September 21st, 2022
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east, and the Black Sea to the southeast. Romania is the 12th largest country in Europe and the 6th most populous member state of the EU. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest.
The Danube, Europe’s second-longest river, rises in Germany’s Black Forest and flows in a southeasterly direction for 2,857 km (1,775 mi), before emptying into Romania’s Danube Delta.
Settlement in what is now Romania began in the Lower Paleolithic age, with written records attesting the Kingdom of Dacia, and subsequent Latinization by the Roman Empire. The modern Romanian state was formed in 1859 through a union of the Danubian principalities of Moldova and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. During WWI, after declaring its neutrality, in 1914, Romania fought together with the Allied Forces from 1916.
In mid-1940, as a consequence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede a portion of its land to the Soviet Union and to transfer Northern Transylvania to Hungary. Later in the same year, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and, consequently, in June 1941 entered WWII on the Asix side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war and occupation by the Red Army, Romania became a socialist republic led by Nicolae Ceaușescu and a member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania transitioned towards democracy and a market economy.
After the end of the Cold War, Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe and the United States. The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the EU and became a full member on 1 January 2007 but never adopted the Euro and it is not part of the Schengen.
Romania experienced rapid economic growth in the early 2000s; its economy is now based predominantly on services. It is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy through companies such as Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. The Romanian Orthodox Church is the largest and traditional church of the country.
The flag of Romania features three colors in its tricolor design. Blue is located on the hoist side. The blue is said to represent liberty. The center band is yellow in color and symbolizes justice. Red is the final band, and it represents fraternity of the nation.
Currency: the Leu (RON) – $.20 USD and $.27 CAD
Diesel: 8.19 Leu for litre; about $6.20 USD a gallon
For some reason that we have not figured out, the price displayed on the sign outside the gas station, is not the price at the pump; we would see 8.19 displayed on the street and the pump would say 8.69 but then when you pay, the receipt shows the lower price by giving you a discount. ??
EU License Plate Letter: RO
Crossing into Romania from Serbia took only a tad longer than from Bosnia into Serbia as prior to being released on the Serbian side, the Customs Officer wanted to take a peek inside. He opened a few cupboards but actually spent more time looking at our photos on the cupboard doors! On both sides of the border, Immigration required the title and a copy of the insurance for Minou – first time ever on this trip. There were lots and lots of trucks passing through immigration and lucky for us, we remembered that in Latin America, individuals in cars or motorhomes can jump ahead of them as there are usually at least two lanes up at the booths: one for people and one for truckers. Phew!
The time changed as we came into Romania so today we’ve lost an hour.
Romanian is a Latin based language that is more similar to Italian than Spanish and we see some similarities but not a lot; ie “thank you very much” Spanish is “muchas gracias” but in Romanian it’s “multumesc”.
So after the border, we continued in the opposite direction alongside the Danube and then bid her farewell as we headed inland. We continued to have our Serbian SIM cards working until shortly after we headed inland. No surprise there. When we stopped for diesel, we replaced them with our EE SIMS because now we are back in the EU and at first, we had no reception and we were worried that we would have had to reinsert them only in the UK but after about 15 minutes we were connected once again. What a great purchase that was!
We drove from the border to the city Hunedoara, nearly 200 km / 125 mi where Corvin’s Castle is located. This is supposed to be one of Europe’s largest castle and in the Top Twenty of Castles to Visit; hence it was on our list.
We had to pay 15RON to park (about $3) and then we managed to get the pensioner’s rate to get into the castle which we were glad of because, it was not very exciting.
We strolled through the hallways and rooms and up and down the staircases for less than an hour and while we were inside it poured so that was lucky. It stopped just before we were done. It’s still on the cool side – barely reached the mid teen’s C and dropping to low single digits at night already. It’s too early for winter!!!!
As we already driven so far today, we found a free grassy parking lot in between a grocery store and a playing field (more like a dog park) to park for the night. Doug went for a walk to get the rest of his steps and Fran checked out the store for a few items we’ve been searching for lately.
While travelling through Serbia and again here in Romania, we’ve been seeing these weird haystacks; we had put a few in the Serbian photo gallery on our website but only now understand a bit more about them.
There’s a traditional process of making them. Come late June, when the grass is armpit deep, the meadow is ready for harvesting. The grass gets cut and it’s spread out at night time. Over the next two days, it’s turned and then they start building. There is a sort of frame work on the bottom and sometimes, an A-frame to work with. The hay gets stacked and more and more grass (mixed in with wild flowers etc.) gets thrown in the middle and is layered with a secret ingredient: salt! That apparently makes the cows thirsty, so they drink more and produce more milk!
We passed through 2 tunnels today on the Romanian side of the Danube.
Thursday was a dull looking and still rather cool and damp day. We made our way out of Hunedoara and onto Saliste where there is a museum of over 600 Catholic glass icons. It was not expensive to visit and not too far off our path so we decided to check it out.
It’s housed in a building beside a church and cemetery and we were the only guests while there. The lady at the entrance spoke a bit of English and she lent us a small book in English about the icons and we toured the two floors.
Painting on glass is a very ancient art and was introduced in Transylvania when it was annexed to the Habsburg Empire. The procedure was that the icon was painted under the glass rather than on it. In fact the icon is painted on what in the finished work will be the reverse of the glass panel, while the side that will be exposed to the viewer acts as a protective layer for the painting. This procedure requires that the design be applied in reverse so that when view, it will be appear correct. In the first phase the main outlines were drawn with a soft brush. Often, the design was copied from a standard model drawn on paper, placed on the surface to be painted and dampened with paraffin to make the transfer of the design easier. Then the colouring of the figures was completed paying particular attention to the order in which the painted was applied. In some cases in later years, use was made of small films of gold and silver which created special effects of light.
Paint was obtained exclusively from natural materials.
- White from lime
- Yellow from yellow mud
- Red from salts of lead oxide and cuprite
- Blue from cobalt salts
They were then mixed with animal fat, egg yolks of linseed oil depending on desired consistency. The brushes were made of cat tail hair or goose quills. When finished the painting received a coating of varnish to protect it. IT was often framed with wood from spruce trees and sometimes that would also be carved with a knife.
Here is what the glass looks like on the back side:
And here is the front:
And here are several they were on display (there were several renderings of the Last Supper and St. George – the Dragon Slayer):
We took this video as we drove out of town:
Can you make out anything unusual about them? Took us a while; we’ll reveal the answer at the end of the blog.
This was a rather short visit and we returned to Minou to drive into Sibiu which is known for its main square. We parked outside the historical centre and walked in mostly on pedestrian streets. It was a lovely large square with many alleys off of it.
We saw many bakeries where you do not enter the shop at all but are served at a window. We saw many people enjoying items from bakeries and took a peek:
The items in the above photo is are “gogosis” and they looked like a large empanada to us. There were a few flavours to try and we decided to try three and make that our brunch. They were good with the ham and cheese being the best as the strawberry was just made with jam and the plain, was well, plain – could have used a bit of a salt or sugar topping.
Yes, we are in the state of Transylvania!
We had found a small RV aire right in the city for 100 RON (just under $20) a night with power, bathrooms, showers, water, dumping and Wi-Fi so since it’s cold these nights and we’d rather not run our furnace too much, we went there for the night so we can use our electric heater instead of propane and it’s time for showers and popcorn (for which we need power to run the popper).
Upon arriving here, there’s a locked gate; you call the number on the door and she sends you a text with the code to unlock the gates (one is to drive through, the other is pedestrian). Upon receiving it, you enter, provide here with your details and her husband comes by in the evening to collect the fee.
We both went for walks this afternoon and as well catching upon on online stuff that we don’t like to use our data for. When we arrived here there were two other campervans and then one left. By the morning there were seven so it’s a popular place – we are in a small city here and as usual finding place to spend the night without being in a parking lot is difficult, so a place like this at a reasonable cost, fills up quick!
After showers in the morning we hit the road again (the owner never came by to collect the fee so we dropped it in the mailbox as instructed if he didn’t show), stopping for groceries and we made our way to the medieval city of Sighisoara. Here Vlad Tepes aka “Vlad the Impaler” aka “Dracula” had a home as well. We walked around seeing the sights and enjoying the pedestrian streets.
We walked around the city for about an hour starting through the Covered Staircase:
Up, up up to the Hill Church (Lutheran)
Saw some of the city wall towers:
And many cobbled streets.
We returned to Minou and made our way to the small village of Carta where we plan to spend the night before driving what Top Gear’s jost Jeremy Clarkson calls “The world’s best driving road”: the Transfăgărășan Road which stretches over 90 kilometres (56 miles), cutting through the Făgăraș Mountains, the Transfăgărășan is filled with hairpin turns. The views get more and more spectacular as you go higher, the top being at 2,134 meters (7,000 feet).
We are putting this off until Saturday due to the weather conditions today as driving it in the rain can be a be hairy (and we expect if it’s raining here, it’s snowing up there!). We are trying to stick to our drive at least 100 km / 60 mi a day rule and we’ve already done 160 km so we’re ahead of schedule.
The town of Carta is tiny but its claim to fame is a monastery ruin – the Cisterciene Monastery was built in the early 1200’s and now it a very cool looking ruin:
We parked off a tiny park on the street and after finishing up our steps had a quiet afternoon and evening. It was another very cool night; down to 4C /40F. Had to use the furnace once to take the chill out of the air in the mid evening and lately, we’ve switched to our “winter” slippers indoors and it’s not even the end of September however, we are in the mountainous region of Transylvania although not all that high.
Saturday morning there was some fog that lasted for about 30 minutes of our drive to the Transfăgărășan Road. When it cleared the sky was blue and it made for a spectacular scenic drive! Going early was a wise move as there were few vehicles but a few idiots near the top.
We hit snow and ice and snow plows! (four in total).
To reach the top at 2042 m / 6700‘ we had lots of twists and hairpin turns and went under 21 avalanche covers/tunnels. Doug had fun driving this road but had to admit his heart was in his throat at times, mostly due to the icy parts – we stopped once for a photo looking down:
and Minou complained about getting going on the ice! Then an idiot in a Beamer, was stopped angled across the road (maybe he’d slid) and we had to stop to let him get going again but at least this time we had pavement under the right side of the vehicle. At the top you go through a tunnel of about a kilometre then down the other side.
This side was not as scenic and less snowy.
The road was still quite windy and then it straightened until we had to follow the edges of Lake Vidraru – it was windy but not steep.
As we crossed at the bottom of the lake, we got this shot because most of the drive, you could see nothing for the trees.
At the end of the Transfăgărășan Road we turned left and made our way to Bran to see “Dracula’s Castle” (see pic at the top).
Enroute we actually found diesel at 8 RON even per litre so we filled up and this was the cheapest fuel so far this trip: 5.94 a gallon.
Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia from 1456-1462 and 1476, and who, for largely political reasons, was depicted by some historians of that time as a blood-thirsty ruthless despot.
Stoker’s character, Count Dracula, first appeared in the novel “Dracula”, published in England in 1897, by the Irish writer Bram Stoker. But the name “Dracula”, far from being a frightening term, derives from the Crusader Order of the Dragon with which Order both Vlad Tepes and his father had been associated. The rest of the Dracula myth derives from the legends and popular beliefs in ghosts and vampires prevalent throughout Transylvania.
Stoker’s Count Dracula is a centuries-old vampire, sorcerer, and Transylvanian nobleman, who claims to be a Székely descended from Attila the Hun. He inhabits a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains. In his conversations with the character Jonathan Harker, Dracula reveals himself as intensely proud of his boyar culture with a yearning for memories of his past. Count Dracula appears to have studied the black arts at the Academy of Scholomance in the Carpathian Mountains, near the town of Sibiu (then known as Hermannstadt). While Stoker named his Transylvanian Count “Dracula”, he was careful not to suggest an actual link to the historical character of Vlad Tepes. While Stoker’s character Van Helsing muses as to whether Count Dracula might be the Voivode Dracula, he obviously is not since Count Dracula of Transylvania is plainly not Prince Vlad Tepes of Wallachia and Stoker was disinclined at all to make his character a real person of historic significance.
In the villages near Bran, there is a belief in the existence of evil spirits called ghosts or “steregoi” (a variant of “strigoi”). Until half a century ago, it was believed that there existed certain living people – “strigoi” – who were leading a normal life during the day but at night, during their sleep, their souls left their bodies and haunted the village tormenting people in their sleep. These evil spirits haunt their prey from midnight until the first cockcrow, when their power to harm people faded. “The undead [i.e., ghosts, vampires] suffer from the curse of immortality,” writes Stoker, “they pass from one period to another, multiplying their victims, augmenting the evil in the world…” The Dracula character derives from these local myths.
As for Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Walachia, he does, indeed, have an association with Bran Castle. Vlad was involved in several campaigns to punish the German merchants of Brasov who failed to abide by his commands as regards their trade in his Walachian markets. Passage to Wallachia was through Bran, the closest gorge to Brasov, which connects with Targoviste, Vlad Tepes’ capital. The original customs houses at which taxes were collected from merchants entering Transylvania are still at the base of Bran Castle. The relationships with the Bran lords were not very cordial, as they were representatives of the Citadel of Brasov, which were hostile to Vlad the Impaler. It is not known if Vlad Tepes captured Bran Castle. Written documents do not describe it. The documents that do exist in archives with regard to Bran Castle, are mainly administrative and refer to the income and expenditure of the domain of the Bran Fortress, with little mention of political and military events.
As we were about 1.5 km away from the parking lot Fran had found where not only could we park free to visit the castle but could stay the night, we hit a huge slow down. We figured it had to be construction related; but nope; it was just heavy traffic. Seems we picked the weekend of some sort of festival (no one could tell us what it was) and parking was scarce! Just before getting to the lot we had in mind, we saw a spot open on the other side of the road that was long enough for us and Doug nabbed. It was a good thing, because on our walk to see the castle, we had to pass by the lot we had planned on parking in, and it was chock a block full! People were walking everywhere as there was no sidewalk and most of the time, no shoulder until we got closer to the castle and even then, it was mostly just a dirt shoulder that the police had set up a police tape barrier on. We had read up on this castle (see above) and decided not to visit inside but wanted to see it and get our country souvenir from here. We spotted the castle while walking into town and stopped for a photo:
We then walked up past it and got this through the high wrought iron fence:
We carried on into the town and Fran spotted a bazaar area which looked like a good place to do our Christmas souvenir shopping. It turned out that down this alley is the entrance to the castle and it was wall to wall people! We were glad we’d decided not to enter the grounds because it was too touristy, we knew it wasn’t really Dracula’s castle and there were too many people to be want to be indoors with.
We checked out the vendors and at one point the area open up on the right and there were more; here is where we found what we wanted and then we made our way back down the gauntlet of vendors (we do have to say that they were not pushy or aggressive at all) and went back to the road back towards Minou.
We had a few more glimpses up at the castle and then upon returning, decided to eat brunch and leave as it could be hours before that parking lot we wanted was empty enough to park for the night because we had no idea how long that festival would last and perhaps it would be late into the evening so that would mean a noisy night.
So we made our way southeast towards Bucharest which was our next stop but we’d already done over 200km / 167 m today and Bucharest was another 180 km. However, looking at our various camping apps, the pickings were slim for overnight spots, even if we wanted to pay. Most of the ones along the highway were not our cup of tea and there were large gaps between places.
Fran finally found one about 40km from the capital in Snagov although a little off the route and we settled on that. We arrived about five o’clock so it was a long a$$ driving day. The overnight spot was the parking lot of a soccer stadium that had a garbage bin, porta potties and we found two open Wi-Fi networks! Bonus! We are now out of the mountains and it’s pretty darn flat here coming into Bucharest with lots and lots of farmer’s fields. At least that means it’s not so cold – only supposed to drop to 10 C tonight. And it’s supposed to be in the mid-twenties in Bucharest tomorrow! YEAH!
Today other than the 21 avalanche covers, we passed through a total of four tunnels including the one at the top of the pass. We drove a total of 385 km / 240 mi.
Considering it was a Saturday night and we were parked at a soccer field, we were very surprised Sunday morning that there had not been any partiers coming to hang around this place. We both slept very well. After Doug’s run and Fran’s exercises, we packed up and made our way the short distance into Bucharest. It’s a cold morning (only 6C/ 43 f) but it’s supposed to hit the low 20’s C / low 70’sF here today – we are very pleased but heading out the door, we both wore jeans and fleece jackets.
Being Sunday morning (the day we like best to come into the bigger cities) the traffic was light and the drive towards downtown was down a pleasant wide boulevard lined with trees leading to their Arc de Triumph.
Arcul de Triumf is a triumphal arch located in the northern part of Bucharest on the Kiseleff Road.
The first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence (1878), so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another arch with concrete skeleton and plaster exterior of elaborate sculptures and decoration designed by Petre Antonescu was built on the same site after World War I in 1922. The arch exterior, which had seriously decayed, was replaced in 1935 by the current much more sober Neoclassical design, more closely modelled in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The new arch, also designed by Petre Antonescu and executed in stone, was inaugurated on 1 December 1936.
The arch has a height of 27 metres. It has as its foundation a 25 x 11.50 metres rectangle. The sculptures with which the facades are decorated were created by famous Romanian sculptors such as Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea.
Presently, military parades are held beneath the arch each 1 December, with the occasion of Romania’s national holiday.
Fran had found a place with free street parking and we got parked along the sidewalk and felt it was safe to leave Minou a couple of hours while we explored. We didn’t expect to be here that long as there not a huge number of things to check out. We rarely go to museums and art galleries anymore unless there is something really unique about them, so walking around enjoying the architecture and “eye candy” is our thing.
We walked in the direction of the furthest sight and then made our way back towards the parking spot.
First up was to view the National Museum of History:
Then we made our way down a pedestrian street to see a monastery that was quite nice decorated and across the street was the city’s oldest beer hall turned restaurant:
We saw a palace that needed some TLC:
Then a brick Greek Orthodox Church from 1722 with some pretty well preserved fresco on this “porch”. Being Sunday you can hear mass being said all over the city and so that meant no entry into the churches to take a peek.
Then it was on to a weird sculpture and a memorial to those who died in the 1989 revolution.
We saw the Roman Ateneul – a sort of concert hall:
A beautiful book store that reminded us of the lovely one we saw in Buenos AIries but on a smaller, whiter scale:
This town has some cool named bars/restaurants:
We tried to see the Old Court Princely Palace but it was under major renovations. Next door was another Orthodox Church that was holding a mass outside!
By now we’re getting hungry and Doug googled a place to have breakfast; there were many cafes open but most just looked like coffee and pastries and we wanted something more substantial. We found the Arcade Café that had tables outside in the sun. We sat with our backs to the sun and had a lovely hot meal.
We wandered the streets of old town a bit and then went on to our final and “largest” thing to see was the Romanian palace of the parliament – 2nd largest building in the WORLD after the Pentagon.
It was built during the communist rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu at a cost of €4 billion (making it the most expensive administrative building in the world) and today holds both levels of government, three museums, The Palace reaches a height of 84 metres (276’), has a floor area of 365,000 square metres (3,930,000 square feet) and a volume of 2,550,000 cubic metres (90,000,000 cubic feet). The Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world, weighing about 4,098,500,000 kilograms (9.04 billion pounds; 4.10 million tons).
Known for its ornate interior composed of 23 sections, the palace houses the two chambers of the Parliament of Romania: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, along with three museums and an international conference center. The museums in the Palace are the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Commuist Totalitarianism (established in 2015) and the Museum of the Palace. Though originally named the House of the Republic when under construction, the palace became widely known as The People’s House after the Romanian Revolution of December 1989. Due to its impressive characteristics, events organized by state institutions and international bodies such as conferences and symposia take place there, but despite this, about 70% of the building remains empty.
There is a huge pay parking lot right across the street and leading from that is another tree and fountain lined boulevard that was hard to capture the enormity of: (it runs for several blocks)
We have had enough of the cooler temperatures and are in need of seeing the beach again so we decided to make our way eastward towards the Black Sea to check out the beaches north of Constanta. This is the area where the Romania resorts are located. Fran checked for campgrounds near or on the beach and we chose one of the two higher rated ones that had a washing machine to get caught up once again.
In order to get here, we crossed the Danube once again! Since approaching Bucharest, the countryside had gotten quite flat but in this area, it was rolling hills, farmland and some vineyards.
Leaving Bucharest, we realized that the road to Constanta was a toll road and we had to figure out how to pay it. Turns out you need a vignette like in Austria and luckily you could get online and it would be valid in less than an hour – took about 7 minutes and we were good to go. We never saw toll signs elsewhere in the country, so we hope we won’t be fined!
We arrived around 3:30 and after a bit of a language barrier got parked and show where amenities were located. There is power and water at the sites; clean bathrooms with hot showers, very good Wi-Fi and a washing machine to use but not on Sundays and only from 9 to 6 the other days (?).
While it’s not right on the beach, it’s about 400m away (we had read 250m so that was disappointing) and we went to check it out after parking.
It’s super windy out and we wonder if this is an all-day thing or not. The beach was pretty much deserted but it is a sandy beach with lots of shells and pieces of shells. There is nothing on the beach up at this north end so if we decided to stay in this area more than one night we might relocate down towards the middle of the beach strip more. Fran will get the laundry done in the morning and then we could leave by noon.
The wind continued into the night but must have calmed down at some point as it was just a slight breeze by morning. Doug went for a walk to check out the other highly rated campground and at 9 when the laundry room opened, Fran went to get that done.
Sadly, the laundry room did not open at 9 as expected and so at 9:10 Fran walked over to the reception area but it was all locked up too. There were two men there dismantling a wedding reception that was held there yesterday (it was over before we arrived) and one of them spoke English. He told us the caretaker was not here and was probably home sleeping yesterday off! He’d send him over to us when he arrived.
Doug returned with no good news about the other campground and said all the beach bars/restaurants seemed to be closed. So there wasn’t much point in hanging around here with the strong wind and lack of beach services. Too bad; seems we’re pointlessly chasing summer which clearing seems to be over around here.
By 10:30 there was still no sign of the caretaker so we decided to leave. We couldn’t pay because he wasn’t here either but there was a Swiss couple parked in the next spot (probably the only other campers as the rest of the vehicles looked deserted and kinda of permanent) and they are staying another day or two so we gave them our money to give him when they saw him.
Fran had found a self-serve car wash on Organic Maps and we’ve been talking about cleaning Minou so we headed there before heading to a laundry that Fran also found on park4night. Luckily, there was an employee here to help us translate and show us how to operate it. There were three stalls with no roof and high hoses so we nabbed one of those. We got it done in about fifteen minutes, pulled out, dried the windows and were on our way.
We had a free parking spot near the beach in mind a few kilometres away along the same beach as we’d see but more in the centre of things; nope – it was no longer free and the spots looked too short for Minou; we drove along the beach road and saw a lot of boarded up bars/restaurants so we gave up and drove to the laundromat.
The clothes were washed and dried in under an hour (a new record we believe) and while they were being washed we went to a baker for some brekkie. We also met an Israeli couple who came in to do their laundry too and helped them with change for the bill breaking machine. Lee and Or (not sure if we spelled your names correctly) were on vacation with their baby in a rented motorhome from Bulgaria.
After taking care of all of the above, it’s now past 1pm and we didn’t want to drive too much today we Fran found a wild camp on the Black Sea on a small “cliff” where we had an amazing view of what seemed to be ocean as you cannot see the other side! It’s about the size of Germany and the size of the State of California.
Sidebar: The Black Sea is anoxic, meaning there is absolutely no oxygen in the water.
We got parked up, took a walk down the rocky beach debating on whether to drive down to it; rejected that idea and then relaxed over the afternoon. As mentioned, this is a wild camp with no services except a cell phone signal (4G) but we could pick up some random open Wi-Fi as well that seemed to work better on our laptops than on our phones. It was nice to see and hear waves again as we had not seen much of them on the Adriatic. We could see the sea from both our dining room window and Fran’s bedroom window.
We have been discussing next steps in our travel. Doug’s been experiencing two dental issues, Fran has one and she needs new glasses. We’ve decided we’ll head to Turkey later this week passing through eastern Bulgaria and getting these issues and more as well as few things with Minou done in Turkey. If we don’t see Turkey now, it means backtracking later as well to get there as we hope to do the remain Balkan countries before entering Greece in early December (we have already booked our flights to Serena and Kurt’s for the holidays departing December 19th).
So we have decided to stay here another night, then take three or four days to get to the Turkish border via Bulgaria, do a loop through Turkey, get things done and then returned to Bulgaria to finish it and carry on.
So Tuesday morning, Doug went for his run, Fran exercised and then later went for a walk into the nearby town. Yesterday when we walked down to the beach, we saw a concrete walkway but assumed it didn’t extend very far. Fran checked it out and it went south maybe 50m but it went north all the way into the town and there she find a few beaches, one of which was quite large with no rocks.
Enroute she passed a desert Nudist Beach that had signs painted on the concrete path both before and after it:
The town seems deserted with boarded up restaurants, abandoned hotels/buildings and she only met one couple on the beach other than a few fisherman at the pier.
She did have to dip her toes into the Black Sea though:
That night the clouds gathered and by 8:30 we were witnessing lightning strikes. By bedtime the thunder began and it rained hard for a while. Must have stopped a bit later but it was sufficient rain to make the ground quite wet Wednesday morning. It was an absolutely glorious morning.
After shutting down, we left to head southward towards Bulgaria. Before hitting the border we spent our remaining RON diesel and it was the best price we’d encountered in the whole country, actually, during the entire time we’ve been in the EU. It was 7.92 RON a litre which with today’s great exchange rate, was $5.80 USD a gallon.
We travelled a total of 1237 km / 768 mi in Romania.
Fun Facts about Romania:
1. It has the best preserved delta in Europe; the Danube forms a wonderful delta before flowing into the Black Sea.
2. The biggest Gothic church is in Romania – The Black Church of Brașov is unparalleled in Eastern Europe, being the biggest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul.
3. An underground glacier is hidden here; The Scărișoara Glacier can be found underneath the Bihor Mountains, and is the second largest underground glacier in Europe. With a volume of 75,000 cubic meters, the glacier has been in existence for more than 3,500 years.
5. The first city in the Europe to have electric street lights was Bucharest.
6. The modern jet engine was invented by a Romanian; Henry Coanda developed an experimental aircraft that used the world’s first jet engine.
7. Actors: Edward G. Robinson, Johnny Weissmuller (the first Tarzan) and Dustin Hoffman were all born in Romania.
8. The creator of the coffee machine was born here; many people drink today Illy coffee, with many an Italian claiming espresso as part of their national heritage. But few know that Francesco Illy, creator of the automatic steam espresso coffee machine, was born in the Romanian city of Timișoara. He then moved to Italy where he opened its business, the world-known coffee roasting company Illy Caffe.
9. The world’s first top-scoring Olympic gymnast is Romanian; Nadia Comăneci, a Romanian gymnast, was the first in the world to receive a 10 in an Olympic Competition of Gymnastics during the 1976 Olympic Summer Games organized in Montreal, Canada.
10. In 1986 the Romanian soccer club, Steaua Bucuresti, became the first Eastern European club to win the very prestigious European Champions Cup title.
11. Romania has faster internet than the United States; During the US Presidential Campaign, Senator Bernie Sander’s declared that “Today, people living in Bucharest, Romania have access to much faster internet than most of the US.” According to dospeedtest.com, Romania has a peak internet speed of 58.7 Mbps, which makes it the 7th nation with fastest internet in the world, compared to the US where peak connection speeds are about 48.8 Mbps, placing it 17th. Moreover, Romania consumes more internet on an average than any European country, having a monthly traffic of 91 GB for fixed broadband lines.
** The weird thing about the houses in the video about is they have NO door facing the street! Most houses here have fences around them with large gates so their “front” doors must be inside that “compound”.