Leaving Bucharest we’re off on a schlep around Romania. In fact, we’re scheduled to stop for two nights in each of four towns and an even-shorter one-night stop in one more. And after that we have three consecutive two-night stops in Moldova and two nights in Rome. That’s a lot of short stops for a couple of guys who like three- and four-night stops. We’ll see how it works.
The first of these little stops was Brasov, a city of about a quarter-million people up in the Carpathian mountains in southern Transylvania. It’s history dates back to early Saxon settlers, which presumably explains why the city still feels surprisingly German. It is an important winter destination with big ski resorts in the area but ultimately there’s not a lot to do besides enjoy the pretty old town.
Still, we made the most of our brief stop. After getting into town for lunch we mostly just hung out in town, exploring the old town center. On day two, though, we took off for the town of Bran, maybe 40 minutes away and the home of Bran’s Castle, purportedly Vlad the Impaler’s castle made famous Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While the historic connection between the castle and Vlad (son of Vlad Dracul and thus known as “son of Dracul” or Dracula) is tenuous at best it still makes a fun side trip.
After returning to Brasov for lunch I headed up Tâmpa, the big hill that sits behind Brasov to see the view. The route up is through a nature preserve that is supposedly the home to wild bears but unfortunately I didn’t manage to see any. The view, though, was all it was cracked up to be.
And then to finish off the day – well, except for dinner – we went to a nice little organ concert in the Black Church, a name acquired after suffering smoke damage during a 17th century fire and supposedly the largest Gothic Lutheran church in Transylvania (which seems like kind of modest bragging rights). Clocking in at 45 minutes the concert was just about perfect. There is, after all, only so much organ music you need to hear in one night.
And that was Brasov. A cute little Saxon town, though big enough for me to find a pair of Ecco hiking shoes that might even fit. From here it’s off to a few more little Romanian cities. If they’re as cute as Brasov we’ll be just fine.