Slideshow Widget

Frosted travels through Romania

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

For this little uncut gem to be a snowy paradise you will have to wait till the Northern winter but it is truly unspoiled and undiscovered. Romania is a destination that has to be experience in person and with all five senses. It bombards you with culinary delights, culture and whimsy. When we first travelled there I posted a few pictures but as the winter cold is really enveloping us we wanted to share some of Romania again and why it was so very special to us.

Arriving in Bucharest in the pouring rain and after a chat to our cab driver all hope of seeing snow during our visit dissipated. However, arriving at Z Boutique Hotel in the Old Town all disappointment vanished as the rooms were warm and tasteful and had fantastic views over the city. It was only a few minutes from one of the many squares hosting an annual Christmas market. We layered up in minutes and were back on the streets just as the rain stopped and were greeted by wafts of sweetness drifting from the market and thousands of Christmas lights lining the streets.
We were seduced by absolutely everything, from the strange beer served hot, fragrant mulled wine, enormous hotdogs with pork grillers, to the hundreds of different types of coloured candy! We did not go hungry that night.

Waking up the next morning with an eerie silence surrounding us we rushed to the window. I knew that particular lack of sound so well and there it was, as we ripped open the curtains we saw a city covered in a white blanket with the snowflakes still drifting to the ground.
I never truly understood my fascination with snow. The spell the dainty flakes weave whenever they sifted over me on their way to the ground. Maybe it is the pure innocence they cover the world in, maybe it is their fleeting nature?

We explored the snow covered city on foot that day and were delighted to discover Paul’s, a decadent patisserie in the heart of Bucharest. Imagine display cabinets filled with delicate treats, the smell of rich coffee grounds enveloping you while a churner slowly churn homemade hot chocolate so thick that you eat it with a spoon! It instantly became a favourite and the place that would eventually lead us back to Bucharest a day earlier than our original travel plans were.
Eventually leaving Paul’s we strolled around the old city and into the magnificent Cismigiu Gardens, a true winter wonderland in the middle of the city and a must see.
We loved the beautiful Caru’ Cu Bere  restaurant.Housed in an ancient twentieth century building filled with character and the atmosphere still recalling the exuberance of old Bucharest. Our waiter was quite apologetic announcing that due to us not having a reservation we would only be able to keep our dinner table for two hours which according to us was more than enough to try all the different treats! Homemade bread loaves (literally loaves!) and little jars of traditional cherry brandy arrived at our table just in time to accompany some hearty Romanian soups, pork dishes, roasted vegetables and even some bear meat for the brave at heart. (We prefer not to eat anything that would eat us…)

A quick farewell to Bucharest and we were off to Sighisoara via the 05h45  local train the next morning. Snaking through the powder covered landscape (it had not stopped snowing since our first night) we arrived at what seemed to be a deserted train station… Sighisoara; also known as the birthplace of the infamous Count Vlad.
A tiny town but definitely worth a visit. We found out the hard way that restaurant hours in winter here greatly vary from the cities and at 20h00 we could no longer find a place to eat.
Having to go to bed hungry that evening was soon forgotten when we strolled down to breakfast at Pension Um Schneiderturm the next morning. As it was low season S & I were pretty much the only visitors in town and the only guests at the Pension they spoiled us rotten. A massive table laden with fresh treats from fruit and cheeses to local honey and cured meats, not to mention the different types of baked breads, pastries and cakes were all laid out just for us. Another quick farewell before the Pension owner took us back to the little deserted train station.

Next stop… the secluded ski-village of Poiana Brasov where we spend the next few days. Exploring the surrounding woods, snow sports and more yummy traditional food!
Daytrips by bus to Brasov, Peles Castle,Sinaia, Azuga Rhein Cellers ( who produces the official sparkling wine for the Royal family), Rasnov and the famous Bran Castle let us explore the region of Transylvania and we let ourselves be carried away by all the myths and legends of vampires and slain armies, of wild bears and beautiful captured maidens.

Romania is truly a place to remember and worth waiting for the Northern Winter for!

We wanted to add some of our own winter travel tips to the blog for all of you heading to Lesotho this winter… or maybe waiting for the first snow in Europe…

  • Always either dress for your destination or have a change of clothing in your hand luggage and baggage do go missing.
  • Pack a pair of all weather, rubber soled boots or shoes. Once it snowed sidewalks get slippery and navigating the city is a bit more challenging.
  • Thermal undergarments are your friends, so is layering. With shops, restaurants and hotels thoroughly heated you have to be able to take your outer coat off indoors and still be warm and decent.
  • When in Europe, have cake for breakfast it’s completely acceptable.
  • Walk, walk, walk. The best way to appreciate the icy landscape is on foot and you might just find a cabin restaurant tucked away in the woods.
  • Pack sunblock and a good pair of sunglasses, and use them daily.
  • Try the local snow sports. Snow mobiles are a fantastic way to get close to nature and enjoy the remarkable trails without needing weeks of lessons.
  • When wintering in the Northern Hemisphere visit the Christmas markets, they are unique and unlike anything in Africa.
  • Keep in mind that train, plane and bus schedules might be affected by heavy snowfall.

And our last bit of travel advice… don’t be shy, try everything, live like a local! and ask for directions if you have to J oh yes, and if you can, visit Paul’s!!

Post a Comment