The building in front of the castles
I am leaving Bucharest in the morning to go a bit north to Sinaia a small town which is the home to some of the most famous castles in Romania. The trip gives me the first introduction to Romanian trains. They come in 5 different variants which also describes 4 different kinds of speeds of the trains some are called express and intercity trains. In reality the speed could better be described as slow, very slow, extremely slow and unbelievable slow. I get into one of the extremely slow ones and start making some progress towards Sinaia.
When I get to the train station I am greeted by two men who ask me if I need accommodation since I got nothing planed I say yes and we agree on a price.
Then we started walking a bit down the road my guide to the place is a pretty old man who speaks no English and walks really slowly - a lot slower than I would like despite the fact I am actually carrying some luggage.
We get to one place and nobody answer the doorbell. He walks on to the next place - same result. Then one more place with no one home. Finally he takes me to a hotel - where the rate is 20 lei (about 5$) more than agreed. I tell him to go away and I will find somewhere else - but he insist on following me and suddenly he can move a lot faster than before. We get into a house - which we had just past on the way to the hotel. There is an old lady home. And he talks to her and once more tries to increase the price over the agreed amount. I am just about to walk out when the price magically drops and I pay the lady.
Then my guide ask for a tip of 10 lei for his services which I have no intention of paying him and I am just about to take my money back walk out again when he drops the claim and walks outside with the old lady who I presume pays him something for bringing m to her.
The room I got is ok it is pretty old fashion which is natural considering it is the private room in a house of a old lady - a bit more worrisome is that it is actually freezing cold which I did not notice at first - but the old lady turns on the heat - probably for the first time this winter and temperature starts to rise from about 10 Celsius.
After being well settled (which took about 2 minutes) I walked out to go to the castles in the city there is two very famous castles built around the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
I walk up the hill which is a short walk from where I stay and get to the entrance. At the entrance I realize that the castles are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays as well. Great there is no way I can get in and go on a tour. I walk around and get to the gate of the Peles castles where the guard say I can not go in - after I tell him I wont be back he say he will let me walk around for 10 lei on the outside for 15 minutes - considering the tours inside the castles is 15 lei I think he is exploiting the situation a bit too much and I say no and go back somewhat disappointed. But I guess if had actually read a bit closer in the Lonely Planet I would have noticed it actually state that the castles is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
I walk down from the castles and on the road I pass the Sinaia monastery and go in and have a look it is a very nice little building on the road to town. The houses in the town are actually quite interesting they don't really look Eastern European but remind me of Germany. This is not all that surprising given there where a lot of Germans living nearby until a few decades ago.