I got the Two-Lane-Highway Blues.
Transylvania Travel Blog› entry 182 of 251 › view all entries
August 4th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
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.
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).
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!”.
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. :^)
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