I got the Two-Lane-Highway Blues.

Transylvania Travel Blog

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Typical Romanian driving speed.

Another day, another drive to a small Transylvanian town.

Driving in Romania has been more of a chore than a fun road-trip adventure. Even the major roads are often only two-lanes, frequently interrupted by spans of construction. Our drive to Sinaia was just 43 km (27 miles) but it took about an hour and a half to complete. So much of our commuting time here has been spent parked on the road, waiting for a man to flip his sign from red to green. During these times, the Romanians turn off their engines, get out of the car, have a cigarette, maybe drink a cup of coffee from the Thermos they’ve wisely carried along. It’s a cultural event. When we get moving again, everyone drives like a bat out of hell to make up that lost time, passing despite oncoming cars (we have seen sooo many near misses), careening around hairpin corners, and closely tailgating anyone going less than warp speed.
The palace in Sinaia.
Yep, a real chore.

So we did make it to Sinaia. It’s in the mountains, and blanketed with towering pines. The air is cooler, and it smells terrific. It’s kind of a long city strung out along the freeway, not a nice compact square shape like our Brasov. There is a gorgeous palace -- the reason we went -- but since it is Monday it was closed. Oops. We keep learning this same lesson, “Closed on Monday,”  but it just doesn’t sink in with us. Never mind though…it was a nice long uphill walk to the palace, through a pretty forest (posted with bear warning signs!). Despite it being closed, many others were making the same trip. We all walked around the grounds admiring the palace, which is in perfect condition. “The style is German Renaissance (you might recognize it as mock Tudor).
Gorgeous pines on the grounds of Sinaia Palace.
” That’s what my guidebook says. I think it’s real purdy.

We also visited a monastery on our way up the mountain. We saw about a thousand Buddhist monasteries in Thailand, but this is the first Christian one we have seen on this trip. It seemed very much a working monastery, and some event was going on. Men in black robes were rushing around, and food was being unloaded from a car. We visited two chapels then moved on. I was more interested in that food than the grounds and chapels, quite honestly.

Later, after an equally frustrating drive home we were finally back at the hotel. We stopped in to the office do the check-out paperwork with the hotel’s owner. He’s a dear man, but once he gets going, it’s impossible to escape! The man likes to talk. He has a thick German accent that makes him slightly hard to follow, and when he forgets an English phrase he hits himself in the head with his palm and says, “mama mia!”.
The church at Sinaia monastery.
Today he described some progress he has made on another room (he has three rooms now, and through renovations he continues to add more. Slowly.). Since we showed some interest, he gave us a tour of all the rooms (very nice, with different designs in each one). He also showed us the cavernous old attic of the house he is still working on. When I say “house” it is probably not evoking the proper picture. This is a 15th century monster that goes on forever. It’s huge! When he gets done here, he could have a dozen rooms, a restaurant, a gallery… he has big plans... and a LOT of work to do. The attic was a little frightening, as I felt I might fall through the floor any minute and land in the restaurant below. He described the work he has done (removed the original triple-thick floor tiles, which were so heavy the place was caving in; shored up the foundations; improved the inner support walls, etc.
Our host shows us his ongoing project... the work to be done on a 15th century home is never complete!
) He pointed out which boards to avoid as we walked through, and we made it unscathed.  

Because of all that hard work driving, we needed an ice cream treat out in the square. Then I went to work on my computer, working out some plans for South America. This evening, we had an excellent dinner at Casa Hirscher, recommended by our German friend as well as our guidebook. I had a niçoise salad, Steve a chef salad. Then back to our room.

Tomorrow’s agenda: more driving :^(. We have to get to Bucharest to catch a plan to Hungary. :^)  


reikunboy says:
This part of Romania looks really beautiful
Posted on: Aug 06, 2008
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Typical Romanian driving speed.
Typical Romanian driving speed.
The palace in Sinaia.
The palace in Sinaia.
Gorgeous pines on the grounds of S…
Gorgeous pines on the grounds of …
The church at Sinaia monastery.
The church at Sinaia monastery.
Our host shows us his ongoing proj…
Our host shows us his ongoing pro…
My what big mountains you have.
My what big mountains you have.
The church at Sinaia monastery.
The church at Sinaia monastery.
Painting detail in Sinaia monaster…
Painting detail in Sinaia monaste…
The chapel at Sinaia monastery.
The chapel at Sinaia monastery.
Palace outbuilding.
Palace outbuilding.
Sinaia Palace statuary.
Sinaia Palace statuary.
Sinaia Palace statuary.
Sinaia Palace statuary.
Me.
Me.
(I wish I would see one!)
(I wish I would see one!)
Everywhere there are tourists, the…
Everywhere there are tourists, th…
I think Mr Bear may have had somet…
I think Mr Bear may have had some…
The attic at our Casa Rozelor. It …
The attic at our Casa Rozelor. It…
Transylvania
photo by: Marius1981