Breakfast at the hotel was….interesting, several types of sheep cheese, boar and deer salami, home made honeys and the tasty elderflower soda. It was actually really good, our host served us fresh thick black coffee and I tried a bit of everything while Peter stuck to his cereal.
(Great location for breakfast)
I’d definitely recommend the hotel as something a little different and the warm welcoming attitude of the host.
Our route to Brasov looked nice and simple on the map so off we went in the cool morning air. Our host had given us a map with a few points of interest to look out for on the way, and as the sun warmed the land we enjoyed the saxon villages and views over the countryside.
After about 45 minutes of driving we came to a town called Saschiz and noticed a huge ruined fortress overlooking it. Spotting signs up to it we turned the car around and set off up a steep gravel track hoping the car would make it.
We parked up near the top with no idea how to get there, after a quick walk in the wrong direction we set off up into the forest….hopefully to find the castle!
We walked up deep channels surrounded by dense forest thinking about the large bear population in Romania. When we emerged between old ruined gates of the fortress and a scenic view for miles. We explored the old ruins climbing up onto the ramparts and round collapsed towers. The best bit? That we were completely alone, having the car really gave us the freedom to just stop and see something off the beaten track.
(Walking up to the castle)
(Peter on the ramparts)
(Castle window overlooking the valley)
The walk up and down was very pretty with fields of wildflowers spread out before us and butterflies winging their way past.
It turns out the castle was called Taraneasca, and rumour has it the old well links to the town below through a secret tunnel.
Back in the car we continued our relaxed drive towards Brasov. After another 20 minutes or so and a quick petrol stop we saw another big fort on the hill. This was called Rupea and had been restored to good effect.
(View from the road)
We parked up paid 10lei admission and climbed the first staircases up what was called the bacon tower, though no bacon was to be found! It was a stark contrast to the previous ruinous castle but interesting to see the difference. Being able to see what it would have looked like half a century ago was ace.
There were 3 areas, the oldest part was the summit, with the 2nd and 3rd walls added later on. You could see from a defensive view point it would’ve been difficult to lay siege as you could see in every direction for miles.
We reached the top up a small staircase and walked round the walls. Discussing how to defend and attack these castles.
We walked back down to the car and set off again towards Brasov, heading further into the mountains towards the Carpathians.
The drive between the mountains was full of hairpin bends and driving through forests, ascending up before tumblimg back down. Peter really enjoyed driving at this point and the roads were in good condition. Finally we emerged onto the plains and, with even bigger mountains shrouded in mist before us, we arrived on the outskirts of Brasov.
The city was pretty big as we navigated our way through the streets before parking up in a space just down from our hotel…The Drachenhaus. Once we had parked (In a spot an elderly German woman seemed to be holding for her husband who didn’t seem happy she had lost it) we checked in and to our surprise were given an upgrade, the room was exquisite with dark wooden beams and a huge bed, kitchen and lovely bathroom.
There was even a picture of David Bowie on the wall for Peter…it must have been fate! The hotel itself was great, with a terrace in the middle of the rooms to sit and have breakfast/beers. Our host Florin gave us some advice on where to go and off we went to climb the 940m Mount Tampa.
Luckily for Peter there was actually a cable car to take us up as he didn’t fancy the hour long walk up the mountain. (I was thankful when I experienced the walk down)
We reached the top in record time and it was only a quick 5 minute walk before we were at the funny Brasov hollywood type sign looking out over the beautiful city. It seems a theme of our trips are views from a great height of sweeping vistas. A few pictures later and I wanted to reach the summit, so a few more metres up and we reached the top, where a badly out together wooden stage hung out iver a vertical drop. Absolutely scared to death I hopped over the wooden planks onto the platform and bum shuffled my way to the edge, it maybe isn’t a death defying feat but it felt like it at the time. It was great to sit there and take in the surroundings, feeling like you’re hanging out over the edge of the world.
Not to be outdone Peter climbed up onto a wall overhanging the mountain and sat on it to get a picture of the incredible views in the background.
Once we had soaked in the scenery we decided to walk back down, bot realising that this involved metre or less wide paths running back and to on an almost vertival drop. At one point a fellow climber slipped and rolled down one bank above us, luckily hitting a tree bringing an end to his igmonious descent. Thankfully he was okay apart from a cut or two but we were more careful going down after this!
It was fun and over 7000 steps later we were on flat ground. We walked along the old walls of the city and down a couple of small side streets to the old town.
We definitely deserved refreshments after that so stopped off at one of the many bar/restaurants and had a thirst quenching elderflower lemonade and chilled for a bit.
Just what we needed we carried on, emerging onto a wide pedestrianised street full of outside seating and shops. It led us to the main square, packed full of people enjoying their Sunday evening.
The Black Church was in the corner, a real gothic architectural delight. Named because of a fire which gave it’s colour for a time. One lap and it was back up towards the hotel where we stopped to have a beer in the terrace and decide whete to eat.
(Black Church-not so black)
Settling on Festival 39 as there was a wide selection and a quirky interior we got ready and enjoyed the last of the sun with a beer and wine on the terrace.
The restaurant was a short walk along the pedestrian street, it was very grand inside and the menus were fun. Peter’s soup was good and pork wrapped in bacon with rosemary riast wedges was great. I had the equivalent of popcorn chicken to start and gorgonzola cream pasta which was goid but nothing to write home about.
(Newspaper drinks menu)
The best thing was washing it down with a £3 dirty martini.
After dinner we had an evening walk round the quiet streets of the city and a nightcap at the restaurant before bed.