Just Chillin’

I was expecting Romania to be a bit cooler, temperature wise, compared to where we have been recently and sure enough we have, even in September, had a few sub-zero mornings already and the days are decidedly cooler, which has been enjoyable for us, at least at the moment.

One of my impressions of Romania so far, even more than the rest of eastern Europe that we have seen, is that it seems to me a frustrating combination of both CONTROL and KAOS (control as in “control freak” and chaos as in “who gives a f**k”), but as applied to almost the opposite aspects of life that I would. The bizarre but hilarious thing though, is that not long after this epiphany of sorts, I discovered that in the TV series “Get Smart”, KAOS was actually said to have been formed in Bucharest, Romania!

So now let’s get back to our travels. After leaving Maramures we drove to the region of Moldavia in the north east of the country where we had not much more than a few days to check out the local attractions which were mostly … you guessed it … monasteries. Although not of the wooden variety, nor the more famous and colourful “painted” variety slightly further to the north, the ones we did visit, being tucked away in forests or down little used country roads, had nowhere near the tourist trade of their more famous brethren and there were certainly still lots of ‘em.

They were all called monasteries but some were actually convents, with around 400 nuns resident in the one that we visited. That particular one was a favourite of Sunny’s not least because she was given some coliva, a heavy but not too sweet cake served at certain religious observances, as well as receiving a red rose from the gardens, courtesy of the priest there. The architecture of all of those we saw had some similarities but varied enough for each to be quite different and the feeling we got from each was also quite distinct from the others.

Brasov was next on the itinerary to return the car to, but not before a brief trip to Castles Bran and Rasnov, both of which unfortunately didn’t turn out to be that impressive and were, also unfortunately, huge tourist traps that feed on the Dracula and Transylvania myth without any credible connection to either Vlad Tepes (AKA Vlad the Impaler) or to Bram Stoker, the author of the legendary villain. Apparently, the actual region where the book was set was where we had passed through in the north on the way to Moldavia, which was very scenic and not at all spooky. Bran Castle in comparison sits right in the middle of the small town of the same name and is surrounded by tacky souvenir stands and all the other paraphenalia of the trade. Rasnov, although in a much better location, has little else to offer and they seem to promote the “Dino Park” just below it more than the castle itself which inside is little more than a souvenir village. If you’re planning on heading to Romania at some stage yourself you may well enjoy a trip to them, but for us, not so much.

Back in Brasov we had some very crisp mornings that brought some amazingly colourful dawns and sunrises as seen from our apartment which had a good view over the city, including the citadel (with an industrial chimney stack well behind it looking like it sprouts from the roof).

It was then just a short train ride (so easy!) to Sinaia which is technically in the Wallachia region but is usually included in Transylvania geographically being right under the Carpathian Mountains. And here we now are, staying in an apartment for ten days for some R&R, with nothing much on the agenda and just chillin’ until we head on to KAOS headquarters in Bucharest for our final few days in the country.

Although we have enjoyed our time so far here in Romania, eastern Europe on the whole has been a bit too similar in look, feel and culture for our tastes and doesn’t have anywhere near the same attraction for us as the Mediterranean countries, giving us little motivation to return. Your mileage may of course, vary.

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