And some highlights from Romania
We have been back from our trip for about a month, and I realize I never posted about the last bit — Romania! So here goes—
Our boat trip ended in Giurgiu, Romania. From there, we bussed up to Bucharest. Our package included two Bucharest tours — a walking tour and a tour of Ceaușescu’s palace.
On the walking tour, we visited Revolution Square and learned something about the 1989 revolution. (Did you know all of it was televised worldwide? I don’t remember that!). We also ate delicious pastries. I chose one filled with salty cheese. We went through a lovely park, toured the Athenaum (concert hall) and generally got the lay of the land in downtown Bucharest.
Ceauşescu’s palace was something else. While his people lacked heat, food, and electricity, he was living quite nicely. Indoor pool. Sauna. Big closets. Gold bathroom. Fancy furnishings, rugs, and paintings. Peacocks.
We had some good food in Bucharest but came to the conclusion that customer service isn’t usually a priority. In fact, one night, we felt the waiter was quite rude to us and the other customer.
(Hey, give that kid a cigarette…)
After our official tour ended, we spent time with my husband’s brother and his wife, a Bucharest native. We got to do things that locals do, such as go to Ikea! (I miss Ikea; it’s supposed to arrive in Guadalajara soon….).
We had dinner and drinks in a huge beer garden in one of Bucharest’s parks. A band was playing Romanian classic rock (80s, we were told). I had a vegetarian plate which featured a bean spread, an eggplant salad/dip and a very red salad/spread made from roasted peppers and tomatoes. Perfect food, perfect evening.
After, we went to Nuba Cafe and ate the best dessert, which my sister in law called bezea: a big piece of meringue covered with vanilla pastry cream, fruits, and (I think) a mango syrup.
The following day, we took off for Brasov, a town of about 200,000. We stopped for lunch on the way where I had an Ursus beer and a dish of polenta served with sour cream and cheese. (It looked kind of like boobs.) We found Brasov’s center to be charming. We toured the Black Church and I ate a pastry called kurtos — which I can describe as dough wrapped around a stick and cooked and then somehow burned with sugar. After that, they cover it in a variety of crunchy things (mine had walnuts).
While in Brasov, we toured the nearby Bran Castle (the alleged Dracula castle) and the castle/fortress of Rasnov. We also took a cable car up to the large hill where the BRASOV sign is located.
We also went to the Rasnov castle/fortress, a lovely view!
On our way back to Bucharest, we were lucky enough to get a break in the weather so we could take the cable car up to the Bábele rock formation. Adjacent, is the Sphinx formation. There is supposed to be a special energy there. We certainly felt the energy of the approaching thunderstorm so we hurried back to the cable car after our walk to the rocks.
In Bucharest, we had a nice visit with my sister-in-law’s mom, who graciously hosted us in her apartment. After, a traditional dinner at Caru’ Cu Bere, a famous old beer hall. I had a bean stew and we shared a big plate of Romanian cheeses.
The following day, we left Bucharest for our 24-hour trip back to Guadalajara.