Today we leave the capital and head for Transylvania or more precisely Brasov.
We hump our packs probably the longest we have had to yet to the metro, and on to the train station. Before getting our train to Brasov we purchased our ticket and reservation to Belgrade, with a little help from the hostel who had written in Romanian what we required – a reservation all the way to Belgrade but a ticket only from the Serbian border to Belgrade (our Eurail pass is valid in Romania but not Serbia).
We boarded our train to Brasov, a journey of only a few hours passion through some spectacular scenery.
As usual as we got of the train every man and his dog wanted to sell us the “best and cheapest” accommodation in town. The packs are like a red target painted on us. Having pre-booked our accommodation has tied us to the itinerary (though if we really wanted we could cancel and only loose the 10% deposits) but it has meant each time we arrive somewhere we know where we are staying and we have directions as to how to get there (takes the fun out it too I guess), but it has also meant being able to tell these guys where to go (politely most of the time).
So as we are trying to go down the exit stairs an American fellow tries to offer us accommodation at the hostel we are booked into, so I just tell him no thanks we already have a reservation there. He then follows us down the stairs talking about how bad the pick-pockets are, and the buses are unsafe, some of the taxis are dodgy and that he’ll take us to the hostel, and we are like who is this guy and does he think we are stupid or something. He then goes to a booth with the hostels name on it, starts talking to the girls in there asking them to meet someone else whilst he takes us to the hostel, we can now also see that he is wearing a coat with the hostel name on the back. Hmm maybe this guy is for real. So he keeps talking to us about the hostel and the city and how long he has been there etc, and by this time its obvious he is from the hostel, so we get a cab to the hostel, with him pointing out all the tourist stuff as we go and we arrive at the hostel safely – a very weird experience.
We checked in headed for the tourist info centre.. Being a little hungry we stopped at a patisserie and got the yummiest chocolate éclair ever – we had missed lunch being on the train and it was too close to tea to actually eat lunch. we a grabbed map from the “i” and headed to Hollywood hill (Brasov sits at the foot of a hill and it has this big white “Brasov” sign on it, just like Hollywood its quite funny) to ride the cable car to the top for a view of the city.
The view was pretty good, the town was bigger than I expected it stretched out quite a long way. We wandered around up top for a little while then headed back to the main drag, and wandered along it then up alongside the hill where the black and white towers sit , so named for their colours. They were part of the old fortification but are now museums.
It was getting dark and we getting hungry so headed back to main square and its little alleys to find a place to eat. We found little Italy which all looked really good but we decided upon a Scottish pub, that kinda looked like a gentlemen’s club with its leather seats and old style furniture. We had a really nice dinner and headed home to hopefully put our names down for the castle tour tomorrow – we were going to do it ourselves but it was pretty tight time wise and a fair bit of hassle only thing was the hostel tour wasn’t going to the cable car at Sinaia that we really wanted to do, oh well can’t fit everything in.
We got back to the hostel, put our names down (there were going to about 20 of us), and whilst we were doing that a group of 9 arrived to check in, they were supposed to be 10 but one of the girls had her passport stolen or she lost we didn’t quite catch the whole story so she stayed behind to sort that out.
Evening chatting to others in the hostel.