morning & afternoon: having flown into bucharest very late in wednesday evening, we didn’t arrive to the hotel until early on thursday. we tucked into bed around 2am, and didn’t emerge from our room until mid-morning. we awoke to snowy conifers outside our window and the kind of sweet silence one rarely encounters in city life. we had a breakfast of coffee and vegetables on toast, which did not exactly suit my american sweet-tooth palate, but offered a glimpse into romanian cuisine. we then took a drive soundtracked by the one scratchy radio station we could find through the mountain town of poiana brasov, and through the countryside to bran, where the historic bran castle is perched high amongst the snowy mountains. there we wandered through the passageways and gardens of the 14th century castle, said to have inspired the fictitious castle of bram stoker’s dracula. the winding towers offered us a gorgeous view overlooking the village laid out below, draped in the afternoon’s sunlight and snow. while it is not nearly the most grand castle I have seen, its quiet and simple charm served as a relic of a bygone era.
evening: on our way back, we stopped in the charming town of brasov for a late lunch and to explore the streets as the sun set. we dined in a traditionally romanian restaurant, and isaac tried some particularly interesting local delicacies with subsequently made away with both of our appetites. in an attempt to recover from the traumas of our meal, we perused a number of artisan shops and and devoured traditional chimney cakes called kürtőskalács, a name which I cannot pronounce, but can promise are delicious topped with nuts and caramelized sugar.
tired from our day of exploring and our travel the night before, we ventured back up the winding roads of the mountain and took in the views of the city illuminated by the sunset in a soft golden light. after dinner and drinks in the hotel, we retired early to rest up for our day of skiing to come.
friday & saturday
the next two days of our trip were filled with skiing, lazing about the hotel in bathrobes, and snacking on more kürtőskalács. we spent time catching up on reading and sleep, and I took to the slopes for the first time in years. the view at the top of the mountain was breathtaking, but I was unable to capture it on film as skiing is not the best sport to take along a film camera. on friday evening, we ventured back down the winding mountain-side roads to brasov for dinner at a quaint local spot called bistro de l’arte, where we ate winter apples with cheese and I drank rosemary scented cocktails as a pianist plinked keys in the background. the city was very cosy at night, with its warmly painted buildings dimly lit by the shadowy light of the street lamps.
what I enjoyed about romania was the simplicity there. it was easy to get lost in the views and enjoy our time convalescing as time seemed to slow ever so slightly. having never been to eastern europe or anywhere remotely close, I saw for the first time a part of the world I had only seen and heard very little about.