in circles again, we decided to head up to the Brasov Citadel for a panoramic view of the city. Unfortunately, we could not go inside the citadel, but it offered a nice view and got the legs working again after a few days off.
We walked back down the hill and into town to enjoy the old streets. We enjoyed lunch, visited the Black Church, and walked the paths outside the old city walls. Brasov is a very picturesque town with beautiful roundabouts, beautiful old buildings, and lush hillsides surrounding the city center.
Once we got our fill of city life, we decided to take a taxi up to the ski-town of Poiana Brasov. Finding a taxi was not the issue but getting a good price was. There are plenty of taxis queued up eagerly waiting to bustle people to and fro. We asked four different taxis what their charge was to go to Poiana Brasov…..40…..70…..50….40…..Okay, we settled on 40 lei and took off.
Poiana Brasov is a lovely town and likely quite the happening place during ski season. After some shenanigans finding someone who worked there, we checked in at the Pension Mont Blanc and dropped off our packs. We spent the evening walking around the city and pondering what we should do the following day. The hills looked very inviting and offered a variety of nice day hikes. We figured we could spend the day exploring the mountain and then take a bus or taxi to our final destination on the other side of the mountain range, Timisu de Jos.
ALAS, after we thought we had a plan….Matt shared his idea of what we should do (typical) …..with the opening statement of, “because it’s probably easier to hike across the mountains than figure out transportation to the next town”….he share the trail options and proposed we just hike up and over to Timise de Jos instead of taking a day hike and figuring out a taxi or bus later in the day. His plan won (I’m a sucker for how excited he gets about climbing mountains)…. So after a huge breakfast (seriously, they just kept bringing us food!)….we set off hiking UP and OVER the mountain range.
The higher we got, the higher the plants got too! After reaching the top of the range, it appeared that most people don’t usually go any further…..I guess we aren’t most people….. (we intended to follow the “trail” pointing to the left with the blue cross…..)
With some mild doubt, we proceeded through the bush and eventually found the trail after a bit of bush-whacking. We spent a short minute enjoying some flat trail before starting the journey down into the abyss. While we opted for the “less steep” trail, it was still insanely steep and I found myself tactfully braking on trees and roots for most of the way down, while Matt was dancing down the trail like he was in Riverdance.
We eventually made it off the steep stuff…..and into another tricky route finding situation…..a giant field of stinging nettles…..and no idea where the trail was! According to Wikipedia…..stinging nettles “have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation when contacted by humans and other animals.” Sounds like FUN! As the most fully clothed person in the relationship, I volunteered to venture in and look for the trail marker. After a bit of stumbling around, we found a faint marker to the far left and Matt cautiously ventured through with me. On the other side of the field, we encountered a fire breathing dragon and……
….. just kidding…..the path opened back up and followed a stream for the remainder of the journey and ended at a small train station a few kilometers from where we wanted to be. Prior to leaving Poiana Brasov, we looked for a hotel in this town… and now we understand why there were no suitable accommodations….
There was no clear walking path to the larger town up the road and I was not in the mood to walk along the highway. So we decided to head South to the town of Predeal, a little bit bigger town with a variety of options for places to stay. To get there, first we tried to take a bus……but after sitting down on the bus, the driver came and started talking to us in Romanian…..*blank stare*…..we don’t speak Romanian….*blank stares*…..he doesn’t speak English. After a few moments of confusion, it was finally clear that that bus did not stop where we were going…..so we got off. Next plan….the train. We made out a rough train schedule on a post and the next train would be coming pretty soon. We were not quite sure if this was still a functioning stop, so we had to cross our fingers and be ready to jump on. Luckily, it stopped and we successfully made it to Predeal (which apparently we have no pictures of besides a pigeon on the train tracks) (Matt: Sorry).
We stopped at a few hotels looking for a room, but unfortunately they were all either full or closed for the season. We decided to head all the way up the hill in hopes that we’d be the only people crazy enough to walk to the hotel at the top of the hill……we were right and eventually found a room. We stayed at a nice bed and breakfast, Casa del Sol, with a beautiful view of the city. The host was very warm and welcoming, although spoke no English. We stumbled through our needs and settled in for the night. Despite the language barrier, the host was incredibly friendly and eager to make sure we were comfortable….including two rounds of VERY tall and strong shots of vodka after dinner – he got a good laugh from that.
The next day, we set off for a hike called “Seven Stairs Canyon”. As someone who doesn’t love slippery steep stairs….I was a little nervous but thought Matt would enjoy the photo opportunities. We made it to the first set of stairs and up to the second…..then….I couldn’t do it (insert sad faced emoji).
I hung back while Matt continued up to check out the next few stairs. He confirmed the next staircase was even scary for HIM! iy yi yi.
So I stayed down at the entrance while Matt explored a bit and enjoyed the photo ops.
Matt returned and we took the “hike around” to the top of the canyon and back down to town.
We made our way back to Bucharest that night and crashed at a hotel near the airport for our 6 AM flight….so a 2:45 AM wake up call…..gotta love it!