Travel in Romania: Brașov and Peleș Castle

Sightseeing in Brașov

Brașov is in the center of Transylvania, and situated at the southern seat of the Carpathian mountains. 😍 DSC_6220

Transportation

To get to Brașov, I took a train, which cost 5 USD and took around 3 hours. Romanian trains are slow-moving, but the views are definitely worth savoring.

Accommodation

My hostel host in Brașov was a warm and welcoming chatty Cathy, who eagerly gave me the lowdown on the city, and introduced me to her sweet Yorkie, Yaki.
IMG_0519That being said, I would not recommend this hostel. The building was old, with no insulation, they had no locker for valuables, and the dorm room looked like a scene out of Flowers in the Attic. 😮IMG_0521
Attractions

Now Brasov is quite developed and tourist friendly, with plenty of international restaurants and cheap hostels, to make it the perfect home base for exploring the region’s many neighboring historic sites.

Top sites in Brașov include the historic town square, black church, and preserved medieval fortress.IMG_0518DSC_6121The top of the fortress offers stunning views of the black church, which was named for a fire that blackened much of the church’s Gothic exterior. DSC_6118Brașov also has their own landmark sign, like the Hollywood of Romania. 😉DSC_6123As I previously mentioned, the benefit of staying in Brașov, is its proximity to historic sites and quaint villages. During my stay, I took a day trip to the mountainous resort town of Sinaia, to marvel at the history and architecture of Peleș Castle.

 

Day Trip to Peleș Castle

DSC_6226After a massive wine hangover from the Halloween party at Bran (a.k.a Dracula’s castle), I slowly staggered to the train station, grabbing myself a cafe latte pick-me-up and a one-way ticket to Sinaia.IMG_0514

Budgeting tip: The Romanian train company lists their departure schedule online, with at least one discount ticket, at a 50% reduced price.

At the station I hit it off with a group of Serbian travelers, and we ended up touring the castle together.DSC_6187These girls are currently studying electrical engineering, and luckily, their education is free in Serbia. They said it’s quite easy to get to a job in Serbia, but the average salary is around 300 Euro. They said they love Americans, although they said they dislike the political system. I also learned Serbians hate Hillary, since she  apparently told the Clinton administration to bomb Belgrade, Serbia back in 1999. The bombing never received full authorization by the UN, and the resulting damage was catastrophic, with nearly 90% of their city’s factories lost. They were confused as to why the U.S. would bomb civilian areas of Serbia, like their hospitals, schools, and homes. To this day, their city has yet to fully rebuild, and has to import many products at a higher cost. I’m not sure how we got on such a serious topic, but I really enjoyed learning more about other people’s perspectives of America. In the end, they said they would love to host me in Serbia, and one of the girls, Lazarella, would prepare for me her specialty, sarma, a cabbage roll stuffed with rice and pork. 😀

Anyway, we arrived at Sinaia after one hour, and began a hilly, 20-minute walk through a paved park.DSC_6177Puppy on the way to the castle. 🙂DSC_6212We passed by shops selling warm wool mittens, and knit-sweaters, which looked so cozy on this chilling morning. 🙂DSC_6182DSC_6181We also passed the lesser Pelisor Castle, which seemed built to complement the deep orange colors of this gorgeous autumn season.DSC_6215DSC_6218As we approached the castle, it also began to snow light and fluffy flakes, that added to the whimsy of this magical castle.DSC_6223Peleș Castle was built during the 19th century, with an incredibly varied architectural influence. The king of Romania at the time recruited talent from all over Europe. He hired Italian masons, French architects, and German carpenters, with a total of 14 different design styles. For example, on the castle exterior, the upper floors appear German, with dark wood and deer mounts, while the lower appear Italian, with colorful wall murals, and Roman statues.DSC_6193DSC_6209DSC_6210The entire castle is then spread out across a beautifully landscaped French garden, complete with Italian marble statues.DSC_6196DSC_6197Fresh lavender bunches for sale in the garden. DSC_6203Now the true highlight of this palace is the interior, which can only be viewed by guided tour. There are a variety of tour options, ranging for 5-10 USD. There is also a hefty photography fee as well. The brief tour seemed sufficient, and instead of paying the camera fee, I opted to just share with you a few gorgeous Google images. 🙂

The castle has over 160 rooms, 2,000 antique paintings, 4,000 pieces of armor, and an absolutely mind-blowing collection of furniture, tapestries and fine china.

maxresdefault
courtesy of Google images

Much like the exterior, the interior rooms also have distinct cultural influence, including a Florentine room, Turkish parlor, and Imperial suite.

peles
courtesy of Google images
1920_IMG_0063
courtesy of Google images

Well, that wraps up another venture in Romania. Now I’m making my way south to the capital of Bucharest, to enjoy of few days of R&R before changing up my surroundings. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then. 🙂

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