A Romanian Tour
Take a Romanian Tour – from Wallachia to Transylvania
When I say Romanian Tour, what do you imagine? “Vampires, the Country of Dracula!”, you will say! Well, I have to disappoint you. There are no vampires here. If you ever had dreams of having your blood sucked by a vampire woman, here in Romania, you’d go back home in tears because you travelled around the world and you didn’t even met a baby vampire. As we, Romanians, usually are welcoming hosts, we might find an actress to dress her up to have your fantasy half –fulfilled. If you want to get bitten, then bite yourself, – in reality, Romania has the most incredible and beautiful rural landscape!
Since I started my tour-operating business, I’ve travelled a lot and, in spite of Romania being my country, I keep getting surprised. Romania is a country of contrasts, a country of old traditions in a new world, it is a country of permanent surprises and experiences. Prince Charles spoke only the best about Romanian country side. Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear asserted that Romania has one of the most beautiful roads in the world in the Transfagarasan Highway, and I’m totally in love with it!
Now, without kidding, I have to tell you that Romania is a blessed country. In spite of its medium size, about 238.ooo square kilometers ( it is similar to UK’s size), Romania comprises all geographical forms except desert. This is a relief, isn’t it? The beautiful Carpathian Mountains cut the country into three big slices, across time; these slices were also politically divided: Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia. We still speak in terms of these large territorial divisions and I am going to say a few words about each of them.
Once the traveller arrives in Bucharest they are welcomed into the heart of Wallachia. This is the region south of the Carpathians, the land less known for leisure travellers Bucharest is the capital and although it is the heart of Romania; it is not central, but located in the southern side of Romania. In Wallachia Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler ) used to rule – the character who inspired the fictional character of Dracula. Actually he was the leader of Wallachia three times, but never in Transylvania, in spite of the blood-inspired story of Bram Stoker, who described Dracula as count of Transylvania.
Driving across Romania, you either love it, or hate it. As soon as you leave Bucharest and drive or ride north towards the mountains, the plain scenery comes alive. You also feel how your driving style changes gradually, if during your way up to Ploiesti, you have small sips of coffee or long yawns, as soon as you reach the so called “turbo zone”, breathe deeply and drive (drivers nick- named it ”turbo zone” as you can pull the throttle at max. Take care – some radars might be hidden behind the bushes and you get a fine as a souvenir!). Then one curve after another, you just feel the road and let the playful s-bends tease you, while you control them and enjoy your driving up to Breaza, then go further up to Sinaia on your Romanian Tour.
You can stop here; have a break, enjoy your meal, not in the centre of the ski resort, but in the restaurant of a two star hotel, having tasty food at a reasonable price. I recommend you take your time, have a longer break and enjoy visiting the beautiful Peles Castle, once a royal summer house.
Mountain resorts are lined up one after another: Busteni, Azuga, Predeal up to Brasov. If you are not in a hurry, have another break in Busteni, have a short trip by cable car and visit the Romanian Sphinx, a natural wonder resembling the Egyptian one. Locals say that this megalith has magical power, other people consider it was made by aliens. Magical or not, the scenery around is just magnificent! Drive a bit longer on your Romanian Tour and you get to Brasov. Brasov (Kronstadt) is the gate to Transylvania and also the gateway to another world, even if people are still of Romanian nationality.
Even drivers and scenery become calmer. The turbulence of irritated drivers of the southern cities is left behind once you reach the high mountains. You can tell the local drivers by their snake like rhythm, looking happy when southern drivers overtake them. Most likely they are continuously amazed and in profound admiration with the rural beauty they grew up in it!
Taking a tour through Carpathians gives you such a big and enhancing feeling after you cross them, the mountains transform into green hills, the curves are less sudden. On the gentle hills around, now and there a hay stack or a cow herd spices the landscape. A man is riding a horse on the middle of the national road, another horse –drawn cart appears on your way! Welcome to Transylvania, where you never get bitten by vampires, but you fall in love with a beautiful country.
If you are nice and follow me, I will carry on the story..:)