We decided to spend a few days touring after the competition. We found our guide Catalin Malureanu on the Hametayel site and arranged a three day itinerary. Catalin, who is also the concierge at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bucharest, was a find. Extremely pleasant and helpful, spoke good English and a safe driver.(Catalin Malureanu, email@example.com)
Sibiu is the 2019 Gastronomic
Capital of Europe and we saw a procession of chefs attired in chefs’
white jackets parading through town. This is to promote local
I'm sure our granddaughters will be pleased to see that there was a
Eitan and Catalin decided to
forgo the gastronomical delights and to savour local sausages and other
local specialties at
the Christmas market.
There were 19 different guilds in Sibiu established in the 14th century. Each of the guilds was established in one of the town’s towers and the members were meant to protect the city from invading forces. When concluding their apprenticeship at the carpenter’s guild the carpenters would knock a special nail they had designed into a wood post next to their tower.
On an evening stroll we were surprised to see the Capitoline Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, a present from Rome. It seems the Romans worked the goldmines here in ancient Dacia and people see themselves as descendants of Daco-Romans. The Romanian language is supposed to be very close to Latin.
The following morning Catalin took
us on a walk of the medieval citadel. We had seen the clock
all lit up the previous night.
paused by a statue of Vlad III the Impaler who was born here. If the name doesn’t seem familiar
certainly will be. Based on legends about vampires and the devil, Bram
wrote the horror story Dracula, supposedly based on Vlad III, as a
of diary entries that captured popular imagination worldwide. And we
T-Shirts to back that up!
If you look above the town square you will see a building to the left partially covered by trees. It is the local high school located at the top of School Hill. Students have to either climb hundreds of covered stairs or walk along a winding pebbled road to reach the school. No electric bicycles.
We couldn’t imagine Israeli
walking to that school. Even so, we were shocked as pupils poured out
class to sit under the trees and smoke.
After walking up the winding path that led to the school
and descending the stairs, we were happy to return to the car as
Catalin drove us to Bran Castle.
Bran castle is known as Dracula’s Castle fitting Stoker’s description of a castle perched on a high rock. We all walked up the hill to the castle and then Catalin took me around the castle with its many ups and downs.
From there were continued to Brasov. Although Catalin wanted to take us for a walk around the town we had had enough walking for the day and enjoyed our hotel. The houses in Transylvania do not have front doors opening to the street. Rather there is a large wooden gate that opens to a courtyard and from there one enters the house or houses around the courtyard.
The following morning we
walked around the
ancient city entering and exiting through the picturesque gate. We
were disappointed to find both the synagogue and Black
We walked through one of
the narrowest streets in Europe, so narrow that youngsters like to walk
their feet on the walls. Graffitti and street
art is encouraged on parts of the walls. We also saw evidence of an
Israeli flag and a swastika.
The granddaughters have Starbucks - Eitan has KFC (which does not have a branch in
Israel). The family always sends photos of themselves by KFC on their
overseas. Here's the KFC in Brasov - by chance the same day
daughter Vered sent us a picture of KFC
Our last stop for the day was at the magnificent castle at Peles (pronounced Pelesh) castle in Sinaia. We particularly wanted to visit as many years ago we had a dog named Peles.
Peles castle is both lovely to view
from the outside and lavishly decorated inside.
Built by King Carol
the late 1800’s, it served as the summer residence of the royal family
confiscated by the communist regime.
The castle has central heating
as a novel air conditioning system: Fresh cool air is brought through
the river below and it works very well.
Beautiful Murano chandeliers,
glass windows, walls covered with silks, paintings and statues decorate
The Arms Room with over 4000 weapons was particularly
impressive, even for people who aren’t into swords. We were very
have Catalin guide us and tell us about the modern features and history
room we visited.
From there we returned to Bucharest braving the late horrendous afternoon traffic. A very satisfying tour.