Dad ‘n Ali (rough notes)

April 2005

Romania Map


Saturday – Arrive Bucharest late evening; wander a bit and get a cheese pastry from one of the shops you find all over.


Sunday – wander in daylight; have lunch; wait for car; finally head to Brasov and spend hours futilely looking for a particular place to stay.  Stay in the city.


Monday – explore Brasov; get lost; drive to Lacu Rosu.


Tuesday – depart Lacu Rosu (after “no credit cards” scare) then get a flat.  Swap the tire but can’t find the hubcap.  Get to all the monasteries we wanted to and push it to get to Vatra Dornei.


Wednesday – tough drive to Sighisoara.  Get hubcap in Targu Mueres!


Thursday – get tire changed while Ali explores; attempt to drive Rt 7C – closed for snow.  Take cable car to the top anyway.  Impossible drive on Rt 7 to Curtea de Arges.


Friday – drive to Bucharest.  Impossible navigating in Bucharest but get to the airport right on time to drop off car.  Plane back to Istanbul.




Detail of Sign for olde world restaurant.


Mosaic on the front of a church  (that had been relocated for the Palace).


Little shop window – they have everything! you need.  Electronics, Jesus icons, a happy Buddha, potato peelers, light bulbs.  And that’s just one part of the window.


Ali in the hotel lobby.


Ceaucescu’s Folly.  He had 1/6th of the old towen bulldozed to make room for this and his fake Champs Elysee.  Look at Ali and the cars to get a sense of the size of it.  The country was practically bankrupted to build this and then he was overthrown right before it was finished in 1989.


Bucharest City-Scape


It was always interesting, the various architectures in the city. 


Here you’ve got Ottoman and the church and rather ugly flats.  With a wall plastered with signs. 


A curious place.




(Ali picture)


Brasov City Center


Romanian cities have a heritage of being populated and associated with specific ethnic groups.  Some cities are (or were) Hungarian; some were Saxon – populated with Germans from 500 miles away.


Brasov and, later, Sighisoara are Saxon towns.


Here the main road and square have been closed to cars and there are many interesting shops.


The path leads up to the main square and the “Black Cathedral”


Scenes in Brasov


A beautiful white church with a hill of green to set it off. 


Just off to the left was the green house – interesting design.


Everyone seemed to be enjoying the parks… here a few games of chess.



More Scenes in Brasov



On the side of the Black Cathedral was the School (the pink building).    The children were in a sort of gym class, running around in a circle.


Ali and our lace table-cloth seller. 


One of those pastry “holes in the wall”.  This time it was chocolate.


For Jeremy – the local Axa.



Lacu Rosu


You drive for kilometers through the mountains to get to this tiny resort… and there is no-one else there but us (it seemed).  Some places weren’t even open yet.




Lacu Rosu Cliff


Along these incredible roads there were great views of gorges and cliffs.


There is a cross visible at the top of the rock.  I’d say that he cross itself  is about 15 feet high.




Painted Monasteries


We visited four of the monasteries:

·        Voronet

·        Moldovita

·        Humor

·        Sucevita


They were all built between 1520 and 1540, painted inside and out.  The paint is original – it has faded on the south side from the sun.




Scenes from Monasteries


Note that the picture in the middle depicts the siege of Cnstantinople by the Muslims in 1453.
Road Away from Sucevita


Driving Scenes


Farm animals roam freely, right up to the train tracks.


Alison made a new friend at the cable car place.


Shepherd at the end of the day – at the bottom of the mountain Rt 7C.


Interesting timbered house.


More farm animals at the edge of the road.


Sighisoara – Our Hotel


Hotel Wagner – according to Lonely Planet “arguably Romania’s loveliest hotel”.


The old town is built inside huge 14th Century walls at the top of a very large hill.  We are just inside the walls of the citadel.


Sighisoara – Up to the top of the Citadel


Sighisoara – Clock Tower (1648)


The ochre-colored house on the right is reputed to Vlad Tepes (aka Prince Dracula) birthplace.  We had lunch in the restaurant inside.


Along the Road – Horse and Cart


Everywhere we went, horse and cart was a major means of transportation of goods and people. 


It was a constant contrast – everything from 18-wheelers to these beautiful horses.


At the Top of the Transilvania Alps


The road (Rt. 7C) was closed so we took the cable car from Blue Cascade to Blue Lake.


At the bottom – it was spring.


At the top we stepped out of the little block building into four feet of snow and a white-out.


This – the sign and the dog – was all you could see.  Period.


So we followed the arrow and found a stake in the snow.  The snow had been compressed into a path by a sled.  When we found a stake we could then see another.  We finally made it to the lodge and had lunch.  Later the clouds lifted and we got a great view of a tiny tiny village far below.


Back to the Bottom of the Mountain


Down at the bottom, it was spring time again; this farmer seemed to be calling it a day and was trotting through the fields as the shepherd (other picture) was bringing his flock home.