Today (30th Oct 2013)I ventured out of Bucharest to go with Mihal on his two day Green Way walking tour to Transylvania.
We left on the train in the morning with our first stop at Sinaia to visit the Royal Palace of Peleș Castle I’m sure culture vultures could easily spend a week here, for me, I just wanted to be on top of the magnificent Bucegi mountains that overlook it., although we did take a peek at the art nouveau exhibition. Next stop on our whirlwind tour was Brasov where we changed trains for a small independently run train to Zarnesti .
At Zarnesti it was time for some real walking in the The Piatra Craiului National Park, we ventured up the gorgeous limestone gorge with it’s documented rope climbs at Surplomba & Faleza Arcadel we turned around and walked up the hill to our nights accommodation at Pension Pepino in Magura. The landscape is very reminiscent of what Switzerland mountain villages must have looked like 50 years ago.
After an excellent dinner & good nights sleep on a glorious day we ventured of again, up a very steep slope and onto a fantastic ridge with amazing views down to Zarnesti and across to a very rocky ridge in the distance. A splendid walk accompanied by a dog that followed as from Magura. We descended down to Bran admiring Dracula’s castle on the way. Then it was a bus to Rasnov where we walked up to the remains of Rasnov Citadel. Another bus ride and we were in Brasov and its splendid medieval city centre, another place I intend to revisit!
All in all a great two days of a whistle stop tour with excellent walking. A good introduction to Transylvania and Carpathian mountains. The price for just me was on the high side but obviously if you go as a group of 4 or so it would be considerably cheaper. Mihal is an excellent guide, very flexible in accomodating your needs and speaks very good English.
The photographs of the days are here and here and here is a overview of the gps trails.
Amazingly good breakfasts with unlimited gorgeous coffee and fresh fruit salad 🙂
Spacious room with desk to work at.
Best location, step out into downtown old town through a great cafe.
Notice I’ve left out the shower, it’s OK but not high power or step in, well there has to be something 🙂
The only problem is that it’s very full so I have to move on tomorrow.
I really like Bucharest it is a compact city, lots of culture (yet to be fully explored eg Opera, concerts, museums et)c An excellent mix of refurbed old, & ultramodern cafe’s with a real beat, olde worlde charm, eclectic shops plus a rawness with the graffiti, redevelopment areas, artist squatter communities. Oh and it’s still relatively cheap. This place could be once again one of the great European cities.
On Sunday I had a serendipitous experience bumping into Mihai on one of his free guided walking tours around the city & his excellent introduction into the lost skills of impaling a victim by Vlad the impaler plus a lot more modern history on the 1989 revolution, beer in Romania etc etc
Over a lunch beer I decided to go on his partner’s Simona’s excellent afternoon’s Alternative Tour taking in graffiti & very cool artist’s cafes. Highly recommended to see a city that is on the edge.
I also signed up and did the Bike Tour of Bucharest (well I did have my bike) If you haven’t ‘ already cycled 3000 miles to get here then it would be an excellent introduction into cycling in a city not geared up for cycling. The parks you go through are all very beautiful and its excellent to learn how the prominent statues change with each leadership; Nazism, Communism, Democracy. plus of course lots of other great info. Both tours excellent and highly recommended.
Today whilst walking to Decathlon Berceni. I suddenly realised that all Nicolae Ceauşescu’s grand plan of huge buildings, broad streets etc so reminded me of my visits to Dubai in fact I reckon they must have used the same architect.
So as you can tell I really like Bucharest 🙂 Tomorrow, Im going with Mihal on his two day Green Way walking tour to Transylvania exploring Zarnesti, Magura, Bran castle & Brasov.
Here is the final route that I biked created from a screenshot of my daily GPS files added together by the incredible Adze. My bike ride to Les Gets, Zurich and then the complete length of The Danube River a total of 3000 miles (4800km) or so.
Here are the stats as made by Adze from my gpx traces. Hopefully the above map will be clickable to show on Google Earth .